I fell in love with this dessert on my latest visit to Vietnam. The ones I tried from the States are overly sweet, the ones in Vietnam are not as heavy and more refreshing. I love eating the “hot luu” which are suppose to be mock pomegranate seed made from tapioca and jicama. It’s like eating the tapioca balls in bubble tea but with something in the center. I made this che on a hot sunny day during my last trip home and it was a hit! My mom really appreciate me making a batch for everybody because she thought it was such as hassle, but it really isn’t that bad to make.
You simply prepare are the components of the che; I used suong sa, hot luu, mung beans, coconut milk, sugar water, and crushed ice. Once that is all done you can just put together a cup to your liking. To cut back one some of the work I used canned suong sa which tasted just as good, but you can always make your own. I couldn’t find any fresh jicama so I used canned water chestnut. Semi-homemade didn’t cut back on taste here!
simple syrup (2 part sugar to 1 part water)
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup of already peeled and split mung bean
1 bag of tapioca start
1 can 14 oz can of water chestnut
2 can of suong sa ( I bought two different version, one in a lime green color and one that dark greenish black)
red food coloring
1. Wash mung beans. Soak in hot water until soft.
2.Prepare simple syrup and then chill in fridge.
3. Cut dark suong sa into cubes, and lime green suong sa into long strips.
3. Soak the mung beans in water.
3. Dice up the water chestnuts. Mix with red food coloring to make the faux pomegranate.
4. Place tapioca starch into a large mixing bowl. Separate the faux pomegranate into 3-4 batch. Add first batch of water chestnut to the tapioca starch and mix. Use a strainer so it’s easier to separate. Keep adding tapioca starch to the water chestnut until it is evenly coated. Shake off the excess.
5. Boil some water in a pot. Prepare a cold bowl of water with some ice cubes.
6. Once the water boil add the first batch of tapioca/water chestnut mixture to the pot. The tapioca mixture will coagulate use chopstick to help separate the huge clumps.
7. Once the red “pomegranate seed” float to the top, dump the whole pot into a colander and rinse with cold water. Place fresh “pomegranate seed” aside in the the bowl of ice water to cool. You can remove pomegranate seed from ice bath once it has cooled.
8. Repeat with remaining batch of water chestnut. You don’t have to change tapioca starch between batch. Add more starch if needed.
9. Strain the water from the mung beans. Boil mung beans1/2 cup of water on low heat. Boil until all the water have been absorbed and mung bean are soft. Remove from heat and mash into a paste (I used a potato masher).
Now it’s time to build your che! I put a layer of pomegranate seed at the bottom, grass jelly, mung beans, more pomegranate, simple syrup, coconut milk, and then ice. The great thing about this dessert is you can control the sweetness by adding more or less syrup. Enjoy!