Easy Bánh Chuối Hấp Recipe: Perfect Steamed Banana Cake

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Diving into the heart of Vietnamese cuisine, we’ve stumbled upon a comforting, sweet delight that’s bound to steal your heart – Bánh Chuối Hấp, or steamed banana cake. This traditional dessert, rich in flavors and textures, is a testament to the simplicity and ingenuity of Vietnamese cooking. Made with ripe bananas, tapioca pearls, coconut milk, and a touch of sugar, it’s a humble concoction that speaks volumes about the culture’s love for natural, wholesome ingredients.

We’re excited to share our take on this beloved recipe, which promises to bring a piece of Vietnam right into your kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious foodie, Bánh Chuối Hấp offers a unique taste experience that’s both comforting and exotic. So, gather your ingredients and let’s embark on this culinary adventure together, creating a dessert that’s sure to warm hearts and satisfy sweet cravings.

Ingredients for Banh Chuoi Hap

Diving into the world of Vietnamese cuisine brings us to the delightful and comforting Banh Chuoi Hap, or steamed banana cake. Here, we’ll break down the ingredients you’ll need, ensuring you capture the authentic flavors and textures of this traditional dessert.

Banh Chuoi Batter Ingredients

  • 10 ripe bananas, preferably of a sweet variety like Cavendish or Lady Finger, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls, soaked in water for at least 2 hours to soften
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, adjust based on sweetness of bananas
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

These ingredients come together to form the base of our Banh Chuoi Hap, creating a texture that perfectly balances between soft and chewy, with the aromatic sweetness of banana and coconut.

Filling Ingredients

For the filling, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed for added crunch

Additional Toppings and Sauces

To truly elevate this dish, we like to garnish and serve it with:

  • A drizzle of coconut sauce, made by simmering 1/2 cup of coconut milk with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt until slightly thickened
  • A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for a nutty aroma
  • A few mint leaves for a fresh, colorful accent

By gathering these ingredients, you’re all set to embark on the culinary journey of preparing Banh Chuoi Hap. Its layers of flavor and texture promise a dessert that is as satisfying to make as it is to savor.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Embarking on the journey of making Bánh Chuối Hấp not only involves having the right ingredients but also ensuring you have the necessary tools and equipment. This traditional Vietnamese steamed banana cake requires specific items to achieve its distinctive texture and flavor. Here’s a list of what we need:

  • Steamer: Central to making Bánh Chuối Hấp, a quality steamer is indispensable. It can be a traditional bamboo steamer, a metal steamer basket, or a modern electric steamer. Ensure it’s large enough to accommodate the baking dish or mold you plan to use.
  • Mixing Bowls: Various sizes will be useful for mixing the batter, soaking tapioca pearls, and preparing the coconut sauce. Glass or metal bowls are preferred for their ease of cleaning and non-reactive nature.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accuracy is key in baking and dessert making. Having a full set of measuring cups and spoons will ensure the precise ratio of ingredients for perfect Bánh Chuối Hấp.
  • Whisk or Fork: To blend the batter smoothly and incorporate air for a lighter texture.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: Essential for mixing ingredients and ensuring they are well combined without deflating the mixture.
  • Baking Dish or Cake Mold: Depending on your steamer, you might opt for a round cake mold or a square baking dish. Whatever the shape, ensure it’s suitable for steaming and fits inside your steamer with some space around the edges for steam circulation.
  • Parchment Paper or Banana Leaves: For an authentic touch and to prevent sticking, lining your baking dish or mold with banana leaves is traditional. Alternatively, parchment paper is an excellent substitute.
  • Kitchen Scale: Optional but recommended for those who prefer weighing ingredients for accuracy.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: Useful for rinsing tapioca pearls and ensuring the coconut sauce is smooth and free of lumps.

Armed with these tools and equipment, our adventure in creating the delightful Bánh Chuối Hấp can proceed smoothly. Each item plays a role in transforming our high-quality ingredients into the comforting, exotic dessert that boasts the simplicity and ingenuity of Vietnamese cuisine. Let’s get everything prepared and move on to the next step of our recipe with excitement.

Preparation Steps

Embarking on the journey of making Bánh Chuối Hấp, we dive into the heart of Vietnamese dessert-making with simple, yet precise steps. Let’s ensure we capture the essence of this delightful dish with careful preparation and the freshest ingredients.

Preparing the Bananas

First, select 6 ripe bananas that have a sweet aroma and soft texture. Peeled and sliced lengthwise, we’re looking for thicknesses that resemble the joy of biting into the perfect piece of fruit. After slicing, sprinkle a little bit of sugar on the bananas and let them sit. This not only enhances their natural sweetness but also preps them for a better meld with the batter.

Making the Batter

To create the batter that defines Bánh Chuối Hấp, we’ll need 1 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of tapioca pearls soaked for at least an hour until they’re tender. Mixing these ingredients in a large bowl, we aim for a harmonious blend that’s both smooth and creamy. Then, we gently fold in the prepared bananas, ensuring each slice is lovingly coated with our coconut-tapioca batter. The consistency we’re aiming for is thick enough to hold the bananas but fluid enough to steam effectively.

Preparing the Filling

For the filling, our choice moves towards a more textured approach, incorporating 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and 1/4 cup of roasted sesame seeds into the mixture for that extra crunch and flavor depth. If you’re feeling adventurous, a tablespoon of peanut butter can also be swirled into the batter to introduce a creamy, nutty richness that complements the bananas beautifully. This step is not just about preparing the filling; it’s about layering flavors and textures that will unfold delightfully with every bite of the Bánh Chuối Hấp.

Assembling Banh Chuoi Hap

Now that we’ve prepared our batter and filling, it’s time to bring everything together for the main event—Assembling Banh Chuoi Hap. This process is both an art and a science, ensuring that each layer contributes to a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Layering the Ingredients

First, we’ll start by greasing our steaming tray or dish with a bit of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Then, we’ll spread a scoop of our batter onto the bottom of the tray, creating a thin layer. This acts as the base for our cake.

Next, we add a layer of our ripe bananas. It’s essential to lay them flat and cover as much of the batter as possible without overcrowding. After the bananas, we sprinkle a generous amount of our coconut and sesame seed filling, distributing it evenly over the bananas. If you opted to include peanut butter in your recipe, now is the time to dot small teaspoons of it across this layer.

We’ll repeat these steps, alternating between the batter, bananas, and filling, until all ingredients are used. Typically, ending with a final layer of batter ensures that our cake has a smooth, cohesive top once steamed.

It’s crucial to gently press down on each layer as you build your Banh Chuoi Hap. This compacting helps in melding the flavors together during the steaming process and ensures even cooking.

Wrapping Technique

After layering, if you’re using individual molds or banana leaves for an authentic touch, here’s how to secure them. For molds, simply cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil, ensuring it’s snugly fit to prevent water from seeping in during steaming.

For banana leaves, lay the leaf flat on your work surface and place a scoop of your layered mixture in the center. Fold the leaf over the mixture, akin to wrapping a present, tucking in the sides as you go. Secure everything with a piece of kitchen twine or a natural fiber, making sure it’s tight enough to hold the parcel together but not so tight that it squishes the contents.

Whether you’re using a modern steaming tray or going for the traditional banana leaf method, the key is to ensure everything is adequately sealed. This prevents moisture loss and guarantees your Banh Chuoi Hap cooks evenly, resulting in a moist, flavorful dessert that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.

Cooking Instructions

Now that we’ve layered our molds with the rich batter, ripe bananas, and the flavorful filling, it’s time to move on to the crucial part of making Bánh Chuối Hấp – the steaming process. This step will transform our assembled ingredients into a moist and cohesive dessert, infusing every bite with the essence of sweet bananas and creamy coconut.

Steaming Process

First, fill your steamer with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. If you’re using a multi-tiered steamer, ensure the water level is low enough not to touch the bottom of the cakes during the steaming process. Place the molds or banana leaf-wrapped cakes into the steamer basket. If you’ve opted for banana leaves, make sure the folded edges are sealed tightly to prevent water from seeping in.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing the water to simmer gently. This ensures an even and gentle cooking process, keeping the delicate flavors of our Bánh Chuối Hấp intact. Cover the steamer with a lid and allow the cakes to steam. For molds, steam for about 45 to 60 minutes. If you’ve used banana leaves, the cooking time might slightly vary, so adjust accordingly.

A pro tip here is to wrap the steamer lid with a cloth or place a tea towel under the lid. This prevents condensation from dripping onto the cakes, ensuring the tops remain beautifully textured and the filling stays moist.

Checking for Doneness

Knowing when your Bánh Chuối Hấp is perfectly cooked is key to achieving the right texture and flavor. After the recommended steaming time, carefully open the steamer (mind the steam!) and insert a skewer or toothpick into the center of a cake. If it comes out clean, your Bánh Chuối Hấp is ready. If not, steam for an additional 5-10 minutes and check again.

The final cues for doneness extend beyond just a clean skewer test. Look for cakes that have pulled away slightly from the sides of the molds or banana leaves, indicating they’re set. The color should be a deep, golden brown, and the texture firm yet yielding. The smell will be unmistakably aromatic, with the sweet fragrance of bananas and coconut filling your kitchen.

Once done, remove the Bánh Chuối Hấp from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes before unmolding or unwrapping. This brief resting period helps the cakes set further, making them easier to handle and serving to enhance their flavors.

Remember, Bánh Chuối Hấp is best enjoyed warm, complemented by a cup of tea or coffee, allowing you to fully appreciate the comforting sweetness and soft, pudding-like texture of this traditional Vietnamese dessert.

Serving Suggestions

After perfecting the steamy, sweet allure of Bánh Chuối Hấp, presenting and garnishing it becomes the final stroke of artistry that truly complements this dessert’s vibrant character.

Plating Banh Chuoi Hap

To plate Bánh Chuối Hấp, we start by carefully removing it from the mold or steaming dish. Ensuring it has cooled down just enough to handle, we slice it into generous pieces to reveal the beautifully layered bananas and the glistening tapioca pearls nestled within. We recommend serving it on a simple, elegant plate that contrasts the dessert’s rich color, letting the natural beauty of this traditional dish shine through. A delicate drizzle of coconut cream around the piece not only adds an aesthetic touch but also hints at the creamy flavors awaiting the palate.

Adding Toppings and Sauces

Enhancing Bánh Chuối Hấp with toppings and sauces not only elevates the taste but also introduces an exciting textural play. A hearty sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts can add a delightful crunch, contrasting the soft, pudding-like texture of the cake. For those who enjoy a bit of extra sweetness and complexity, a drizzle of caramel sauce or a scoop of coconut ice cream on the side works wonders. And let’s not forget a light pour of extra coconut milk or a dollop of whipped cream for a final touch of indulgence. Each addition should complement the warm, comforting essence of the Bánh Chuối Hấp, turning each bite into an exquisite experience of flavors and textures.

Make-Ahead Tips

Preparing Bánh Chuối Hấp in advance is a game-changer for when you need a delicious dessert but are pressed for time. Let’s dive into some tips to make the process as seamless as possible.

Prepping Components in Advance

We can easily prep several components of Bánh Chuối Hấp ahead of time to streamline the cooking process. First off, the tapioca pearls can be soaked overnight, so they’re ready to go when you start cooking. This soaking step is crucial as it significantly reduces their cooking time the next day.

For the bananas, we suggest peeling and slicing them ahead of time as well. Once sliced, toss them gently in a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. This small step keeps the bananas fresh and visually appealing for when you’re ready to assemble the dessert.

The batter, a mix of coconut milk, sugar, and tapioca flour, can also be prepared in advance. Simply whisk these ingredients together and store the mixture in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to cook, give the batter a good stir as the contents may have settled.

Storing and Reheating Tips

Bánh Chuối Hấp stores exceptionally well, making it a perfect make-ahead dessert. Once cooled, cover the dessert tightly with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days without losing its texture or flavor.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheating is a breeze. You have two options: microwave or steaming. If you’re short on time, the microwave does the job quickly. Simply cover the portion you’re reheating with a wet paper towel and microwave on high for one to two minutes, or until thoroughly warmed.

For those who prefer the original steaming method, place the Bánh Chuối Hấp in a steamer for about five to ten minutes or until it’s completely heated through. This method helps maintain the dessert’s moisture and keeps the texture as close to the freshly made experience as possible.


We’ve journeyed through the delightful process of making Bánh Chuối Hấp, uncovering the secrets to perfecting its texture and flavor. With our make-ahead tips and storage advice, we’re confident you’ll find whipping up this traditional Vietnamese dessert a breeze. Whether you’re planning a special meal or just craving a sweet treat, this steamed banana cake is sure to impress. So go ahead, give it a try and let the rich, comforting flavors of Bánh Chuối Hấp warm your heart and home.

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