Today, my local Asian market carried Vietnamese sweet bananas called chuối xiêm. Chuối xiêm are small, thin-peel bananas that are sweet and very flavorful when they are ripe. I made some coconut and sweet tapioca pudding with the bananas, called chè chuối xiêm in Vietnamese.
Vietnamese desserts are not always the prettiest-looking sweets, but they are very good. They are composed of ingredients different from Western desserts and might look unusual at first. A lot of traditional Vietnamese desserts are made from sticky rice or other starches like cassava.
1. Info for Coconut and Sweet Tapioca Pudding with Bananas (Che Chuoi in Vietnamese)
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Servings: 10
- Calories: 360kcal
2. Ingredients for Coconut and Sweet Tapioca Pudding with Bananas (Che Chuoi in Vietnamese)
- 8 Vietnamese sweet bananas (chuối xiêm), peeled
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (see tips)
- 1 quart water
- 1 quart coconut milk
- 2-1/2 tablespoons coconut cream
- 4 pandan leaves, knotted
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup dried tapioca shreds
- Soak the tapioca pearls in water overnight or for at least an hour. The next day, drain the tapioca pearls. Set aside. Do the same for the tapioca shreds. Soak them in water for at least one hour, then drain.
- Place the bananas in a bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Set aside. Bring the water to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the tapioca pearls are fluffed-up and translucent. Stir frequently. Drain the cooked tapioca pearls. The pearls should feel gummy but not too firm between your thumb and finger. Do not overcook, as the pearls will finish cooking in the coconut sauce. Set aside. Same cooking method for the tapioca shreds: Bring the water to a boil in a different saucepan. Add the tapioca shreds. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the tapioca shreds are transparent. Stir frequently to prevent the pieces from sticking to the bottom. Drain the cooked tapioca shreds. Do not overcook, as the tapioca shreds will finish cooking in the coconut sauce. Set aside. In another saucepan, caramelize the sugar and when it becomes slightly golden, add water and bring to a boil until all the caramel sugar is dissolved. Add the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Add the pandan leaves, coconut cream and sea salt. Mix well, then add the bananas. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the bananas are nicely coated with the coconut sauce. Add the tapioca pearls and tapioca shreds and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Gently stir. Be very careful not to break the bananas. Cover the saucepan. Let the dessert sit for at about 20-30 minutes. Remove and discard the pandan leaves.
- Divide among 10 bowls. You can garnish with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or slightly crushed peanuts. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serve with a nice cup of hot tea. Enjoy!