The Art of Making Banh Troi Tau: A Delicious Vietnamese Delicacy

The gentle sweetness of molasses blends with the subtle kick of aged ginger and the nutty aroma of ...


A Taste of Hanoi’s Cultural Delicacy: Banh Troi Tau

Banh Troi Tau, a traditional delicacy of Hanoi, is a delightful treat that warms the soul. This sweet soup features fluffy rice balls floating in a gentle, sweet syrup with a hint of ginger’s spice. The white outer layer of the rice ball is soft and chewy, enveloping a perfectly rounded filling of black sesame and crunchy peanuts.

On a chilly day, a bowl of warm Banh Troi Tau shrinks the world to this simple yet heartwarming treat. Photo by Bùi Thủy.

Servings: 4-5


For the Rice Ball Dough:

  • 250gr glutinous rice flour
  • 150ml warm water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Black Sesame Filling:

  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional, for a bolder flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or unsalted butter

For the Ginger Syrup:

  • 4 cups water (1 liter)
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger (half crushed, half finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup molasses (or palm sugar/thốt nốt sugar for a unique aroma)

Optional: Coconut Sauce

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • A pinch of sugar (adjust to taste)
  • Tapioca starch/cassava flour

Banh Troi Tau, a beloved delicacy of Hanoi. Photo by Bùi Thủy.


Preparing the Filling: Toast the black sesame seeds and peanuts separately. Set aside a small portion of each for garnishing later. There are two methods for preparing the filling:

Traditional Method: Grind the toasted peanuts, then add the black sesame seeds and grind together. Transfer the mixture to a pan, add sugar, grated coconut, a little water, and salt. Cook over low heat until the sugar melts, then add oil or butter. Continue cooking until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Turn off the heat and let it cool before dividing it into equal-sized balls.

Alternative Method: Grind the black sesame seeds, peanuts, grated coconut, and sugar together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix with softened butter (about 3-4 tablespoons). Divide the mixture into equal portions and shape them into balls. Store in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using.

Preparing the Rice Ball Dough: In a large mixing bowl, gradually add warm water to the glutinous rice flour while kneading until a soft, smooth dough forms. The dough should not stick to your hands. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Assembling the Rice Balls: Divide the rested dough into equal portions and roll them into small balls. Flatten each ball, place a filling ball in the center, and seal it by rolling it between your palms. You can shape them into rounds or ovals, as you prefer.

Cooking the Rice Balls: Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Carefully drop the rice balls into the water and cook over medium heat. Once they float to the top, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent sticking.

Making the Ginger Syrup: In a separate pot, combine 4 cups of water, crushed ginger, and molasses (or palm sugar). Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms. Add the cooked rice balls to the syrup and simmer for 1 minute to infuse them with sweetness.

Presentation: Serve 2-3 rice balls per bowl, ladle the ginger syrup over them, and sprinkle with the reserved toasted black sesame seeds, peanuts, and grated coconut. If desired, add a drizzle of coconut sauce. To make the coconut sauce, combine coconut milk, sugar, and tapioca starch in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens.

Banh Troi Tau is best enjoyed warm.

Recipe adapted from vnexpress

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Frequently asked questions

Banh Troi Tau is a traditional Vietnamese dessert, a delicacy that is loved by many. It is a glutinous rice ball dish, often served with a sweet ginger syrup and coconut milk.

The main ingredients are glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar. Additionally, you will need grated ginger, coconut milk, and a little salt.

Mix glutinous rice flour and water to form a dough, then divide it into small portions and roll them into balls. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each ball, which will be filled with mung bean paste later.

First, boil water with grated ginger to make a sweet syrup. Then, carefully drop the rice balls into the syrup and cook until they float to the top. Finally, serve the cooked rice balls in a bowl with the ginger syrup and a generous drizzle of coconut milk.

Yes, you can get creative and add various fillings to the rice balls, such as mung bean paste, crushed peanuts, or even chocolate for a modern twist. You can also garnish the dessert with sesame seeds, crushed nuts, or coconut flakes.

It is best served warm, and you can adjust the sweetness to your taste by adding more or less sugar to the ginger syrup. Some people also like to add a few drops of food coloring to the rice balls for a festive touch.