Some of my favorite childhood afternoon snacks are a bowl of silken tofu custard topped with spoonfuls of ginger syrup or chè trôi nước. The common denominator was the sweet and slightly spicy ginger syrup. Unfortunately, it takes some time to make either of those desserts in the traditional way. My mom came up with a brilliant solution for the semi-homemade snacks, which I will explore today.
Chè is a vietnamese sweet dessert “soup”. It is generally filled with various ingredients from beans to gelatin in a “soup” form served as an afternoon snack on the streets of Vietnam. Chè trôi nước is a Vietnamese dessert consisting of balls made from mung bean paste wrapped in a shell made of glutinous rice flour. The balls are served in a thick, sweet clear or brown liquid made of water, sugar, and grated ginger root. In this post, we will tackle the easy version of chè trôi nước or sesame mochi dessert in a ginger syrup. We will top this dessert with some coconut cream and toasted sesame seeds.
The semi-homemade part is the mochi balls. Instead of slaving away making mochi balls filled with mung bean, visit the asian supermarket. In the freezer aisle, you will likely find some type of mochi balls filled with beans or sesame filling ready to be boiled. This is my mom’s substitute for making the traditional mochi balls. It will cut the time to make this dessert in half.
The coconut cream is a common topping for many chè. Once you have master this easy topping, you can even use it on other desserts as well.
This recipe serves between 4-6 people, at approximately 1 small rice bowl portion per person.
1 package of frozen mini sesame rice balls or any rice balls filled with beans (Chinese uncooked dessert in the frozen aisle)
1 cup of light brown sugar
2 cups of water
⅛ cup of julienne ginger root
1 14 oz can of coconut cream
2 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of tapioca flour
1 tablespoon of water
In a 2 qt saucepan, bring water, brown sugar and ginger to a boil. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
While the ginger syrup simmers, prepare the sesame mochi balls and coconut cream.
In a second saucepan (approx 1.5-2 quart capacity), fill it ¾ with water. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water boils, carefully place the frozen sesame mochi balls into the boiling water. Turn the heat to medium and make sure the water does not boil continuously. This will break up the mochi balls.
When the mochi balls float to the top, use a slotted spoon and carefully add them to the ginger syrup. Let the mochi balls and ginger syrup simmer together for another 5 minutes or until the rice balls plump fully. This process also allows for the sesame mochi balls to fully absorb the ginger syrup. Turn off the heat and let cool.
In a small mixing bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Stir until the mixture is fully incorporated and set aside.
In a third small sauce pan set on medium heat, bring the coconut cream, 2 teaspoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt to a simmer. Stir continuously until the bubbles start to form. Make sure the mixture is not boiling over the top. Once the bubbles are formed, add the tapioca/water mixture to the pot while stirring continuously. Continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes until the coconut cream thickens. Turn off the heat.
Now you can assemble the sesame mochi balls in ginger syrup dessert. This dessert is best served warm or at room temperature. Place a few sesame mochi balls in a small bowl. Fill to the top of the mochi balls with the ginger syrup.
Top with a large spoon of coconut cream and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. (see the featured photo for the final product)
Enjoy this delicious semi homemade take on the classic Vietnamese chè trôi nướcc.