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Banh Da Lon is a Vietnamese steamed layered cake that is infused with pandan leaves, coconut milk, and mung beans! It is soft, chewy, and so addicting! Vegan and just 6 ingredients required!

Vietnamese steamed layer cakes on a plate.

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It’s a delicious snack. Its chewy texture and fresh pandan flavor make this Vietnamese-inspired snack a real treat! Plus, it’s fun to eat, as you can peel each layer and eat them separately.
  • It’s not too sweet. As opposed to the traditional ones you can find in Vietnam, this cake is not overly sweet, letting the mung bean, pandan, and coconut flavors really shine.
  • It’s interesting to make! This sweet snack is prepared by pouring and steaming each layer alternatively. It’s quite a unique process!

📘 What is Banh Da Lon

Bánh da lợn is a sweet Vietnamese cake that is steamed in layers. The green layers are flavored with pandan leaves, while the yellow ones are flavored with mung beans. This sweet snack has a chewy and soft texture resembling mochi dough.

Bánh da lợn literally translates to “pig skin cake,” as each layer has a chewy and slightly fatty texture, resembling pig skin. Worry not. This sweet snack is completely plant-based!

🌿 Ingredient Notes

These steamed cakes rely on just 6 ingredients. Here is what you will need:

  • Pandan leaves – Use fresh pandan leaves. You can usually find them in the refrigerated section of any Asian supermarket. If you can’t find pandan leaves, replace them with about 1/2 teaspoon of pandan extract.
  • Coconut milk – Preferably full-fat coconut milk. It adds richness to the batter and brings a delicate nutty flavor.
  • Tapioca starchTapioca starch gives the cakes their chewy and stretchy texture.
  • Rice flour – To make the texture a little bit firmer. You want to use regular white rice flour, not the sweet kind.
  • Sugar – To sweeten. I recommend using granulated white sugar to avoid altering the main flavors.
  • Mung beans – We are using dried split mung beans for the yellow layer. It brings nuttiness and natural sweetness.
  • Vanilla extract – Optional. I like adding half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter to enhance the overall flavor.
  • Salt
Ingredients like mung beans, pandan leaves, coconut milk,  sugar, and tapioca starch.

🥣 How to Make Banh Da Lon

As previously explained, this cake consists of two different batters, each one bringing its own flavor and color. Hence, we will have to prepare the two batters separately.

Yellow Layer (Mung Beans)

It starts with the yellow layer. To prepare it:

  1. Soak the mung beans. Place dried mung beans in a bowl and cover with water. Let them soak for 3-4 hours.
  2. Cook them. Drain the soaked mung beans and transfer them to a saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the beans are completely tender.
  3. Blend with the remaining ingredients. Once the beans are cooked, transfer them to a high-speed blender and blend them with the sugar, coconut milk, water, tapioca starch, rice flour, and vanilla extract. The batter is now ready to use!

Green Layer (Pandan)

Next comes the green layer that consists of pandan leaves blended with the rest of the ingredients. To prepare the green layer:

  1. Prepare the pandan juice. Blend chopped pandan leaves with water to make juice.
  2. Strain the juice. Using a fine sieve, strain the pandan juice and discard the pulp.
  3. Mix with the remaining ingredients. Finally, transfer the pandan juice to a mixing bowl and whisk together with the sugar, coconut milk, tapioca starch, rice flour, and pandan extract if using.

Steaming

Once your two batters are ready, it’s time to steam the cake!

  1. Prepare your setup. Fill a saucepan with 2-3 cups of water and place a bamboo steamer on top. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Lightly grease a 3×6-inch pan with oil and place it in the steamer for 2 minutes.
  3. Steam the first layer. Pour one layer of the green batter into the pan and steam for 3 minutes. I went with 3 tablespoons of the batter to get thin layers. Adjust depending on the size of your pan.
  4. Steam the second layer. Next, pour the same amount of the yellow layer over the green layer. Steam for 4 minutes.
  5. Repeat. Repeat the process until you have about 7 layers (you can do more). For each layer, increase the steaming time by one minute.
  6. Finally, after steaming the last layer, let the whole cake steam for an extra 7 minutes.
  7. Let cool. Remove the pan from the steamer and let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Finally, cut the cake into small rectangles once it has cooled down completely! To prevent the cakes from sticking to the knife, wrap the blade in a layer of plastic wrap.

📔 Tips

  • Check the water level. Since steaming will take a total of 45-55 minutes, a lot of water will evaporate. Make sure to check the water level occasionally and add more if needed.
  • Be careful not to burn yourself. There will be a lot of steam escaping the steamer basket when you open it to pour a new layer, so be careful when doing so.
  • Store at room temperature. Avoid storing Banh Da Lon in the refrigerator as it tends to dry and get harder.

💬 FAQ

How does pandan taste?

Pandan has a slightly grassy, floral, and nutty aroma with notes of vanilla and coconut. Raw leaves tend to taste like grass, but they develop more complex flavors once cooked.

How long does Banh Da Lon keep?

Banh Da Lon will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I substitute the tapioca starch?

You cannot substitute tapioca starch as it is the main ingredient. It provides stretchiness and chewiness.

Is this recipe authentic?

This recipe is adapted from Vietnamese recipes and has been approved by Vietnamese, so it is as authentic as possible!

Peeling layers of a Vietnamese steamed layer cake.

If you have never heard or tried this Vietnamese sweet, you should definitely give it a try! It’s perfectly chewy, not too sweet, and has a fresh, floral, and nutty aroma!

You can also take a look at all of our Vietnamese recipes here!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Vietnamese steamed layer cake topped with sesame seeds.
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Recipe

Banh Da Lon (Vietnamese Steamed Cakes)

5 from 7 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Banh Da Lon is a Vietnamese steamed layered cake that is infused with pandan leaves, coconut milk, and mung beans! It is softchewy, and so addicting!
Prep Time : 45 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour
Total Time : 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 10 pieces
Calories 156 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

Yellow Layer

Green Layer

Instructions
 

Yellow Layer

  • Cook the beans: Drain the mung beans and transfer them to a small saucepan. Add the water and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, covered, until the beans are completely soft. Note: feel free to add a bit more water if no water remains and the beans are still firm.
  • Combine: Drain and transfer the cooked beans to a high-speed blender. Add the coconut milk, water, sugar, tapioca starch, rice flour, and vanilla extract. Blend for 10-15 seconds or until smooth. Transfer the batter to a bowl and set aside.

Green Layer

  • Prepare the pandan juice: Roughly chop the pandan leaves and add them to a blender. Add the water and blend on high-speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Strain the juice using a fine-mesh sieve and discard the pulp, only keeping the liquid. Note: the juice will smell very grassy. It is normal, the flavor will change after cooking.
    Transfer the juice to a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine: To the mixing bowl, add the coconut milk, sugar, tapioca starch, rice flour, and pandan extract if using. Whisk until fully combined. Set aside.

Steam

  • Prepare your setup: Fill a saucepan with 2-3 cups of water and place a bamboo steamer on top. Bring the water to a boil. Lightly grease a 3×6-inch pan (you will have enough batter for two pans) with oil and place it in the steamer for 2 minutes.
  • Steam the first layer: Pour one layer of the green batter into the pan and steam for 3 minutes. I went with 3 tablespoons of the batter to get thin layers. Adjust depending on the size of your pan.
  • Steam the second layer: Pour the same amount of the yellow layer over the green layer. Steam for 4 minutes.
  • Repeat. Repeat the process until you have about 7 layers (you can do more). For each layer, increase the steaming time by one minute.
  • Finally, after steaming the last layer, let the whole cake steam for an extra 7 minutes.
  • Let cool: Remove the pan from the steamer and let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.
  • Slice: Using a sharp knife with the blade wrapped in plastic wrap (to prevent sticking), cut each loaf into 5 rectangles. Enjoy as a snack!

Notes

  • Check the water level. Since steaming will take a total of 45-55 minutes, a lot of water will evaporate. Make sure to check the water level occasionally and add more if needed.
  • Be careful not to burn yourself. There will be a lot of steam escaping the steamer basket when you open it to pour a new layer, so be careful when doing so.
  • Store at room temperature. Avoid storing Banh Da Lon in the refrigerator as it tends to dry and get harder.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 piece | Calories: 156 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.3 g | Protein: 1.8 g | Fat: 2.5 g | Saturated Fat: 2.4 g | Sodium: 3 mg | Potassium: 2 mg | Fiber: 1.4 g | Sugar: 11.6 g | Calcium: 5 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Course : Sweets
Cuisine : Vietnamese
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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5 stars
Amazing recipe. I’ll try it this weekend.

5 stars
Wow,those look amazing💚

5 stars
This steamed cake is my mom’s favorite. And this is exactly how bánh da lợn tastes, or it’s even better thanks to its perfect sweetness compared to the traditional ones in Vietnam.
I used to eat so often when I was just a kid living in Saigon. It’s been a very long time since I tried to make this cake again. This cake is not only one of the best sweets I have ever tried, but it also reminds me of beautiful moments of my childhood.
Thank you for the recipe!

Hi, you have 30 g of water in the yellow layer. I’m wondering if this is supposed to be 30 ml?

If we can’t find pandan leaves, would you recommend still adding the 120 ml of water and extra pandan essence?

Hi! I’m excited to try out this recipe! For the repeat step under the steam section I just wanted to clarify something. For instance, if I make the 1st layer the green batter( 3 minutes steam), 2nd layer yellow batter ( 4 minutes steam), 3rd layer green batter ( 5 minute steam), 4th layer yellow batter ( 6 minute steam), 5th batter green batter ( 7 minute steam), would these steam times be correct?

Hi Thomas,

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I want to make this however I don’t have a 3×6 inch pan. Since this is enough for two 3×6 inch pans, can I just make one big one, and if so, what size pan should I use? How long would it take to steam each layer?
Thanks for your help!

Lillian

5 stars
Oh no! I didn’t read the recipe correctly and got sweet rice flour instead of rice flour. Needless to say it’s too late to order rice flour. Why can it not be used? Wondering if it’s worth attempting the recipe without rice flour. Thanks!!

5 stars
Absolutely delicious! I halved the sugar since I find the ones in Vietnam sickly sweet and it was perfect. Thank you 🙂
And for reference, the mixes are okay in the fridge overnight before steaming the next day, when you run out of time.

Thank you for sharing your yummy recipes!
I made this recipe and made the mistake of not cooling the mung bean before adding it to the liquid/ flour mix. My batter got thickened and was hard to work with. Did anyone come across this issue?
As feedback, maybe in the instructions, we can clarify that the mung bean needs to be cooled before adding it to the blender.

5 stars
Yes! omg exactly the same here! May I ask how to fix the issue if the white batter is too thick, can you add more water?

Thomas,
Why the apparent differences between the yellow and green layers on:

*the liquid,
*the flours

Arent they supposed to have same texture?

Thx.

5 stars
Thanks Thomas, is the mung bean mix suppose to be thicker though?

Thomas,
What is the reason that your recipe uses a mix of measurements such as: gram, mililiter, cup? I would like to hear and learn.

We are in America so can you make it easier than us having to do all of the conversions?

Thx for your consideration.

After mixing the two batters, noticed the white/mung bean is much thicker and weighs less than the green/pandan. Did I miss calculate the liquid measurements? I had weighed everything. Thank you!