Che Thai – Fruits in Coconut Milk

Vietnamese food

I’m not a sweets person so I pass on desserts about 99% of the time. My parents, on the other hand, are major sweets junkie. they especially love to eat che! I never really got into making Vietnamese dessert but I really do want to change that. But if you ask anybody in my family they will vouch that I can whip up a good cup of Che Thai.

Che Thai is a Vietnamese adaptation of a Thai dessert. I much prefer the Vietnamese version because the Thai version is too sweet for me. It’s basically fresh fruits in a coconut/milk mixture. Back in Vietnam you can pretty much smell this dessert a mile away because it often contain durian (sau rieng), a very pungent fruit. In fact if you are not eating true Che Thai if it does not contain sau rieng according to my mom. I grew accustomed to the the Americanize version you often find a Vietnamese bakeries where it is more milk base. Half and half milk is often used because it’s a lot more “beo”, beo is the Vietnamese term to describe food that are rich and fatty.

We don’t have the pleasure of using fresh fruits but canned fruits will do. I usually stick with jack fruits, logans, lychees, coconut gels, and palm seeds. You can add a variety of other things such as tapioca pearls, agar strands, thach (Vietnamese jello), and etc. I like playing around with Knox gelatin because if you make it just right it does have this chewy texture that I just love. I had a a lot of variations of Che Thai, and I try to incorporate different elements I like. I’m always careful not to make it too sweet. It must be the right about of sweetness, to the point where you can down couple cup without feeling overwhelm. You can definitely make this dessert ahead of time because it always taste better the next day. This is such a versatile dessert so please play around with this recipe!

I found these “green worm” dessert at our local Vietnamese market, and it would look so pretty in the Che Thai. I also picked up some food coloring so I can play around with the colors, too bad the pictures did not turn out too well due to my awful lighting. Don’t worry it still taste great! Just add some crushed ice and you have yourself a refreshing treat.


1/2 gallon + 4 cups of 2% milk
1/2 gallon of half and half milk
1/2 can of coconut milk
2 can of jackfruits
1 can of logans
1 can of lychees
1 jar of coconut gel
1 jar of palm seeds
1 box of Knox gelatin
food coloring (optional)

Milk Gelatin:

1. Boil 3 cups of milk with 3 tablespoon of sugar.
2. Sprinkle for package of gelatin on top of 1 cup of cold milk.
3. Combine boild milk and cold milk and stir until everthing dissolved.
4. Add a couple drops of red food coloring.
5. Pour in a container and freeze for about 20-30 minutes.

Che Thai:

1. Drain and sliced all the fruits into smaller pieces (except for coconut gel and palm seeds).
2. Combine 1/2 gallon of 2% milk, 1/2 gallon of half and half milk, 1/2 can of coconut milk, 1 cup of sugar, and couple drop of green food coloring. Stir everything together.
3. Pour int he whole can of palm seeds even the syrup, the same goes for the coconut gel.
4. Add the sliced fruits.
5. Take the gelatin out of the freezer and cut into 1cm cub. Add to the milk.
6. Give it one last tasting, add more sugar if you like it sweeter.

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