Che Bap Recipe (Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding)
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.
Yields: 10 servings½ cup tapioca pearls
1 (16-ounce) package frozen yellow sweet corn, thawed
½ cup coconut milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sweet coconut sauce (see tips)
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, slightly dry toasted
In a large saucepan, add 1-½ quarts water and bring to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls. Bring back to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring every now and then to keep the tapioca from sticking to the bottom. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. The mixture should be thickened. Drain the tapioca pearls and set aside.
In a blender, place the corn and pulse until the texture turns into a coarse puree.
In another saucepan, heat the coconut milk. Bring to a near boil (you don't want to heat the milk for too long; otherwise the fat will start separating). Lower the heat and then add the tapioca pearls, sweet corn mixture, sugar and salt. Cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Let cool for 10 minutes. The texture of the pudding should be slightly thick.
Serve in small bowls. Cover with 2-3 tablespoons of sweet coconut sauce and garnish with white sesame seeds.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can find all the ingredients listed above in most Asian markets.
How to make coconut milk sauce: In a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water. In a small saucepan, add 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a near boil. Lower the heat, then add the dissolved cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring constantly. As soon as the sauce thickens, turn off the heat. Voilà!Published By: on November 4, 2011.