Pandan Rice Cake (gluten-free)

  • 01 of 10

    Soak the Sweet Rice.

    Pandan Rice Cake step 1
    Soaking the Sweet Rice. D.Schmidt
    For a one-page version of this recipe, see my: Pandan Rice Cake (single-page recipe).

    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...MORE (see step 4)
    • 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
    Preparing a Cake Pan and Steamer. D.Schmidt
    Prepare a cake pan - a 9 x 9 inch cake pan works well. Here I'm lining my 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. For mine, I set the cake pan inside a bamboo steamer which I then set inside my wok. I put water in the bottom of the wok, and cover the whole thing with the wok lid.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Prepare First Layer.

    Pandan Rice Cake step 3
    Preparing the First Layer of the Cake. 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
    Adding the Pandan Paste. 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, I use this store-bought...MORE paste (available at most Asian/Chinese food stores - just ask for it!). I can sometimes buy frozen pandan leaves, but the freezing seems to reduce the flavor so that I'm 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
    Pouring the First Layer into the Pan. 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
    Preparing the Second Layer. 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. Now add 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 Tbsp. rice flour (sprinkle the rice flour over). 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
    Adding Pandan Paste. 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 panda, 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
    Adding the Second Layer. 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 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
    Smoothing out the Top with a Spoon. 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 (I use a little coconut oil or canola oil for this).
    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Serve Your Pandan Rice Cake!

    Pandan Rice Cake step 10
    Pandan Rice Cake with a Sprinkling of Raspberries and Toasted Coconut. 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 I've cut the cake into diamond shapes (it helps to use a sharp greased knife for this, wiping it off between cuts).

    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. ENJOY!