This sticky rice dish is classic comfort food in Vietnamese households. "Mặn" means salty in Vietnamese, but xôi mặn is more of a savory dish than plain old salty. The chewy texture of the rice combined with all of the savory mix-ins is delightful.
Like many dishes I've posted, this one is endlessly versatile. I use chinese sausage, pork floss, dried shrimp and mushroom as my sticky rice mix-ins. If you don't have some of these ingredients, don't fret. You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, thinly slicked Vietnamese pork roll (chả lụa), or even thinly sliced tofu. Play around with your savory mix-ins; this dish is very forgiving.
What is glutinous rice/sticky rice?
Glutinous rice, or sticky rice, has a gummy or sticky texture. It's much denser than regular rice (I find I don't have to eat as much to feel full!), and takes a bit longer to cook. Usually, sticky rice is soaked overnight and then steamed. I like to use my rice cooker to save time. You don't need to soak it this way and you have sticky rice in no time at all.
Sticky rice doesn't need quite as much water as regular rice to cook. Many disagree on the perfect texture for it though. My family personally likes to be able to see each individual grain of sticky rice in our dish. The rice is firmer and more gummy this way. Some like the rice to be mushier and softer. Just add a few spoonfuls of water depending on your preferred texture.
Some common mix-ins for xôi mặn
Chinese sausage (lạp xưởng)
These preserved sausages look almost like mini salami. They have a fragrant salty-sweet flavor and are specked with pork fat. These sausages are used sparingly in dishes like xôi mặn and fried rice. I love frying one up to eat with plain white rice and scrambled eggs as well! You can find these in the refrigerated section of your local Asian grocery store.
Dried shrimp pack a ton of flavor in a small package. Often they are used to flavor stocks for noodle soups. This is another strong flavor booster and will be used sparingly in this recipe as well. Find these in the refrigerated or dried food section of your local Asian grocery store.
Pork Floss (ruốc or chà bông)
Pork floss is a dried pork product with the texture of dry cotton. It's made by stewing lean pork in a salty soy or fish sauce based sauce. The pork is then shredded along the grain and cooked in a dry pan until all the moisture evaporates and you're left with a fluffy texture. At an Asian grocery store, you may see this product labelled as pork sung or pork fu. You can also buy this online.
I don't recommend substituting another type of mushroom in this recipe. Shiitake mushrooms have a funky, earthy flavor that can't be replicated in other mushrooms. They also don't shrink or release too much moisture when cooked. I tried using button mushrooms once and it made my rice soggy and gave it an offputting brown color.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are often used in this dish. They are reconstituted in hot water and sliced. The flavor is stronger than fresh shiitakes. Fresh shiitake is easier to find, so use what is most convenient for you.
Rice Cooker Savory Sticky Rice (Xôi Mặn): Step-by -step instructions
Rinse your sticky rice two or three times to get rid of the excess starch. Add water and turn on your rice cooker. Let the rice cooker do its thing!
While you rice is cooking, soak dried shrimp in a bowl of warm water. Once they are soft, chop them up finely.
Slice the chinese sausage. I like large rounds of sausage in my sticky rice, but if you want everything to be the same size you can also finely dice it.
Chop up a whole bunch of scallions. One bunch may seem like a lot, but once you cook it, they will wilt. Leave a handful behind for garnish and cook the rest down in oil.
In a large skillet or heavy bottomed pan, heat oil on medium and saute your shiitake mushrooms, chinese sausage and chopped dried shrimp. When the sausage is shiny and has rendered out most of its fat, add minced garlic. Cook the garlic briefly before adding soy sauce.
Turn off the heat and add the cooked sticky rice scallion oil. Then carefully mix the rice into the ingredients. Be careful not to crush the cooked rice grains. Use a rubber spatula or your hands. When the rice is almost incorporated, add the pork floss and mix just to combine.
Serve with more fresh scallions and fried shallot.
Rice Cooker Savory Sticky Rice (Xôi Mặn)
- 1 ½ cup glutinous rice
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked and diced
- 1 link chinese sausage, sliced thin
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch scallions
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp soy sauce, divided
- ¼ cup pork floss optional
- 2 tbsp fried shallot optional
Other Mix-In Suggestions
- Vietnamese pork roll (cha lua)
- shredded rotisserie chicken
- thinly sliced scrambled egg
- fried tofu
- Rinse the glutinous rice two or three times to get rid of the excess starch. Add water and cook according to rice cooker instructions.
- While you rice is cooking, soak dried shrimp in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes. Dice.
- Slice the chinese sausage into thin rounds or dice into small cubes
- In a small nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil and cook scallions down until fragrant and bright green.
- In a large skillet or heavy bottomed pan, remaining 1 tbsp oil and saute shiitake mushrooms, chinese sausage and chopped dried shrimp. When the sausage is shiny and has rendered out some fat, add minced garlic. Cook the garlic briefly before adding 2 tbsp of soy sauce.
- Turn off the heat and add the cooked sticky rice and scallion oil. Carefully mix the rice into the ingredients. Be careful not to crush the cooked rice grains. Use a rubber spatula or your hands.
- Add the remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce if desired. Add the optional pork floss at this time.
- Plate topped with fresh scallion and fried shallot