Vietnamese Dessert Recipes

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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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Rau Cau Dua: Vietnamese Coconut Jello Recipe Recipe

Rau câu is Vietnamese jello made with agar agar, which is a seaweed by-product, similar to gelatin (except it's vegetal). Several months ago, family friends came for dinner and brought delicious rau câu made with nước dừa ("coconut juice" in Vietnamese). We usually serve the more traditional Vietnamese dessert made with sweetened condensed milk and flavor it with layers of chocolate, mocha, pandan and sometimes durian, but I really like the flavor of this variation. I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy this version was to make. All you need is a few cans of coconut juice with pulp and agar agar. How simple is that?

The coconut jello has another great advantage. It has the same texture as pana cotta, so you can serve it to children without being scared of any spilling or any accidents on your floor. I've adopted this cube version whenever I make it for kids. You can use the same recipe using your children's favorite drinks. It's mess-free and melts in your mouth. They’ll love it!


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Tofu Dessert in Ginger Syrup (Tau Hu Nuoc Duong) Recipe

Tàu hũ nước đường is a Vietnamese tofu dessert in ginger syrup. The texture of silken tofu is very similar to custard, but without the calories. I used store-bought silken tofu (see tips) and paired it with clementine ginger syrup. The early crop of clementines we harvested from our garden are not extremely sweet. They have a hint of tartness, which is just the way I like them! The zest is so fragrant I had to use it in this syrup.

I have made my own firm tofu before, which is quite easy, but I've always wanted to make silken tofu. After a few searches, I stumbled upon Wendy's beautiful Chinese food blog, where she shares her technique on how to make silken tofu, using Glucono-Delta-Lactone (GDL). I haven't tried her recipe yet, because I first have to find this ingredient. I can't wait to make my own silken tofu; I will definitely keep you posted.


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