Lotus Purple Sweet Potato and Coconut Rice Pudding
Lotus Purple Sweet Potato and Coconut Rice Pudding

Coconut rice pudding is a sweet, delicious, and comforting dessert. Add in crunchy lotus root, soft lotus seeds, and purple yams, and it becomes a one-of-a-kind treat that cooks up in under 30 minutes.

In this recipe

  • lotus roots and lotus seeds
  • Tips for perfectly cooked rice pudding
  • Tasty swaps that work
  • My favorite variations
  • Get ahead
  • More creamy puddings to try

For the New Year, I transform a popular Vietnamese dish, rice pudding with black-eyed peas, into something original using traditional ingredients. The dish is a chè, a sweet soupy dessert eaten after dinner, as a late-night treat, or as a cooling snack during the day.

Lotus, Purple Sweet Potato, and Coconut Rice Pudding is a happy and delicious dish that plays with texture—juicy sweet potatoes, crunchy lotus roots, and soft lotus seeds are embraced by the sweet coconut rice pudding.

Food is medicine in Vietnamese culture. You are what you eat and what you eat is what you reap. This dish is rich in ingredients that we value for their nutritional and medicinal benefits.

lotus roots and lotus seeds

Lotus roots are the stems of a lotus plant that grow underwater. A whole lotus root has the vintage look of a fat sausage, but once sliced ​​it reveals the beautiful holes inside, making it floral and geometric.

The root tastes like a mildly sweet celery and the seeds are nutty – they give the pudding a sweet, floral and aniseed scent.

Lotus roots must be cooked and cannot be eaten raw. I like to thinly slice the lotus root crosswise so it cooks through with the rest of the ingredients. Even when sliced ​​thinly, they retain their crispiness when cooked.

I use canned store-bought lotus seeds for convenience – some brands are crunchier than others.

Tips for perfectly cooked rice pudding

Here are some tips to get delicious and perfectly cooked rice pudding:

  • Glutinous rice is sticky and the perfect texture for making creamy rice pudding. All kinds of non-glutinous rice are too fluffy. I would not recommend them.
  • Make sure you soak the sticky rice first; Otherwise, the outer layer of the grains will overcook while the inside remains raw.
  • Leave the lid open as much as possible to prevent the coconut water from evaporating while the rice pudding is cooking. You need to stir it every five minutes. Place the pot on low heat so the bottom doesn’t stick and burn. If the rice pudding looks thirsty, add more coconut water.
  • You can make the rice pudding runny or mushy, just how you like it. Add more coconut water to loosen it.

Tasty swaps that work

The purple sweet potatoes seep into the rice pudding, giving it a nice light purple hue. Add more for a deeper purple. If you can’t find purple yams, use orange ones, or even better, pumpkin when it’s in season.

I love using palm sugar in this recipe, but you can use rock candy, which can be found at most Asian grocery stores, or a good dollop of honey or maple syrup.

My favorite variations

It’s okay to use both lotus roots or Lotus Seeds if you’re having trouble finding them. As an alternative to both, try boiled black-eyed peas or just use the sweet potatoes. It’s simple and yet so delicious.

For weeknight treats, I love plain coconut rice pudding (sans the sweet potatoes, lotus root, and lotus seeds) with banana chunks added in the last five minutes of cooking. An even better option? Caramelize the bananas with a little sugar and place on the rice pudding to serve.

Get ahead

If you’re serving it for a special occasion, try to prep the ingredients ahead of time, then cook it right before serving. For me, rice pudding tastes best when it comes straight out of the hot pot – the rice is just cooked and not too mushy.

If you’re not going to serve it right away, make the rice pudding ahead of time and store it in the fridge for about a day. Rice pudding can be eaten cold straight from the fridge, which is great in summer. Some coconut creams will set at room temperature. In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve with a little coconut water until it becomes a double creamy consistency, or use coconut milk.

More creamy puddings to try

  • Tembleque (Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding)
  • Creamy vegan rice pudding flavored with chai
  • Slow Cooker Orange Almond Rice Pudding
  • ricepudding
  • Tapioca Pudding

Lotus, purple sweet potato and coconut rice pudding

preparation time
20 minutes

cooking time
25 minutes

soak time
30 minutes

total time
75 minutes

up to 6 servings

A brand of white glutinous rice that I use often is called Silk Road Thai Glutinous Rice. This recipe is very forgiving, so you can use any brand of white sticky rice.


  • 1 Cup White sticky rice

  • 9 ounces violet sweet potatoespeeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

  • 1 small lotus root (Above 6 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch rounds

  • 3 cups coconut water

  • 2 ounces palm sugar

  • 1 (fifteenOunce) can lotus seedsdrained

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut cream


  1. Soak the sticky rice:

    Place the glutinous rice in a small bowl and cover with at least 2 cm of water. Let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the rice well in a fine-mesh colander over the sink.

  2. Prepare rice pudding:

    In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the drained rice, purple yams, lotus root, 1 2/3 cups coconut water, and palm sugar.

    Stir well with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Once boiling, put the lid on and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning the bottom. The rice will be fluffy, sticky, and double in size.

    Add the remaining 1 1/3 cups coconut water, lotus seeds, and 1/3 cup coconut cream. Stir well, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes. Try the rice. It should be soft.

  3. Surcharge:

    Serve the rice pudding warm in bowls and drizzle with extra coconut cream.

nutritional information (per serving)
429 calories
11g Fat
78g carbohydrates
6g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!