Pounded green sticky rice is not green because of the addition of food color. It is naturally green and subtly sweet because it is harvested at a specific time when the grain is neither too young nor too old. The rice is then dry-roasted and pounded. It is ready to eat at that stage. In fact, it is best eaten at that stage because, according to connoisseurs, the rice quickly loses it flavor and fragrance.
All About Pounded Green Sticky Rice
Pounded green sticky rice is called cốm in Vietnam and pinipig in the Philippines. Although most sticky rice varieties can be made into pounded green sticky rice (see All About Rice: Varieties, Grain Lengths, Characteristics, and Colors), there are varieties that contain the ideal level of waxiness to produce the best quality pounded green sticky rice. In Vietnam, the preferred variety is nep hoa vang; in the Philippines, it is Malagkit Sungsong.
For those living outside Southeast Asia where fresh pounded green sticky rice is not available, you can get the dried variety in Asian stores. The fried variety, however, requires a short amount of cooking either by dry-toasting or boiling.
In this recipe, dried green sticky rice is boiled for a short time until the mixture is of the consistency of pudding. If you have no access to pounded green sticky rice, even the dried kind, check the notes after the recipe for alternative ways of preparing sweet sticky rice and pineapple dish.
- 2 cups pounded green sticky rice
- 1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 12 pieces of fresh pineapple
- Garnish: mint leaves
- Boil four cups of water. Turn down the heat and add the pounded green sticky rice slowly, mixing as you pour to prevent clumping. Depending on the quality of the rice, cooking can last from a couple of minutes to as long as ten minutes. More water may also be needed.
- When the rice mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency, turn off the heat. Stir in sugar (start with half a cup) and a pinch of salt. Taste and add more sugar, if you prefer something sweeter.
- Ladle the rice into four bowls and drop chunks of fresh pineapple on top. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint leaves.
- Option 1. Another way to enjoy pounded green sticky rice is to cook it in coconut milk instead of plain water. Follow the instructions above but substitute coconut milk for the water. Less sugar may be needed because coconut milk is already naturally sweet.
- Option 2. For those who are unable to find pounded green sticky rice, you can make a similar dessert with ordinary sticky rice. Soak the rice in twice as much amount of water for several hours. Spread on a steaming basket lined with cheesecloth. Cook until the grains are just done. While still hot, mix with two cups coconut milk and sugar to taste. Don't forget the pinch of salt to prevent the dish from tasting too cloying. Ladle into cups, add the pineapple chunks and mint leaves.
- Option 3. A final option is to use pandan water to cook the sticky rice in. Follow the recipe above or options one or two. If doing either option one or two, simply use pandan water to extract coconut milk.