Bánh khoai mì is one of my childhood favourites, a homey and mildly sweet cake well-suited for family gatherings or light brunch. I would even go as far as to say that this dessert errs on healthy—it’s not only gluten and dairy free, but it also doesn’t require that much butter in order to retain its creamy texture. Cutting down on the sugar is perfectly fine as well, because most of the cake’s flavour comes from the cassava and mung beans.
To prep, rinse mung beans with water and cook mung beans with water like you would with rice. Add water as needed and stir occasionally. The mung beans should thicken and when it does turn off the heat and let it cool. Refrigerate for use the next day or freeze for future use. Mung bean paste is versatile and often used in different Vietnamese dishes both savory and sweet like Bánh ú or Xôi voi.
My mom loves to buy frozen grated cassava packets from Asian grocery stores. So place these in the refrigerator the day before you make these cakes.
To begin baking this cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt a stick of unsalted butter. In a large bowl, mix the grated cassava, mung bean paste, 1 can of coconut milk, ¼ cup of sugar (or to preference), 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and the melted butter. Leave some melted butter aside.
Mix everything thoroughly by hand, especially the mung bean paste which tends to clump.
Butter the pans. My mom likes to use circular, deep-dished baking pans. Pour in the mixture halfway. Place in the oven for an hour or until ready. Test with a knife (my mom uses a wooden stick). If you poke the cake, and the knife comes out cleanly, it’s ready!
Makes 2 cakes or 24 generous slices for those anticipating.
Instead of cassava, you can make bánh khoai môn, which uses taro instead.
Tip: Make sure the lid of your sugar jar shuts tightly to avoid ants. As an extra precaution, you can place a bowl of water underneath. It really works!