Tips to Ensure Delicious and Tender Frozen Tet Sticky Rice Cakes

Many families freeze Tet sticky rice cakes and want to eat them steamed again, but if they don't do it skillfully, the taste of the cakes will be very bland.


Tết is the time when many families wrap or receive banh chung as gifts. This is a traditional cake and also a delicious dish. Many families freeze the cake to eat gradually. Banh chung kept in the refrigerator needs to be re-cooked to be soft and delicious. After being frozen, banh chung will have some issues that need attention when steaming again:

– The taste of the cake, if not handled properly, will have a freezer taste and will not be as fragrant and delicious

– The color of the cake is not beautiful anymore, losing its green color, the leaves are frostbitten

– The cake has been processed with glutinous rice, so it tends to be too dry, if not steamed enough, the cake will not be soft and chewy

How to steam banh chung

Defrost properly: You should take the banh chung from the freezer to the refrigerator in advance to defrost slowly, because banh chung is usually thick, if left to defrost outside, the inner layer will be contaminated when the outer layer thaws. The high humidity during the days after Tet also makes banh chung quickly contaminated, so defrosting in the refrigerator from the night before is a safer defrosting method.

You can also defrost in the microwave, but it usually won’t be as good as slow defrosting.

Steaming banh chung

– Method 1: Water steaming: Put the banh chung in a steaming basket and steam it in water. This method usually takes longer time

– Method 2: Boiling: Put the banh chung in a pot, pour enough water to cover the cake, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1-2 hours. Use a skewer to stick into the cake, if the skewer comes out clean, it’s done. Boiling again helps the cake maintain a better aroma and taste.

You can also rinse the outside of the cake with clean water to remove the refrigerator smell before steaming or boiling again, it will help the cake to have a better taste.

To create a delicious aroma, you can line the steaming pot with dong leaves or banana leaves.

When steaming banh chung, pay attention to the cooking time to check the softness of the cake. If it is steamed for too long, the cake will become mushy and not tasty, but if it is not steamed enough, the cake will not be soft.

When storing banh chung, it should be wrapped tightly and put in a vacuum bag to keep it fresh and prevent it from being contaminated by other foods.

Frequently asked questions

Many families choose to freeze Banh Chung to prolong its shelf life and enjoy it gradually. However, it is essential to re-cook or steam the cake before consumption to restore its softness and enhance its flavor.

  • Freezer Taste: Improper handling may result in a freezer taste, affecting the fragrance and taste of the cake. To prevent this, defrost slowly in the refrigerator, and steam or boil to enhance the aroma.
  • Discoloration: The cake may lose its vibrant green color, and the leaves may show signs of frost damage. While this doesn’t affect the taste, it is a cosmetic issue.
  • Dryness: As the cake is made with glutinous rice, it can become too dry. To counteract this, ensure the cake is steamed or boiled sufficiently to achieve the desired softness and chewiness.

For best results, transfer the frozen Banh Chung from the freezer to the refrigerator a day in advance to allow for slow and safe defrosting. This prevents contamination and maintains the quality of the cake. Alternatively, you can defrost in the microwave, but the results may vary.

  • Water Steaming: Place the Banh Chung in a steaming basket and steam it over boiling water. This method takes longer but is effective.
  • Boiling: Submerge the cake in a pot of water, ensuring it is fully covered. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. Check if it is ready by inserting a skewer; if it comes out clean, it is done.

To enhance the aroma and taste, consider rinsing the cake with clean water before steaming or boiling to remove any refrigerator smells.

Line the steaming pot with dong leaves or banana leaves to infuse a delicious aroma into the cake. Additionally, pay close attention to the cooking time to achieve the desired softness. Overcooking may result in a mushy texture, while undercooking will affect its chewiness.

To ensure freshness and prevent contamination from other foods, wrap Banh Chung tightly and store it in a vacuum bag. This will help prolong its shelf life and maintain its quality.
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