Khoeun’s Sticky Rice Cakes with Banana Filling

November 15, 2017

A healthy, low-fat dessert recipe

In Cambodia, these cakes are a popular treat (called Num ansom chek) to make for festivals and celebrations. And for Hong Khoeun’s family, these cakes mark something that’s absolutely worth celebrating: sustainable living.

Khoeun harnessed her baking skills through a CWS grant of $35 to start a bakery in her village in northern Cambodia. Using locally sourced ingredients and the flour that her husband mills for her, she now sells cakes like the one featured here.

For Khoeun, this bakery means school for her daughter, income for food, a diversified diet and the ability to save and invest money instead of living day to day. And in Khoeun’s village, it means increased access to food and strong female leadership.

We’re sharing Khoeun’s cake recipe because her work is worth celebrating – especially with the community that supports her journey! Let’s get started.

Want to read more about Hong Khoeun’s story? Click here!


  • 3 cups sticky rice
  • 6 whole ripe bananas
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 square banana leaves OR parchment paper (approximately 13” x 13”)
  • 12 rectangular banana leaves OR parchment paper (approximately 6” x 8”)


  • steamer
  • twine or string

Step 1
Prepare rice

Soak the sticky rice in water overnight and strain.

When it’s dry, mix in your grated coconut.

Step 2
Halve bananas

Cut bananas vertically. Add salt to the halves.

Step 3
Bring it all together

Place a rectangular banana leaf over larger square leaf so that they overlap in part. Make 12 of these pairs.

Scoop the rice down the middle of the leaves, and put the halved bananas along the line of rice. Cover with more rice.

Step 4
Fold the rice cake

Bring the leaf sides together to form a tube. Fold the edge down to wrap, then fold the bottom of one end of the tube to close it.
Stand the tube on its closed end; pack a little more rice into the open end to build shape, then fold that end closed.
Tie the cake closed with four knots placed evenly and tightly throughout.

Step 5
Steam it

Add cakes to the steamer and close the lid. Steam for 30-45 minutes…
Slice your cake into one-inch pieces. Enjoy!

Happy with how it came out? Email your photos/reviews to!