Bánh Chưng

A few friends and I first experienced this traditional Vietnamese Tết (Lunar New Year) food while visiting years ago. We loved it, and recently I looked up how to make it myself. It’s not a well known food in the US, so I thought it would still be fun to share.

I followed the recipe from “Enjoy a simple life“, but made a homemade cardboard mold as suggested by “Takes Two Eggs“.

Like a bread, this recipe takes a fair bit of time. I would start in the morning.

  1. Soak rice and mung beans overnight. Marinate seitan or meat.
  2. About 30 minutes of cooking. Boil beans and rice.
  3. About 30 minutes wrapping and packaging.
  4. Finally, an 8-12 hour boil in a big pot of water.

Ingredients needed:

  • Seitan or pork belly (optional), 4-8 oz
  • 5 c glutinous rice, lightly rinsed twice and soaked overnight
  • 2½ c dried slit mung beans, washed and soaked overnight
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, use white part, thinly sliced
  • 2 t salt
  • 3 t black pepper
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 t good soy sauce
  • 2 T fish sauce or 1 T mushroom powder
  • ½ c vegetable or peanut oil

Additional supplies:

  • Banana leaves (defrosted)
  • Twine, string, etc
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cardboard and packing tape to make a mold. I used a soda box

Ingredient Prep:

  1. Cook rice with salt.
  2. Steam mung beans. Food-process them.
  3. Fry shallots and leeks in oil. Add seasonings.
  4. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the oil and mung beans. Mix thoroughly.

Making the cakes:

  1. Place the square cardboard mold on a sheet of plastic wrap.
  2. Put two cut banana leaves inside to form a little square pocket.
  3. In the pocket, layer ½ c rice, ¼ c mung beans mix, strips of meat or seitan, ¼ c mung beans, and ½ c rice.
  4. Fold the banana leaves over, and remove the mold. Close the plastic wrap to hold everything together.
  5. Wrap the plastic wrap in a layer of alumnium foil.
  6. Tie the foil shut with string.

Once you have all your cakes made, boil them at a low simmer for 8-12 hours. Your cakes are done.

They last weeks and stay pretty tasty. You can freeze them if you want them to last even longer.


  1. https://enjoyasimplelife.blogspot.com/2012/01/vegetarian-sticky-rice-banh-chung-chay.html
  2. https://takestwoeggs.com/banh-chung/
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