Che Recipes

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Vietnamese Dessert with Lotus Seeds and Longans: Chè Sen Nhãn Recipe

According to the Lunar calendar, Tết (Vietnamese New Year) falls on January 30th, 2014. It's customary to serve chè (typical Vietnamese dessert) to offer to ancestors during prayers. Today's dessert recipe is chè sen nhãn. It's made from dried lotus seeds and dried longans, which are perfect for the winter season. 

I prepared a syrup sweetened with Chinese rock sugar. It can be thickened with tapioca starch but the quality of the dried lotus seeds and longans I used was so amazing, it was unnecessary. I feel very blessed because I always have family and friends bringing me delicious, exotic ingredients from their travels to Vietnam. I received lotus seeds threaded as necklaces and the longans had been sun-dried and unsweetened. They came out just perfect: perky and plump, with a hint of natural sweetness. I could have eaten bowls and bowls of this lovely chè.


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Che Thai Recipe Recipe

Che Thai Recipe

05.18.12 by Jackie

Che Thai is a Vietnamese interpretation of a Thai dessert. It's made of a combination of coconut milk, half and half and pandan flavorings. This makes the base of the dessert, the rest is up to you. I usually add whatever I have available; it can be fresh jackfruit, longans, lychees, pomegranate seeds or agar agar jelly.

I have a funny anecdote about this dessert. When I first introduced it to my husband's family, everyone was very pleased and surprised by how refreshing it tasted, especially Lulu's uncle, Ibbu Mamu. It was a really hot summer day and I can still picture him, eating cup after cup of che Thai. At some point, he asked for the recipe. "Jackie, I love this dessert, it's so light and refreshing". After I listed off the ingredients though, he kind of freaked out, seeing as he had just polished off two very large cups!  


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Che Chuoi Recipe (Vietnamese Dessert) Recipe

Chè chuối is a popular dessert from South Vietnam, where my parents are from. Bananas are simmered whole until softened in a coconut milk tapioca pudding. It takes less time to prepare than Western desserts, plus chè chuối is made exclusively with vegan ingredients.

If you like Vietnamese desserts or Vietnamese sweets in general, you've probably noticed they don't always have the nicest presentation, especially chè desserts. They often have a very neutral, grayish color and  soupy texture. If you get past that, you're guaranteed to at least get a completely fresh take on dessert.


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Che Bap Recipe (Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding) Recipe

Chè is difficult to describe. It's a sweet, soupy pudding served in a small bowl. As I've mentioned before, Vietnamese desserts are mildly sweet and don't always have the most appealing presentation. Chè definitely fits this description. As a child, Maman used to make it very often, especially for the Buddhist prayer rituals (cúng). This version of chè is made with corn and coconut milk; it's called chè bắp in Vietnamese. It can be eaten warm or cold. This dessert can be made all year round; during the summer, I use fresh corn off the cob. When the weather gets cold, as it has over the past few days, canned corn kernels work just fine.

Chè bắp is generally topped with a thick, syrupy coconut sauce and slightly toasted white sesame seeds. This is probably one of my favorite Asian sweets.

 


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