Introduction: Che (Vietnamese Sweet Dessert Soup)
Che is Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, usually served in a glass over ice and eaten with a spoon. It's gloppy and gelatinous and perfect for the summer. I've become addicted to che, but lately I've worried about what I'll do when I leave Vietnam and no longer have easy access to the stuff. So today I decided to build my own in order to get a better feel for the process of building the dessert. My hope is that when I'm back in the States, I can use this instructable as a point of reference when concocting my own Westernized interpretation of che.
Step 1: Ingredients
Here's what went into the variety of che that I made:
Coconut flakes & shredded coconut
Black beans & red kidney beans
Ginger-filled tapioca balls
Sweet rice congee & coconut milk
Skinless mung beans
This was a particularly tasty che, but don't feel obligated to follow this recipe exactly. It's in the spirit of che-making to add your own twist to the dessert. Rarely are two che concoctions exactly alike. Additionally, putting in a lot of ingredients is encouraged. I've even had pork dumplings in my che. Here are some ideas for alternative ingredients to use that are similar to ingredients used in Vietnam but are more readily available in the US:
Fresh fruits and berries
Fresh fruit syrups
Unsalted nuts (chopped)
I once counted twenty different ingredients in my che. See if you can beat that. Just be sure to include coconut milk and crushed ice as a base.
Step 2: Build
Acquiring all the ingredients is the real work. Building your che is easy. Fill a glass with crushed ice and begin adding each of your ingredients. I recommend using a glass so that you can see the beautiful layers you create.
Step 3: Stir & Enjoy
Take a spoon and stir your ingredients together. A folding action with the spoon seems to produce the best results. After you've stirred everything together sufficiently, take a spoonful and enjoy. No two bites will be the same!