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- 400 g or 3 ½ cups Tapioca Starch (available at the Asian Grocery store or Amazon.com)
- 100 g or 1 cup Rice flour (available at an Asian Grocery store or Amazon.com)
- 7 Pandan Leaves or 2 squirts of green food coloring and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (Pandan extract available at your local Asian stores or on Amazon.com)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 250 g to 300 g or 1¼ to 1½ cups of sugar of your choice (Stevia, organic sugar, etc)
- 100 g or 1 cup steamed mung beans (available at an Asian Grocery store or Amazon.com)
- 1 (400ml) can coconut milk (If you like coconut milk, you may add 2 cans for more coconutty flavor)
Green Color Preparation – Pandan leaves extract
Pandan is an herbaceous tropical plant which also known as palm pine or screws pine. It is often grown in Southeast-Asia. It has a unique sweet aroma. Vietnamese use pandan leaves in many flavored desserts and drinks.
Clean the pandan leaves. Cut the leaves into ½ inches and drop them in a smoothie blender. Add 2/3 cup of water. Use a smoothie blender to grind the leaves into pulp.
Place a piece of cheesecloth over a small bowl. Pour the pulp and all the content from the blender over the center of the cloth. With washed hands, lift up all the corners of the cloth and make sure all the content stays in the center. Squeeze and extract as much juice possible from the pandan pulp into the small bowl. The juice color should be green.
If you cannot find pandan leaf in your grocery store, you can use green food coloring and vanilla in substitution. There is also pandan leaf extract available in Asian stores. If you can find the extract or use food coloring, then you can skip the green color preparation.
Yellow Color Preparation – Steamed Mung beans
Mung Bean is a plant species in the legume family. It is commonly grown in Asia and found in many Vietnamese desserts and drinks. Mung bean is also used to sprout bean sprout.
There are two types of mung bean the yellow color prepped mung bean and the whole mung bean with a green shell. The natural color of the mung bean is light yellow. It is usually dyed to a deep and darker yellow. I do not know why. I am guessing that the darker yellow is more appealing and appetizing in Asian culture. I generally use the whole mung bean with no dye.
Soak a bag of mung beans in water overnight or at least 3 hours to separate the shells from the mung beans. Make sure there is enough water to cover all the mung beans.
Clean the mung beans and remove all the shells. Pour water half-way up the bottom pan of a steamer. Place a polyester cloth on top of the steamer with holes. Pour the clean mung beans on top of the cloth. Fold the remaining cloth on top of the mung beans to protect it from the wetness of the steam vapor. Steam the mung beans for ten minutes or until the beans are cooked. When you can squish the beans with two or three fingers easily, the mung beans are cooked.
For this recipe, we will be using only 1 cup of the steamed mung beans. Because it is a process to steam the beans, I make a large batch. Use only what I need and store the rest in a zip lock bag and freeze it.
Place the beans in a mixer or blender. Add 100 ml or 1/3 cup of water. Blend the bean into a fine pulp. Put it aside for a moment.
Prepare the flour for layers
To make Bánh Da Lợn, you can have multiple layers with multiple colors and flavors. In this recipe, we will be making only two color layers. The process is the same for multiple colors and flavors.
Have four bowls ready to prepare the flour. Split the tapioca starch flour into two bowls. Each bowl should have 200g or 1¾ cups. Also, split the rice flour into the two bowls. Add 50 g or ½ cup of rice flour to each bowl. Mix them.
Prepare the liquid ingredients
In a small saucepan, pour in a can of coconut milk. Add 400 ml or 2 cups of water or optional coconut water. Add sugar and salt. Mix well over low to medium heat until sugar is completely melted. This mixture should yield four cups. Allow coconut mixture to cool.
Combine and filter the Ingredients
Once the coconut mixture is cool, divide it into two portions. Pour each half (2 cups) into each flour bowl. Mix them well. Use a sieve to filter out any possible flour clumps for each of the flour. You should have two extra bowls for the filtered flour mixture.
For one bowl, add the mung bean pulp for the yellow coloring. For the second bowl, add the 100 ml or 1/3 cup of pandan green coloring (2 drops of green color or 2 drops of pandan extract). If you are using the food coloring, add vanilla extract. You do not need the vanilla extract when using the pandan extract. The pandan has its own unique flavorful aroma.
Mix well for both bowls. For the yellow mung bean mixture, use a sieve to once again filter the mixture. This will ensure there are no mung bean clumps. We want a smooth mixture. If you find clumps of mung beans, you can discard them.
Prepare the steamer
Fill water half-way up the bottom pan of the steamer. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Place the steamer with holes on top. Place the silicone molds or any molds that you would like to use for your cake in the steamer. You can find the molds in the pictures on Amazon.com. I bought two types: bundt mold & different shape molds.
Pour approximate 1 tablespoon of the green mixture in each small mold as the first layer. If you have bigger molds, use your best judgment on how much you would like the first layer to be. Close the lid. Set timer for 2 minutes. Once your first layer becomes transparent, you are ready to pour in the second layer.
Pour in the yellow mixture layer. Once again, use your own judgment on how much. I use 1 tablespoon for mine. Close the lid. Set timer for 2 minutes. Continue the process with alternating colors until the mold is filled to the top.
For the last layer, set timer for 4 minutes to complete the steaming process. For the small mold, I generally make four layers.
Allow the cakes to completely cool before remove them from the molds. Otherwise, the cake may fall apart.
You may find a more yellow mixture than the green mixture. You can make one color layer cake with the remaining color. It won’t be as colorful. However, it is still tasty.
Make up to 24 small cakes.
Love to hear your experiences. Please leave me your comments or questions below. I will get back to you within 24 hours.