Traditional desserts from Vietnam are typically made with ingredients such as coconut and banana.
One of the simplest and most delicious desserts to enjoy in the country is Chè Chuối.
What is Chè Chuối? Chè Chuối is a Vietnamese soup that can be eaten as a dessert. It combines delicious bananas and rich coconut cream. It also contains tapioca pearls.
Indulge in Chè Chuối at home by making it yourself! While it’s simple to make, it’s a really delicious pudding that will soon become one of your favorites.
How Did Chè Chuối Come About?
This banana, coconut, and tapioca dessert is really a soup that originates from Southern Vietnam.
It’s sometimes called a pudding because it has a thick and creamy texture. Chè is a word used for any sweet soup, pudding, or drink in Vietnam, while Chuối means bananas.
To make this dessert, any bananas can work just fine, provided they are ripe but not too mushy. In Vietnam, bananas known as Chuối sứ or Chuối xiêm are usually used for this recipe because they’re sweet and soft while maintaining their form so that they don’t become mushy.
The coconut cream for this dessert is usually made with fresh coconuts, for the simple reason that it’s cheaper to make the cream than buy it in cans from a shop.
When made in Vietnam, this dessert sometimes contains pandan leaves. These are commonly found in many Vietnamese dishes, especially desserts. However, it’s important to choose pandan leaves that are dark as this will ensure they have a powerful aroma.
Pandan leaves bring a grassy, vanilla flavor with a subtle touch of coconut to recipes. Therefore, they work well with the other ingredients in Chè Chuối, such as the coconut cream and bananas.
Why Is Chè Chuối So Popular?
The interesting thing about Chè Chuối is that, while it’s a simple dessert, it’s traditional and significant to Vietnamese culture because of how all the ingredients used to make this dessert are popular in Vietnamese cuisine for various reasons.
Bananas are easily found in Vietnam throughout the year, because of how they’re easy to grow. They’re also common in a variety of dishes. Whether it’s fried bananas, roasted bananas in rice, or sweet banana soup, there are many banana-based delicacies in the country.
Coconuts, on the other hand, are considered to be the most popular fruit in Vietnam. They’re used in a variety of Vietnamese dishes, and in different ways.
For example, adding coconut water to braised food and coconut milk to sweet puddings and curries is common.
How To Make Chè Chuối At Home
Chè Chuối is gaining popularity outside of Vietnam. You can find many recipes online so that you can make it yourself, wherever you live.
The great thing about making it at home is that it doesn’t contain many ingredients, as we’ll see in this recipe.
Ingredients you need
1/4 cup small tapioca pearls
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon sugar
Note: Always make sure your bananas are ripe as this will give the pudding a delicious natural sweetness.
Start by soaking the tapioca pearls in two cups of water for an hour.
When they are done soaking, peel and slice your bananas into ¾-inch slices and put them aside. It’s best to prepare the bananas when your tapioca pearls have been soaked, otherwise setting the bananas aside could cause them to go brown before you use them.
Drain the tapioca pearls.
In a saucepan, put one cup of water and bring it to a boil.
When it boils, add the tapioca pearls, then lower the stove heat to medium.
Stir the pearls to prevent them from burning. The pearls should become almost clear, then they can be removed from the heat. This should take about five minutes.
Add the sugar and coconut milk to the saucepan and stir it until the mixture almost boils.
Add the banana slices. Stir the mixture slowly and let it simmer for a few minutes. You want the bananas to be soft and aromatic.
Place the banana pudding into serving glasses and garnish with the roasted peanuts.
How to make the recipe with pandan leaves:
If you’re using pandan leaves in this dessert because you want to make it like Vietnamese locals do, you’ll have to boil two cups of water and add four pandan leaves to it.
On medium heat, let the leaves simmer for 20 minutes. This will ensure that the flavor of the pandan leaves is extracted.
Then, you’ll add the rest of your ingredients to this pot of water and pandan leaves. Let it simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes so that the bananas will become soft.
Extra Tips For Making This Dessert
Although this dessert is easy and simple to make, you have to ensure you follow some important tips so that you get the best result.
It doesn’t matter what tapioca pearls you choose as they’re all the same. However, the size you choose will affect how long you have to soak them, so choose the smallest pearls that are available.
In some recipes, it’s recommended that you fry the banana slices in a bit of oil in a separate pan so that they become golden brown, and then add them to the tapioca.
While you can enjoy it cold instead of warm, this can cause the dessert to taste a bit starchy. It might therefore be best served when you want a warm pudding, such as on cold days.
What Makes Chè Chuối Such A Great Dessert?
Although it’s simple and only consists of a few ingredients, this pudding is much loved because of how it has a classic base of coconut.
This makes it easy to enjoy with other delicious Vietnamese dishes. It’s also warm, which makes it a great winter dessert or appetizer.
The tapioca pearls are what thicken the dessert so that it takes on a pudding consistency instead of being a thin soup. The dessert also provides a chewiness as a result of the tapioca, with the texture further enhanced by the crunchy peanuts on top.
When you have a spoonful of this delicious dessert, you’ll love how tender the bananas are and how they absorb the coconut milk.
Since it contains coconut and bananas, this also makes it a healthier dessert than puddings containing lots of sugar.
This dessert is dairy-free! It can therefore be enjoyed by people who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, which further makes it a universally-enjoyed dessert to serve when hosting dinner.
To keep it as healthy as possible, you can garnish your pudding with sesame seeds instead of crushed peanuts.
Where Did Chè Chuối Come From?
While it’s said that Chè Chuối is a traditional Vietnamese dessert, not much is known about its origin. However, there is information pertaining to chè desserts and how these came about.
They are said to have originated in the central area of Vietnam, although these days if you visit the country you’ll be able to find them everywhere, and they often have modern variations on the traditional desserts.
It’s interesting to note that chè dishes can be any beverage, soup, pudding, or custard-like dessert made with water or coconut cream, jellies, fruits, rice and grains, cereals, or pulses. So, there’s quite a large variety to enjoy!
Can you eat this Vietnamese dessert the day after making it?
This dessert will taste better on the day when it’s made, but you can put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to three days. That said, mix the pudding before you eat it because the coconut cream thickens in cold temperatures.
Are there lots of banana plants found in Vietnam?
Banana plants grow in the wild or in gardens found in people’s backyards. In fact, more bananas are grown in Vietnam than any other fruit.
If you want to enjoy a sweet treat in Vietnam, you need to try Chè Chuối.
This is sweet, fruity, and creamy, without being too strong in flavor so it’s mild enough to add to a variety of meals or enjoyed alone when you want a tasty, healthy treat.
Nicole Dowdy is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. [He/she] has dedicated nearly all her life to learning popular recipes from across the globe as well as developing new ones. Using Food Migration, Nicole Dowdy shares the very best recipes for just about every home cook looking to try something new in the kitchen. Pro chefs can also learn a few tricks on the website.Looking to improve your kitchen? You will also find awesome and high-quality kitchen utensil recommendations as well as buying guides on this website.