Xoi Gac Red Sticky Rice Recipe

xoi gac

Congratulations to all who gave the correct answer to our mystery fruit contest..which is gac or spiny bitter gourd, baby jackfruit, cochinchin gourd, or sweet gourd. We are very impressed! These fruits are not commonly found in Asian groceries and can be found in specialty Asian produce stores here in Little Saigon during the winter time when they’re in season–it’s one of the more expensive fruits at around $15/lb. Fortunately for us, these exotic fruits occupy about half of my aunts’ prize winning garden. Since gac fruit ripens during the winter, my aunt usually gives it as Christmas gifts and along with vines for those who want to grow it as well.

Gac is used medicinally and is a great source of antioxidants and beta carotene which is great for skin and vision. The seeds of this fruit have a red aril coating that gives a bright red orange color and sweet and fragrant flavor to xoi gac.

xoi gac

Since the color red is symbolic for good fortune and happiness in Asian cultures, xoi gac is served at many special occasions such as engagements, weddings, and holidays such as the lunar new year, Tet. Authentic xoi gac is made without a single drop of red food coloring and seeds of the fruit are dressed on top of the dish to show authenticity. It’s commonly eaten with cha lua, (Vietnamese ham).

Since these are so prized and precious, I babied them like mother, carrying them from California to Arizona and finally to Michigan over the Thanksgiving holiday. Hong’s family was so mesmerized by the fruit and we made xoi gac as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

We have become glutinous rice fanatics but have to say this is our favorite xoi especially since we have access to fresh gac. However, you can find frozen gac as well in Asian grocery markets.

Xoi Gac Red Sticky Rice
Printable Recipe

  • 2-3 pounds of glutinous rice (may vary depending how much gac you have)
  • Gac fruit
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
xoi gac

Soak the glutinous rice over night and when ready to make the xoi, drain and allow to dry.

Use gloves because the seeds can stain your hands. Cut open the gac and pick out the seeds and place in small mixing bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of red wine and using your hands rub the red coating off the seeds as much as possible. Add this to the rice along with the salt. Mix well to fully coat all the grains of glutinous rice in beautiful gac red.

Steam the rice until almost fully cooked–about 15 minutes or so. Then add sugar and coconut milk–mix and cook for another 5 minutes. You may have to cook in batches if your steamer can’t hold all the rice all at once. The rice should be semi sweet, but not too sweet–but adjust to your liking.

xoi gac
And one last thing…the randomly chosen winner to our peacock henna totebag giveaway is…Christine of Fresh Local and Best and the winner of the coffee filter is Karen C.! Congrats to you both! We wish we can send you this xoi gac instead, but these prizes will just have to do. Enjoy!

 

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41 Responses to “Xoi Gac Red Sticky Rice Recipe”

  1. 1

    Ju (The Little Teochew) — December 13, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

    It is beautiful!!!

  2. 2

    powerplantop — December 13, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

    I will admit I did not know what this fruit was. But I was impreassed by the great color. I am sure that the rice dish was a welcome addition to the meal.

  3. 3

    Jessica@Foodmayhem — December 13, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

    I love sticky rice too so I'd love to try this, though I don't know if I'll ever get my hands on fresh gac. Could I order some from your aunt? =)

  4. 4

    Ravenous Couple — December 13, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    Ju: You hit the nail on the head with your answer!

    powerplantop: Just one fruit gave so much color..we probably used closer to 5lbs of rice..which was barely enough as many guests took some home.

    Jessica: Even for us, we sometimes have to use frozen because it has a really short season and when ripe lasts only for a few weeks. She ends up freezing many gac since she can't possibly use it all.

  5. 5

    KennyT — December 13, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    I've always wanna try gac, thanks a lot for sharing, this is very interesting.

  6. 6

    Kitchen M — December 13, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

    I've never seen or even heard of this fruit! Is it stinky like durian? Does it taste like jackfruit? The names are very confusing. One of them says bitter gourd but it's also called sweet gourd? LOL
    The rice looks beautiful! And congrats to Christine!

  7. 7

    OysterCulture — December 13, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    I was not even going to try guessing, but I had a lot of fun learning about something new and the rice dish looks gorgeous!

  8. 8

    Connie — December 13, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    The color of that rice is so amazing. Sounds delicious, too! I'm intrigued by the gac, which I've never heard or seen before. Next time I go to any Asian markets, I'll be looking for it! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. 9

    Ravenous Couple — December 14, 2009 @ 1:42 am

    KennyT: How common is gac over where you're from?

    KitchenM: the name is rather confusing…most Vietnamese only use the seeds which provide the color and fragrance…which is not bitter at all. Since it's a gourd, the meat of the fruit can also be sliced, and cooked. We haven't tried but we think that's what is bitter–sort of like bitter gourd.

    oysterculture: Glad you liked this mystery posts!

    Connie: Even here in OC, it's rarely found in groceries. The specialty fruit markets carry it, but sometimes you can find these frozen.

  10. 10

    noobcook — December 14, 2009 @ 4:14 am

    It's the first time I'm seeing this fruit. What a beautiful deep red/orange hue for your sticky rice.

  11. 11

    Fresh Local and Best — December 14, 2009 @ 7:00 am

    I just returned from San Francisco, and I'm thrilled to find out that I won the tote bag! Even more stunning than the fruit is learning that your aunt grows such exotic treasures in America, she must have an incredible green thumb!

    I would baby this fruit too. It's such a neat luxury to be able to work with such a rare and exotic treat.

  12. 12

    Gastronomer — December 14, 2009 @ 7:25 am

    So awesome that you guys love xoi as much as I do! Xoi gac is TOPS! The color is just so brilliant.

  13. 13

    Tung — December 14, 2009 @ 8:15 am

    can't believe this fruit is more expensive per pound than lobster…. i don't think i've ever tasted real xoi gac before…it's mostly been red food coloring at banh mi cali.

  14. 14

    3 hungry tummies — December 14, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

    That is a seriously amazing looking fruit, your dish looks delicious too!

  15. 15

    Table Talk — December 14, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

    I have never had gac. I love the vibrant color it gave the rice; very festive! I can see why it would be popular for celebrations.

  16. 16

    Jeff — December 15, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    I have never heard of this or even seen it so now I must find it. Joy is living in the midwest what chance do I have????

    Cool lesson too!

  17. 17

    Ravenous Couple — December 15, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    noobcook: supposedly it's fairly common in Southeast Asia, but quite underutilized despite it's high nutrient contents.

    FLB: Congrats!

    Gastronomer: Did you ever get your hands on some to make it?

    Tung: Yeah, our aunt makes a killing when she sells it to the local fruit stores.

    3 hungry tummies: Thank you..the uniqueness of the fruit mainly lies in the color.

    tabletalk: definitely weddings, new year…red is a color of prosperity and happiness

    jeff: you're right…hard to find in the midwest..we had to take it over to michigan :)

  18. 18

    pigpigscorner — December 19, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    I've never had this before, gives it such a nice colour!

  19. 19

    Ravenous Couple — December 19, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    pigpigscorner: the color of xoi gac is unrivaled when using real gac fruit. food coloring just doesn't cut it.

  20. 20

    Anonymous — April 19, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    Have 1' tall gac plants. Just got from Twp Willies Nursery over ebay. $20 for 20 seed. Recipes for the pulp? You don' cook seeds? Eat seeds? Recently learned of gac. Your posts encouraged me. Built 50'x8' trellis for them. Near Austin, Tx. I thought pulp dried and used in Italian sauces and brownies, etc for the high (70 times beta carotine of carrots) would help grandkids get healthy! Next project-solar dehydrator. Would love feed back Alicer1945@yahoo.com

  21. 21

    Ravenous Couple — May 1, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    Alice, congrats on growing the gac plant! Vietnamese use the pulp for coloring and flavor so no doubt you can use it in italian sauces. as far as the rest of the fruit, you can your it like any gourd..roast it make soup even!

  22. 22

    phuong — January 18, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    Do you have the seeds for this ? I want to plant it. I live in Elk grove, Ca.

  23. 23

    Tanya — July 13, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Wonderful Post, at first glance before I saw the spikes, I thought this could have been a very ripe bitter melon as their seeds get read and squishy like that when ripe as well!

  24. 24

    Dinh — July 19, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

    I will be in the LA area in November from VA. Can you provide some of the specialty asian stores that carry gac? I would like to purchase some.

  25. 25

    The Ravenous Couple — July 23, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    There are many specialty fruit stores in little Saigon especially at abc market plaza. Not sure if it will be in season though

  26. 26

    Chi — July 26, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    Hi Hong & Kim,

    Just curious if we could get a sneak peek of Aunt’s prized garden! Would love any garden tips too! =)

  27. 27

    Tien — August 11, 2012 @ 7:30 am

    Thank you for this site, you made searching for xoi gac recipe quick and easy. I have an engagement party coming up and would like to add this dish for tradition. Since I live in Philadelphia, I will be searching all over Asian stores for the frozen gac. :-)

  28. 28

    Maureen — October 24, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I just love your blog live in Pa

  29. 29

    Samie — November 7, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    I was in OC this past weekend an hand carry one of these home! :) yes they are quite expensive. Thanks for the recipe I’m excited to make it this weekend!!!

  30. 30

    Ode to the gac fruit – glutinous rice dessert | eatmunchlove — January 18, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

    […] Lastly to make it look all pretty and put together, we molded them into squares and put coconut flakes on the top to give it some more texture. All in all, they were pretty good. I think we added a little too much sugar in the coconut base though because it was a little too sweet for our taste. We were a little disappointed to not taste any of the actual fruit because of the overpowering taste of coconut milk, but we didn’t mind too much because we still got our dose of carotenoids. (: Anyhow, considering how we first started off with this alien looking fruit…it wasn’t too bad of a turnout. For a more detailed recipe you can get the recipe here. […]

  31. 31

    Irene — February 11, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

    I was searching online for the sweet pink rice. So nice to have found it. The recipe is very interesting. My neighbors are Vietnamese and when ever they have a celebration one of the ladies makes the rice. I love the pink rice it is so delicious. There are pieces of the fruit in the rice and my neighbor told me not to eat it. She always shares a nice portion of the rice with my husband and I. Since i’m the only one who likes it I have some for breakfast every day till it is all gone. Yummy

  32. 32

    Wai Fong — July 7, 2014 @ 2:03 am

    Hi Hong & Kim,
    I bought a few gac fruits (about 7) while holidaying in Thailand, though I have absolutely no clue about this amazing fruit. Could you kindly advise me on: (1) what other ways can I use the gac fruit (besides cooking it with sticky rice and making it into a drink)? (2) Do you discard the yellow flesh or are there any uses for it? (3) Is it possible to freeze the seeds for later use? Thanks so much for helping

  33. 33

    The Ravenous Couple — August 22, 2014 @ 11:19 am

    we’re not experts on this and only use the red flesh for the rice. maybe do a little internet search for recipes?

  34. 34

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  40. 40

    Joanna — June 20, 2016 @ 12:20 am

    Hi – My boyfriend’s mom is awesome at gardening. She grows the leaves to make the purple glutinous rice. It would be great if she can grow Gac as well. Is it possible that I can buy some vines from your aunt? Thank you!

  41. 41

    The Ravenous Couple — July 20, 2016 @ 3:37 pm

    if you search on ebay, i think there are people selling the seeds

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