Bánh Ít Trần Chay Recipe

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Bánh ít chay is a version of the Vietnamese pyramid rice dumpling but with the filling made entirely from plant-based elements. With a dough layer made of glutinous rice flour, the cake has a chewy consistency after steaming.

Ideally, the filling is often cooked beforehand, so the steaming process is only about cooking the dough layer. For a vegan version, Vietnamese use a simple mixture of mung bean and wood ear mushroom.

Commonly, the cake is wrapped in banana leaves, with the Central region using fresh leaves while the North prefers dried ones. However, the cake can be made entirely without banana leaves, hence the name bánh ít trần.

Learn how to make a proper vegan version of this Vietnamese pyramid rice dumpling to add another great treat to your list of dishes.

Banh It Chay1

What Is Bánh Ít Chay?

Bánh ít chay is a Vietnamese rice dumpling made from glutinous rice flour with a sweet mung bean filling, seasoned with shallots and pepper. These small, sticky dumplings are either steamed or boiled for a chewy texture.

Commonly enjoyed as a snack or during vegetarian festivals, they are mainly savored with a vegan version of a sweet and savory dipping sauce. Bánh ít chay on its own comes with a light flavor deriving from the filling.

The wrapping for bánh ít is often banana, but you can simply omit this component to make the bánh ít trần (no leaf wrappers) instead. Aside from the triangular shape, bánh ít chay also comes in a circular form.

After getting to know about bánh ít chay, I strongly suggest looking into the equipment you will need to pull off this rice dumpling recipe.

What Tools Are Used to Make Bánh Ít Chay?

Bánh ít chay is a traditional Vietnamese dish that requires a set of specific tools for its preparation. Below is a detailed list of the tools needed:

  • Mixing Bowl: Used for combining the ingredients to create the dough, serving as the foundation for bánh ít chay.
  • Dough Divider: A tool for portioning the dough into smaller, equal parts, ensuring consistency in size and cooking.
  • Steaming Pot: Essential for steaming the cakes, providing the gentle heat required to cook them thoroughly while maintaining their texture and flavor.
  • Cooking Pot: Used for cooking the mung beans.
  • Ladle: For working ingredients while cooking them over heat.
  • Spatula: Needed for handling the cooked filling and other jobs that require scooping.

What Ingredients Are for Making Bánh Ít Chay?

To craft the traditional bánh ít chay, a selection of specific ingredients is required. These components blend to create the unique flavors and textures characteristic of this beloved dish. Here’s what you’ll need:

Dough Ingredients:

  • Glutinous rice flour: Serves as the foundational element, providing the sticky and chewy texture that is quintessential to bánh ít chay.
  • Water: Used to mix with the glutinous rice flour, facilitating the formation of a pliable dough.
Banh It Chay Ingredients

Fillings and Accompaniment:

  • Hulled mung beans: A lightly sweet filling that adds a soft texture to the dish.
  • Wood ear mushrooms: Contribute an earthy flavor and a contrasting texture to the soft mung bean filling.
  • Vegetarian fish sauce: Adds depth and umami to the dish, seasoning the filling and dough.
  • Scallion oil: Drizzled over the finished cakes, it introduces a fragrant, oniony aroma and a glossy appearance.
Banh It Chay Ingredients1

What Steps Are Needed for Making Bánh Ít Chay?

Bánh ít chay requires little preparation in terms of ingredients and tools, but you will need the following steps to prepare the dough, filling, and shape the dumpling correctly:

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

In a mixing bowl, gradually bring together glutinous rice flour and warm water.

Then, add room temperature water to the mix and begin kneading the dough. While kneading, push the dough away from you before bringing the dough back and repeat the process.


Adding more flour can help in case the dough is too soft while adding more water can help with dry dough.

Banh It Chay Step 1 Prepare the Dough
Banh It Chay Step 1 Prepare the Dough1

Step 2: Cook the Mung Bean

Cook the mung bean in water over medium heat for around 20 minutes.

You can add salt and sugar to the beans while cooking to season it.


The bung beans should be barely cooked and not too tender. Then, you want to mash the mung beans into a paste to make the filling.

Banh It Chay Step 2 Cook the Mung Bean
Banh It Chay Step 2 Cook the Mung Bean1

Step 3: Prepare the Filling

Mix diced wood ear mushroom with cooked mung beans.

Roll the mixture into balls of around 1.7 ounces or depending on your liking.

Banh It Chay Step 3 Prepare the Filling
Banh It Chay Step 3 Prepare the Filling1

Step 4: Shape the Dumpling

Divide the dough into equal sections before rolling and flattening them. Add the filling and wrap the dough around it to make sure the dumpling is completely sealed.

Banh It Chay Step 4 Shape the Dumpling1
Banh It Chay Step 4 Shape the Dumpling2
Banh It Chay Step 4 Shape the Dumpling4

Step 5: Steam the Dumpling

Steam the dumpling in a steamer with a bit of oil over the steaming surface to prevent sticking. Alternatively, you can place a banana leaf between the bánh ít chay and steamer.

Steam in 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the dumpling. When cooked, bánh ít chay has a white color.

Banh It Chay Step 5 Steam the Dumpling
Banh It Chay Step 5 Steam the Dumpling1

Step 6: Serve

Present bánh ít chay with a bit of scallion oil over them, and enjoy these dumplings with a mixture of vegan sweet and fish sauce.

Banh It Chay2

What Tips Do You Need to Know to Make Bánh Ít Chay?

Creating the perfect bánh ít chay involves more than just following a recipe; it’s about learning small cooking tips that elevate the dish. Here are some expert tips to guide you:

  • Flour Selection: Stick to glutinous rice flour for its elasticity is key to the authentic texture of bánh ít chay. While tapioca flour can add chewiness, it should only be used sparingly to avoid making the dumplings too tough.
  • Storage and Preservation: Wrap them tightly and store them in the freezer. They can be easily defrosted and steamed again.
  • Cooking Techniques: Bánh ít chay is best steamed. However, boiling is an alternative method where the cakes are cooked until they float to the surface, indicating they’re done. In some regions, the cakes are wrapped in banana leaves before steaming, adding a unique flavor.
Banh It Chay3

What Vietnamese Dishes Are Similar to Bánh Ít Chay?

Vietnamese cuisine is rich with a variety of traditional dishes, many of which share similarities with bánh ít chay. Here are a few dishes that bear resemblance:

  • Bánh Bèo: Small, round, steamed rice cakes topped with savory ingredients like shrimp, crispy pork skin, and scallions, often served with a dipping sauce.
  • Bánh Ú: A variation of the traditional Vietnamese sticky rice dumpling, typically filled with mung bean paste and sometimes pork, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
  • Bánh Giò: Soft, pyramid-shaped dumplings made from rice flour and tapioca starch, filled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed.
  • Bánh Dày: Thick, chewy rice cakes made from glutinous rice, often served with savory dishes such as grilled meats or enjoyed as part of traditional ceremonies.
  • Bánh Khúc: A glutinous rice ball mixed with khúc (a type of leafy green) and filled with mung bean paste and pork, offering a unique, earthy flavor and a soft, chewy texture.

Enjoy the Tasty Flavor of Bánh Ít Chay

Bánh ít chay is a cherished gem in the realm of Vietnamese cooking, offering a unique taste experience. It’s a wonderful way to connect with the vibrant flavors and rich culture of Vietnam right from your kitchen.

If this recipe for bánh ít chay has sparked joy in your culinary adventures, consider sharing the love with your friends and family.

Let them, too, embark on a flavorful journey through Vietnamese cuisine. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and discoveries in the comments below.

Banh It Chay

Bánh Ít Chay

Bánh ít chay is a Vietnamese vegan dumpling made from glutinous rice flour with a mung bean filling. It’s often steamed for a soft texture.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 270kcal


  • 7.05 ounces glutinous rice flour
  • 5.07 ounces of warm water
  • 1.69 ounces room temperature water
  • 3.53 ounces of mung beans
  • 2.82 ounces finely chopped wood ear mushrooms
  • Vegetarian fish sauce
  • Scallion oil


  • In a large mixing bowl, add 14.11 ounces of glutinous rice flour. Gradually pour in 10.14 ounces of warm water, mixing continuously to combine the flour and water smoothly.
    Banh It Chay Step 1 Prepare the Dough
  • Add 3.38 ounces of room-temperature water and start kneading the dough. Push the dough away and then pull it back in your direction, repeating this action until the dough becomes smooth and non-sticky to the touch.
    Banh It Chay Step 1 Prepare the Dough1
  • Take 3.53 ounces of mung beans and cook them with 5.07 ounces of water over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
    Banh It Chay Step 2 Cook the Mung Bean
  • You can season the beans with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar to enhance their flavor, depending on your preference. Remember to cook the beans until just done; they shouldn’t be too soft.
    Banh It Chay Step 2 Cook the Mung Bean1
  • Mix the finely chopped wood ear mushrooms with the cooked mung beans.
    Banh It Chay Step 3 Prepare the Filling
  • Form the mixture into balls weighing about 1.76 ounces (50g) each, or according to your preference.
    Banh It Chay Step 3 Prepare the Filling1
  • Divide the dough into equal portions, roll each into a ball, and then flatten.
    Banh It Chay Step 4 Shape the Dumpling
  • Place a portion of the filling in the center and carefully wrap the dough around it, ensuring the filling is completely enclosed.
    Banh It Chay Step 4 Shape the Dumpling3
  • To prevent sticking, lightly oil the bottom of the steamer or line it with banana leaves. Place the cakes on the steamer.
    Banh It Chay Step 5 Steam the Dumpling1
  • Steam for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes, until the dough becomes translucent and white.
    Banh It Chay Step 5 Steam the Dumpling



  • Choosing the right flour is essential for the true texture of bánh ít chay. Pick glutinous rice flour for its essential elasticity, while tapioca flour presents an extra chewiness resulting in overly tough dough.
  • Preserve the dough by wrapping the dumplings well and freeze them. They’re easily revived with a quick steam.
  • Steaming is the traditional route for making bánh ít chay, ensuring a moist and tender texture. IBoiling can work, too, just wait for the dumplings to bob to the surface as a sign they’re ready.


Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
Tien - Alden

Tien – Alden

Content Writer


Home Cooking, Recipe Development, Food Editor, Beverage Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Asian Food Content Creator


Saigon Tourism College

  • Program: Certificate in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines.

Advanced Culinary Workshop, Beijing

  • Program: A three-month intensive program of Advanced Culinary Workshop
  • Focus: Authentic Chinese cuisine.

Vietnamese Traditional Cooking School

  • Program: Certificate of Vietnamese Traditional Cooking
  • Focus: A specialized course on traditional and family recipes passed down through generations.

American College of Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Provide background knowledge and help students confident to create appealing drinks

Alden is a skilled chef with expertise in Asian cuisines, known for blending traditional Vietnamese and Chinese cooking with contemporary innovations. Alden’s passion for Asian flavors and her creative approach to both food and beverages inspires fellow chefs and those aspiring to enter the field.

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