Recipe: Bird’s Nest Cake – Banh Tai Yen

Swift Nest Cake - Banh Tai Yen

By Helen Le Published: October 22, 2013

  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Ready In: 3 hrs 40 mins

  • Yield: 8-10

Bird's Nest Cake is a traditional cake originated from South-Western Vietnam. It used to be a very popular street snack on the streets of Saigon. But over the past few years, the vendors selling these cakes have gradually disappeared and it is now very difficult to find a place that sells banh tai yen. It'd be a real pity if it becomes extinct one day, as to many Vietnamese, it's still a special snack that associated with many unforgettable childhood memories.

  • In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. Stir well and microwave for 30 seconds to help the sugar dissolve completely.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the tapioca starch and rice flour. Make a well in the center and pour in the coconut mixture. Stir well to dissolve the flour completely.
  • Add baking soda, and vanilla (if any). Let the batter rest for 3-5 hours.
  • Fill a wok with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 180°C/360°F. To test the oil temperature, stand a wooden chopstick in the center of the wok. If bubbles appear steadily around the chopstick, the oil is hot enough. Another way to test is to add a drop of the batter into the hot oil, if it turns brown within 60 seconds, it's ready.
  • Give the batter a good stir and scoop one ladle, then lower it to just above the oil level and quickly pour into the center of the wok. The cake will float to the surface within a few seconds. When the edges turn golden brown, flip it over and fry for a few more seconds. Then remove from the oil and let it rest on the rack to drip off the excess oil. After that, place it on kitchen towel. Fry only one cake at a time.
  • To recyle the frying oil, line a mesh strainer with kitchen towel and place it on top of a bowl. Make sure the utensils are completely dry, otherwise the oil will splash next time you use it. Pour the used oil into the bowl through the mesh strainer to refine the oil. You can reuse the oil many times until it looks or smells bad.

Post By Helen Le (313 Posts)

Since 2011 Helen has shared her Vietnamese home cooking video recipes on Youtube, helping viewers cook Vietnamese Food in the easiest, fastest and most authentic way possible. Subscribe to receive her newest videos for FREE:

Website: → Danang Cuisine


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