Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert soup)

Chè cook off – Delicious Vietnam #16

Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert  soup)

Surprise! It is all about chè today. I have joined the force with my two favourite Viet girls – Phuoc from Phuoc’n Delicious and Chi Anh from Door to my kitchen – for a chè cook off. Each one of us is bringing our favourite che to the table and share the love.

Chè is perhaps the most important dessert in Vietnamese cuisine. Essentially, it is our version of sweet soup pudding/dessert. More often than not, it is cooked with beans and thickened with tapioca flour to achieve a glutinous texture. Chè is often served over ice, providing instant relief on hot days. In winter, we also serve chè hot as well.

red bean dessert
{photo – my home-cooked version of red bean dessert soup}

One of my favourite chè is also the simplest one – Chè hoa cau. The name of this dessert is utterly poetic – hoa cau means the flowers of betel nut tree. The flowers are tiny and yellow. The appearance of the cooked mung bean in sweetened tapioca texture resembles such flowers, hence the name.

Chè hoa cau involves two major elements – cooked mung beans and sweetened tapioca pudding mixture. The bean is tender and slightly salty, giving a contrast of taste to the sweet pudding. The dessert is often perfumed with pomelo blossom essential oil, something I have missed dearly.

However, lately, I have found a way to give the pudding a floral aroma. I’ve been using Bột sắn (Vietnamese arrowroot starch), which is now available in most Viet shops in Australia. It’s unrefined flour, almost. The starch is marinated with jasmine flowers, and has a very refreshing floral tone. We like to make cold summer drink with it (by just adding sugar and water), or cook up pudding.

Bột sắn (Vietnamese arrowroot starch)

Being multicultural here, my Singaporean side of the family calls this dessert Tau Suan, and happily eats it with fried Chinese donut sticks. But for me, chè hoa cau is always a Vietnamese dessert ;) .

You can check out the two posts on Chè from Phuoc and Chi Anh!! ChiAnh is also hosting Delicious Vietnam #16, please join us to celebrate Vietnamese cuisne.

Phuoc’n Delicious – Sweet corn pudding
Door to my kitchen – Cốm pudding

 Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert soup)

Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert soup)

Ingredients (to serve 8 small bowls)

200g mung beans, soaked for 3 hours
100g Vietnamese arrowroot starch (Bột sắn) or tapioca flour. If using tapioca flour, add in 2 tsp vanilla essence
5 cups water
250-300g rock sugar or raw sugar (to taste)

Drain the soaked mung beans well. Put them in a steamer with a pinch of salt. Steam over medium heat until the beans are just tender. Set aside to cool.
In a pot, bring 5 cups of water to the boil. Add in sugar and stir to dissolve.
Dissolve the Vietnamese arrowroot starch (or tapioca flour) with ½ cup of water. When the water in the pot is boiling, gently pour the arrowroot mixture in. Stir gently over medium heat until the mixture just thickens. Cool.
You can serve this dessert hot or cold. To serve, ladle the pudding into a bowl, and sprinkle cooked mung bean on top.

26 Responses to Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert soup)

  1. Kulsum@JourneyKitchen says:

    So interesting Anh. We make mung ka halwa so pretty sure mung tastes great in desserts. The consistency of this is so different. Love the picture of the flour!

  2. leaf (the indolent cook) says:

    This looks different to the mung bean soup I usually have – but looks great! :)

  3. Sarah says:

    Anh, visiting your blog is always a multiple pleasure experience! Beautiful!

  4. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A lovely dessert! I'd love to eat it cold…

  5. A Spoonful of Yumm says:

    this is a must try ! gorgeous photos :)

  6. Pam says:

    Well, now this sounds really interesting!

  7. La Table De Nana says:

    I'm like your little bird..always enjoying learning something new and seeing something pretty here…

  8. Paaka Shaale says:

    Well I love mung bean in any form. But this is the first time I have come across a sweet soup. Looks very tasty and interesting. Great shots as usual Anh :)

  9. Kalyn says:

    I haven't heard of this dessert before; would love to try it!

  10. Phuoc'n Delicious says:

    I'm very curious about this B

  11. Tanvi@SinfullySpicy says:

    Interesting how different cultures use the same ingredient to prepare food.We make a mung pudding which is quite exhaustive procedure..yours looks sooo simple & beautiful .

  12. Jennifer (Delicieux) says:

    Coming from a Scottish background, where all our puddings were sugar laden, dishes like this are so unusual to me, but so interesting as well. Gorgeous photos!

  13. Poires au Chocolat says:

    How interesting – I'd never really thought about a dessert soup. Fascinating and beautiful!

  14. chinmayie @ love food eat says:

    This recipe sounds so good! I am beginning to be really interested in Vietnamese language! everything sounds poetic :)

  15. lisa is cooking says:

    I love learning more about Vietnamese food. So interesting that the arrowroot starch is marinated with jasmine flowers. Sounds lovely!

  16. Little Corner of Mine says:

    It looks different from the taun suan I know. Anyway, I love mung bean dessert.

  17. tigerfish says:

    Yes, Tau Suan with Yau Char Kway….miss this dessert.

  18. foodwanderings says:

    I never had sweet mung beans I hear they are popular dessert throughtout Asia. I happen to have hulled mung beans at home I bought in recent months. I usually cook with only regular (green)unhulled mung beans. Great collaboration post.

  19. penny aka jeroxie says:

    This is tau suan… must add fried dough with it. So good.

  20. Juliana says:

    Anh,this mung bean dessert is perfect for Summer, so refreshing!

  21. Cakebrain says:

    You make the mung bean dessert look so refreshing!

  22. dwidlebug says:

    That is remind me that I haven't made mung bean for long time. Love bean click of yours!

  23. Viv says:

    hmmmm love love asian desserts like this…looks so refreshing and cooling! :)

  24. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I just saw Phuoc's post and I was saying how I've never seen anything like it before, but now that you've said it's your version of pudding, I can see how it would be similar to a rice pudding.

  25. Faith says:

    I've never heard of this but it looks so tasty — I'd love to try it!

  26. Oceaneve says:

    How delicious! Yum, yum! :) I would really love to go visit Vietnam again.

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