One thing that I observed during my recent trip to Vietnam was that it's more convenient and cost-efficient for locals to eat out for breakfast than making it at home. Kids would get breakfast money to grab something quick to eat on their way to schools. Young adults would leave slightly early for work to stop by their favorite food spots and have breakfast. Pho (rice noodle soups), Banh Mi (sandwiches), and Xoi (glutinous rice) are the three main breakfast items that the Vietnamese loved.
My favorite breakfast item during my stay in Vietnam was Xoi La Cam, a sweet version of glutinous rice. Xoi La Cam is made from naturally dying the rice grains purple/magenta from boiling Magenta leaves. It is then steamed with coconut milk and sugar, then topped with a mixture of freshly grated coconuts, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, sugar and salt.
Xoi La Cam was also my kids' and the Vietnam household's kids' favorite breakfast food. So when we head out to get Xoi in the morning, we always feel bad for the people who unfortunately got stuck behind us. Cause you know...getting 2-3 bags of Xoi La Cam won't do. You have to load up while you can. It's like drugs, but cheaper and more delicious.
Vietnamese Magenta Sticky Rice (Xoi La Cam)
For this recipe, you will need a steamer with small enough holes to prevent the rice grains from falling through.
3 cups glutinous rice (rinse a few times with cold water and then soak overnight)
1 cup La Cam juice (or 3 drops of purple food coloring gel)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut Milk/Sugar Mixture
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup raw peanuts (Toast dry in a frying pan, remove peel if needed after toasting, then pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped.)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (Wash in water and then drain dry. It might be tough washing the small sesame seeds but it really helps to bring out the roasted flavor. Toast dry in a frying pan until lightly brown and aromatic.)
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Rinse the soaked rice in cold water then drain dry.
In a medium bowl, combine rice, La Cam juice (or food coloring) and salt. Mix until combined and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the rice to soak up the juice until it's a beautiful and vibrant purple.
Steam the rice for about 15 minutes. You can pour the rice directly into the steamer so that the excess La Cam juice drips down into the steamer.
In a small bowl, mix together coconut milk and sugar (1/3 cup). Once the rice is fully cooked, slowly add the coconut milk and sugar mixture into the rice and toss lightly until evenly coated. Steam for 10 more minutes.
Mix together peanuts, sesame seeds, white sugar (3 tablespoons) and salt (1/2 teaspoon). Add mixture to the top of rice. Lastly, add shredded coconuts.