Meant To Be Broken

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If it already is broken, it might not need fixing in the first place.

Broken rice (Cơm Tấm) is intentionally fractured, not defective. Once upon a time, in the earliest days of milling and manufacturing, it did begin life as the cheaper alternative to pristine long rice, though that’s no longer the case. In fact, it can command a premium price, especially overseas where it’s harder to find. Stumbling upon it randomly while perusing the endless aisles at MT Supermarket, I knew I hit the jackpot.

Contrary to the negative implications that might be associated with a “broken” item, it’s just as nutritious as any other whole grain. In fact, it has the added benefit of cooking more quickly due to the shorter, fragmented pieces.

If you think regular white rice is a brilliant blank canvas for soaking in flavorful sauces, just wait until you break this party up; impossibly porous, this segmented cereal drinks in every last drop like an edible sponge. Soft, sticky, tender yet toothsome, you get the best of all textures in every bite.

You could enjoy it in any other short grain rice recipe for a change of pace, though it’s most popular in Vietnam as street food. Flanked by pork chops, fried egg, meatloaf, pork skin, and sweet fish sauce, you would be hard pressed to find a dish any less vegan.

Rather than attempting to twist this dish into something utterly unrecognizable to accommodate my demands, I was inspired to break up with tradition and try a fresh approach.

Fragrant, subtly sweet, delicate and supple, this exquisite cracked cereal shines with a gentle approach to seasoning. Slightly nutty, warm and toasted, yet also bright and floral with hints of citrus, it’s already quite a prize cooked only in plain water. It would be a grave disservice to the grain if such a wealth of flavor was obscured. Thus, I merely accentuated the natural complexities locked within, adding a touch of sugar, salt, and a few drops of lemongrass oil. Butterfly pea tea (“blue matcha”) provides a bold blue hue, but the rich palate of flavors outshines even that vibrant veneer.

Serve with ripe mango, papaya, peaches, coconut, or any fresh fruit, really. Feel free to experiment! You can’t mess this one up; it’s already broken.

Yield: Makes 2 - 4 Servings

Sweet Broken Rice

Sweet Broken Rice

Fragrant, subtly sweet, delicate and tender, this exquisite cracked cereal shines with a gentle approach to seasoning. Slightly nutty, warm and toasted, yet also bright and floral with hints of citrus, the natural complexities are accentuated with a touch of sugar, salt, and lemongrass oil. Butterfly pea tea provides a bold blue hue, but the rich palate of flavors outshines even that vibrant veneer.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


Broken Rice:

  • 1 Cup Broken Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Butterfly Pea Tea Powder (AKA Blue Matcha)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 - 3 Drops Food-Grade Lemongrass Essential Oil

To Serve (Optional):

  • Sliced Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Coconut, or Your Favorite Fresh Fruit


  1. Rinse the rice once in cold water and thoroughly drain. Place in a medium saucepan along with 1 1/2 cups clean water, sugar, coconut oil, butterfly pea tea powder, salt, and lemongrass oil.
  2. Cover and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 5 - 10 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.
  3. Remove from the heat but keep covered for 10 minutes. Serve warm, alongside fresh fruits.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 6gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

5 thoughts on “Meant To Be Broken

    1. I’d put good money on that bet! I’m planning on checking out my local 99 Ranch soon, so I can report back. ;)

  1. That looks similar to the Malaysian Nasi Kerabu, first time I saw them in Malaysia, I was so intrigued as its very rare to see dishes in that colour. What you made there is so pretty and delcious of course, the colours of that rice pair well with the mangoes

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