This recipe I am sharing today is a thick mess of banana chunks, cassava cubes and tapioca pearls suspended in a sweet and refreshing coconut cream, then topped with crushed peanuts and black sesame seeds. It can be served warm but it is absolutely amazing chilled. It is one of the easiest desserts to make which also caters for literally everyone as it is vegetarian, vegan and dairy free.
For as long as I can remember, my family would rarely have dessert after dinner. On the off chance we did it would normally be served hot and contain either mung bean or red bean. Unfortunately I don’t like beans and I don’t like my desserts hot. So, what do I do? I complain. I whinge. And I whine like a true spoiled little SH#T! So mum pulls out this little gem of a recipe to shut me up and it worked. It’s been 33 years now, and I haven’t complained to her since… about this one particular issue anyway.
So, moving onto the years of the “Stiff” (that’s what I call Steph). Did I think my dessert problem would resurface? No. But did it? Yes. Because Steph’s family just looooooooooves being British and it is suuuuuuuch a “British thing” to have a hot pudding or crumble after every meal. I mean… these guys were relentless. It was pudding plus hot creamy custard which they would slather all over they bowls as if it was on fire. For years, I suffered in silence. I remember reminding myself “it’s all worth it”… much like a parent attempting to convince a friend with no kids their children are fantastic as they watch them destroy everything they hold dear. In the end, I held out as long as I could but they broke me. I now… LIKE…. crumbles and treacle pudding…. yes, I have became a statistic. I have become somewhat British!
Before I started this post, I do what I usually do and googled this dish for inspiration. I found that many blogs will tell you to use the Asian variety of bananas. This type is much like a lady finger and it is good because it will remain firm after cooking and it is not as sweet. However, I still prefer the common Cavendish because it tastes great, easy to get and is available all year round. My only advice is to use bananas that are just ripe for this recipe. You do not want green bananas because they will taste bland and starchy. Bananas that are way too ripe will have good flavour but will be obliterated when cooked. So choose carefully!
Another important difference is that most recipes will tell you to cook the tapioca ingredients in the pudding liquid itself. This makes the dessert quite thick which is OK when it is served warm. However, I prefer the tapioca cooked in another pot so that the pudding does not absorb the extra starch. By doing it this way, the pudding liquid is much more smoother which suits serving this dish cold. I honestly recommend you try it chilled first because it is like a whole new level of goodness!
Whether you are a dessert person or not I recommend you give this little gem of a recipe a try. It is cheap, easy and tastes delicious. Not sure it gets much better than that folks!
Vietnamese Banana and Coconut Pudding - Che Chuoi
A simple and refreshing pudding that is delicious and easy to make!
- 200 g frozen cassava (available at Asian groceries)
- Tap water for soaking
- 30 g small tapioca pearls (available at Asian groceries)(Note 1)
- 30 g tapioca zig zags / bot khoai (Optional and available at Asian groceries)(Note 2)
- 4 just ripe Cavendish or your choice of bananas, cut into quarters at an angle (Note 3)
- 400 ml quality thick coconut cream
- 600 ml water
- 4 pandan leaves, tied together in a reef knot (available at Asian groceries)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp of crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
- 1 tbsp of black sesame seeds (optional)
Defrost the cassava and remove any traces of the vein (brown stem). Cut into 1 cm cubes.
In two separate bowls, soak the tapioca pearls and zig zags in cold tap water for 15 mins.
Place two of the banana quarters into a bowl. Using a fork, finely mash the banana.
In a third bowl, soak the remaining banana in plenty of cold water.
Bring a pot of roughly 4 cups of water to the boil. Add the tapioca zig zags in and immediately stir the pot so that they don't stick to each other. Cook for 12 mins and stir every 3 minutes.
While the tapioca zig zags are cooking, in a large pot add the coconut cream, 600 ml of water, pandan leaves, cubed cassava, salt and the banana mash. Turn the heat on medium high and allow to boil.
After 12 mins strain the tapioca pearls that are soaking and add it to the zig zags. Cook for 1 min and continue to stir the pot. Once done, strain the tapioca ingredients and add it straight into the coconut water mixture. (Note 4)
When the coconut water is boiling, turn the heat down to low and add the sugar. Stir the pot until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the chopped bananas and simmer on low for 16 mins. Gently stir the pot every few mins and try to loosen any tapioca balls or zig zags that are stuck on the bottom.
After 16 mins, check the sweetness of the liquid. Adjust according to your taste.
Take off the heat and allow to cool.
I strongly recommend you serve this dessert chilled but it is OK warm. To chill, put it in the fridge for at least 3+ hours before serving. If you prefer it warm, then allow it to cool for roughly 45 mins in the fridge before serving.
Just before serving, stir to redistribute the tapioca pearls and zig zags. Garnish with peanuts and black sesame seeds.
- You can always add more tapioca pearls if you enjoy them. Remember that the more you add, the thicker the pudding gets,
- The tapioca zig zags can be hard to find so at your Asian groceries, show them the term "bot khoai". This will likely increase your chances of finding them. Also, you can omit this ingredient if its all too hard!
- If you are using the Asian bananas or lady fingers, then I suggest you use 5. This is because they are much smaller than the Cavendish variety. Use one whole banana to mash and cut the rest into thirds.
- There will be tapioca pearls sticking to the strainer. Use a spoon to scrape them off. It is inevitable that you will lose some!