Recipe Banh Troi nuoc Vietnamese glutinous rice ball Cold Food Festival sweet desserts
doyen1988 24-02-2021, 15:26

Whether you're a family with young kids or young adults, on Mar 3 (of lunar calendar) they are all making or buying Banh Troi and Banh Chay in celebration of Tet Han Thuc (Cold Food Festival).

Recipe Banh Troi nuoc Vietnamese glutinous rice ball Cold Food Festival sweet desserts

Banh troi and banh chay with their pure white colour. Photo: Internet

Tet Han Thuc (Cold Food Festival) is a traditional festival in Vietnam which takes place on the March 3 of Lunar Calendar. This is occasion for family to gather and remember their ancestors.

On Tet Han Thuc, all family’s members, even living or working far from home will come home to make “banh troi” and “banh chay” together. They are two traditional cakes of Tet Han Thuc in Vietnam.

“Banh troi” are spheres made of glutinous rice flour with piece of sugar inside. “Banh chay” are bigger than “banh troi” and have sweet green bean inside instead of sugar. “Banh troi” has usually some coconut fibers and sesame, meanwhile “banh chay” has sweet broth.

The name floating cake came about from the way it is actually prepared.

Offering banh troi - banh chay to ancestors. Photo: VNA

Let’s explore Vietnamese glutinous rice ball recipe recipe and how to making Banh Troi nuoc at home to prepare for the upcoming Cold Food Festival!


  • Glutinous rice flour: 0.5 kg
  • Palm sugar diced: 200 grams
  • White sugar: 200 grams
  • Grated coconut: 100g
  • Ginger: 100 grams
  • Roasted sesame or white sesame: 100 grams
  • Peeled green beans: 100 grams
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Floating and lean cakes have long been pure white glutinous rice. However, there are some vivid colours being added to the cakes in recent years.

The cakes are coated with vibrant colours from natural ingredients – pumpkin for yellow, magenta plant for purple, red from gac fruit, matcha for green and rice for pure white.


Step 1: Making the dough

Pour the glutinous rice flour in a large bowl then slowly pour the water in. Stir until the dough is solid, smooth and wait 15 minutes. It is possible to buy a variety of powders to add color to your cakes.

A glutinous rice flour kit for homemade banh troi and banh chay. Photo: Internet

Step 2: Palm sugar

If you buy a large part, cut it into small pieces, squares, fit the size of the cake. If you buy ready-made sugar, it is very convenient as you can move to the next step.

Put the cut sugar into the middle.

Family members gather to make banh troi and banh chay during the festival.

Step 3: Molding the cake

Firstly, divide the dough into long fibers, 1.5-2cm in diameter and use a knife to cut them to a length of about one finger. The division of the flour will help your drifting pellets more evenly, avoiding balls with different sizes, which lack aesthetics.

The dough was mixed into small pellets and pressed flat. Then put the cut sugar into the middle.

Continue squeezing the dough to keep the sugar balls closed, avoiding the air entering and causing the flat cake after boiling. Try to do this step carefully; otherwise, it will crumble while boiling.

Banh troi is stuffed with a piece of brown sugar. Photo: Internet

Creative shapes for Banh Troi and Banh Chay. Photo: LambanhHoc

Step 4: Boiling the balls

Put the pot of water on the stove, add grapefruit water and vanilla essence to create the cake aroma. When the water boils, pour all cakes into that pot and cook. After the cakes are floating, take them out and put in a bowl of cold water. This way will prevent the cake from sticking together.

Boiling banh troi and banh chay. Photo: Phuong Bao

Step 5: Decorating

Then, place the cakes onto a plate and sprinkle roasted sesame and shredded coconut on the top. It is possible to prepare the cassava flour soup to eat with them.

The successful balls are even, and the inside is not broken. When eating, the crust of Banh Troi nuoc is soft yet chewy and its sugar filling need to be dissolved entirely. That said, it will melt when you bite one piece. People can feel the delicious taste with enough sugar in the filling to sweeten the crust.

Sprinkling roasted sesame on the top. Photo: Internet

The name floating cake came about from the way it is actually prepared.

Hannah Nguyen