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Magenta plant is easily grown and leafy. In cold places, it can be grown in pots placed by the windows or doorsteps to conveniently be watered every day. By doing so, after a few weeks, there will be enough leaves to make sticky rice for the whole family to enjoy. The special thing is, when being cooked, green magenta leaves turn into a radiant purple color, just like Hue’s ao dai blowing in the wind in summer afternoons.
It is not difficult to cook sticky rice with magenta leaves. It’s similar to cooking sticky rice the usual way, except for the step of soaking the glutinous rice into the magenta leaves’ water extract before cooking.
Pluck a handful of fresh magenta leaves, remove the stems, wash the leaves, then pour enough water to cover them and boil. Those leaves will emit a nice rosy-purple color. If you want the color to be more pigmented, you can rub the leaves then soak them in 2 cups of sticky rice and leave it overnight. The next morning, the rice will have a beautiful violet color. Then, cook the rice as usual, maybe add a can of coconut milk while steaming to add richness to the rice.
Sticky rice with magenta leaves can be served with green beans, chestnuts, and sesame seeds; or it could be treated as a sweet dessert with a little bit of shredded coconut on top, sprinkled with a tablespoon of sugar and coconut milk. Sweet or savory, both are distinctively delicious with a stunning presentation of the magenta leaves. It is such a traditional dish that Vietnamese people want to bring with them no matter where they live.