Chè is a traditional Vietnamese sweet pudding or soup like dessert often eaten in the afternoon or late at night. This dessert can be served warmed or chilled, depending on the ingredients. There are over a dozen varieties of chè depending on the region of Vietnam. Chè can be made with mung bean, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, tapioca, gelatin, dumplings or a variety of fruits and is usually topped with a spoon of coconut cream. Today, we will introduce a basic but delicious chè made of mung bean. Chè bông cau or sticky mung bean dessert is made of whole steamed mung bean cooked in gelatinous simple syrup. This snack is often a favorite of high school students on their way home from school.
2/3 cups of dried split mung bean
3 tablespoons of tapioca starch
5- 6 tablespoons of sugar (for the chè and the coconut milk)
1 can of coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract (not pictured)
Part 1: Cooking the mung bean
Steam 2/3 cup of dried split mung bean for 20 minutes or until the beans are softened.
Once the mung beans finish steaming, boil 1 cup of water with 5 tablespoons of sugar in a medium size pot. You can adjust the sugar to taste.
In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
When the sugar has dissolved, slowly add 4 tablespoon of tapioca starch water to the sugar water and stir while mixing. The liquid will thicken very quickly.
Add 2 cups of the steamed mung beans to the liquid, turn off the heat and stir so the mung beans are evenly distributed.
Add 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir. Let cool.
Part 2: Coconut Milk
In a small sauce pan, add 1 ½ cup of coconut milk, ½ cup of water, ⅛ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar on medium heat. Stir until the coconut milk starts to simmer.
In a separate bowl, add 1 tablespoon of starch, and 2 teaspoons of water. From this mixture, add 1 ½ tablespoon of starch water to the coconut milk and stir. Turn off the heat and stir. Let the coconut milk cool.
In a bowl, add the sweet mung bean pudding and top with coconut milk. Served warm.
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