How To Make Thai Pandan Rice Cake

  • 01 of 10

    Soak the Sweet Rice

    Pandan Rice Cake step 1
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Cover 1 cup of sweet rice with 1 inch of water. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.

    Tips: Be sure to use "sweet rice" for this recipe, also known as "glutinous rice" or "sticky rice". It can be purchased by the bag at your local Asian/Chinese food store.

    For This Recipe, You Will Also Need

    • 2 + 1/4 cups good-quality (thick) coconut milk
    • A few drops of pandan paste
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. white sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 5 eggs
    • 2 tbsp. rice flour
    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Prepare a Cake Pan and Steamer

    Pandan Rice Cake step 2
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Prepare a cake pan - a 9x9-inch cake pan works well. Here we are lining our pan with banana leaf, but this is optional. You can also simply grease the pan as you would for any other cake.

    For the Steamer: If you don't have a steamer, you can easily assemble one. We set the cake pan inside a bamboo steamer which you can then set inside our wok.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Prepare First Layer

    Pandan Rice Cake step 3
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Drain the sweet rice and place in a mixing bowl. Add 1 + 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2 tbsp. sugar, plus a pinch of salt. Stir all together.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Add Pandan Paste

    Pandan Rice Cake step 4
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Add a few drops of prepared pandan paste and stir. This will turn the batter a bright shade of green. Add more if you want the first layer darker, or less if you want it lighter. Aside from the color, pandan paste adds a delicious flavor to this cake.

    FYI - A Note about Pandan: In Thailand and other Southeast-Asian countries, real pandan leaves would be used instead of store-bought paste. However, because fresh pandan leaves are difficult to find here in North America, we use this store-bought paste (available at most Asian/Chinese food stores - just ask for it!). We can sometimes buy frozen pandan leaves, but the freezing seems to reduce the flavor so that we are always disappointed with the results.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Pour the Batter into the Pan and Steam

    Pandan Rice Cake step 5
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Pour this first layer batter into your prepared pan. Cover and steam on high heat for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

    Tip: for best results, the steam should be able to circulate around (and over) the cake pan.

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Prepare the Second Layer

    Pandan Rice Cake step 6
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    While your first layer is steaming, quickly prepare the second layer. Crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl and briefly whisk or stir with a fork to break up the yolks. Add 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tbsp. rice flour. Using a whisk or fork, whisk the batter until smooth (or you can use an electric mixer if you have one).

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Add Pandan Paste

    Pandan Rice Cake step 7
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Add a drop of two of pandan paste and stir well to mix in. For contrast, you can either make this layer lighter or darker than the first layer.

    Tip: If you prefer, instead of using pandan, you can get creative and add a different color to this layer (2 or 3 drops of food coloring is all you need). For example, red is great to use for Christmas or yellow for summer. In Asia, this kind of multi-colored dessert is very common.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Pour Second Layer Batter over First Layer

    Pandan Rice Cake step 8
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Slowly pour the second layer batter over the first layer. Use a spoon to distribute and even out the layer. Reduce heat to medium and steam for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the ​second layer is set.

    Tip: If you steam this layer on high heat, you will get "waves" instead of a smooth top. To get the smoothest possible top, see the next step.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Smooth the Top Layer with a Greased Spoon

    Pandan Rice Cake step 9
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    This step is optional. If you want a really smooth top layer: Allow the custard to steam on lowered heat until a sturdy crust has formed over the top. Then, while it's still cooking, occasionally run a greased spoon lightly over the surface. This will smooth out the layer and give the top a nice sheen. Do this a few times, re-greasing the spoon each time.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Serve Your Pandan Rice Cake

    Pandan Rice Cake step 10
    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    Allow the cake to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. This cake is delicious as is, or you can dress it up with fresh fruit and/or a sprinkling of toasted coconut. Here, we've cut the cake into diamond shapes.

    To Store Your Rice Cake: Cover and leave on your counter up to 2 days - refrigerate thereafter. Try to eat up your rice cake within 3 days.