Che Dou Den

A glass of che dou den. Sweet rice and bean porridge with coconut milk and grass jelly, served over crushed ice.

Chè (Vietnamese pronunciation: [cɛ̂]) is any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding. Varieties of Chè are made with mung beansblack-eyed peaskidney beanstapioca, jelly (clear or grass), fruit (longanmangodurianlychee or jackfruit), and coconut cream. Other types are made with ingredients such as saltaloe vera, seaweed, lotus seedsesame seedsugar palm seeds, tarocassava and pandan leaf extract. Some varieties, such as chè trôi nước, may also include dumplings. Chè are often prepared with one of a number of varieties of beans, tubers, and/or glutinous rice, cooked in water and sweetened with sugar. In southern Vietnam, chè are often garnished with coconut creme.è

Chè is a type of Vietnamese sweet dish, a dessert soup or pudding. There are many many varieties, but today we’re working with beans (surprise, surprise). My impression is that dou (or dau) is Vietnamese for bean, and then the name is further modified by type of bean. I made it with black beans, which are den, but also include several other types of beans as optional ingredients.

This starts out pretty similar to the various adzuki bean dishes I’ve been exploring lately, like patjuk, with beans plus rice cooked in the bean cooking liquid. This one adds coconut milk and is usually served cold.

As is common in east asian desserts, this dish features tapioca pearls, as well as grass jelly*. According to Wikipedia

Grass jelly, or leaf jelly or herb jelly, is a jelly-like dessert eaten in East Asia (mainly in China and Southeast Asia). It is created by using the Platostoma palustre plant (a member of the mint family) and has a mild, slightly bitter taste. It is served chilled, with other toppings such as fruit, or in bubble tea or other drinks. Outside Asia, it is sold in Asian supermarkets.

At first glance a cold, sweet, bean dish doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it actually is quite tasty. It’s more like tapioca or rice pudding- sweet and creamy, which actually works with the beans.

The grass jelly is interesting, herbaceous and not very sweet. I probably wouldn’t eat much of it plain, but combined with the rest of the dish it works well.

Che Dou Den

Prep: 15 minutes, plus soaking time
Cook: ~2 hours plus cooling time

1 cup black beans
1 cup split mung beans
6 ½ cups water

⅔ cup sticky rice
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup light brown sugar
1 cup coconut milk

⅛ cup tapioca pearls

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon tapioca flour, if serving hot.

21 oz. coconut cream
5 ⅔ Tablespoons Sugar

½ cup crushed ice
Grass jelly
Almond jelly

1 ⅓ teaspoon cornstarch mixed with
4 teaspoons water, in place of tapioca flour
1 pandan leaf (omit vanilla)
1 cup adzuki beans
1 cup black eyed peas
15 oz. canned black beans(in place of black or mung beans)
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (in place of vanilla extract

Optional additions to coconut cream sauce.
2 ⅓ teaspoons vanilla sugar
pinch kosher salt
1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
1 cup water

Soak beans overnight. Drain, and cover with 6 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook until soft, 1-3 hours. Drain beans, reserving water.

Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear. Soak in cold water. When beans are cooked, drain rice. Place in pot with reserved bean cooking liquid, salt, sugar and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add tapioca pearls. Cook until tender, drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Store with a small amount of water to keep pearls from sticking together.

When rice is cooked, add beans and vanilla extract. If serving hot, thicken with tapioca flour.

Mix coconut cream and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To serve hot, ladle into a bowl, garnish with tapioca pearls and coconut coconut cream.

To serve cold, place 1-2 Tablespoons of crushed ice in a glass, top with rice bean mixture, tapioca pearls, and diced jelly. Top with coconut cream. 

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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