Banana Tapioca Pudding (Che Chuoi) is an excellent Vietnamese warm dessert for winter. The creamy sweet coconut soup, fruity scent of bananas, and slightly chewy tapioca pearls are some of the things to like about this delicious dessert.
Vietnamese Sweet Soups (Che)
One of the most common desserts in Vietnam is sweet soup (or chè in Vietnamese). It doesn’t require any complicated or fancy equipment to make as many Western desserts.
We usually simmer beans, fruits or seeds in water or coconut milk with sugar to create delicate sweet soups. Most sweet soups can be enjoyed either warm or cold though I find that some of them are particularly better when warm and vice versa.
Some chè recipes I have shared are:
- Mung bean pudding (chè hoa cau/chè đậu xanh)
- Glutinous rice balls in ginger syrup (chè trôi nước)
- Mung bean sweet soup with aloe vera gel (chè đậu xanh nha đam)
- Lotus Seed Sweet Soup with Longan (chè hạt sen nhãn nhục)
How to Make Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Pudding (Che Chuoi)
Banana Tapioca Pudding (Che Chuoi) is a simple and dairy-free sweet soup of Southern Vietnam. Its texture is thick and creamy, somewhat like Western pudding. To make it, you only need a saucepan and simple main ingredients which are:
- ripe bananas,
- coconut milk,
- small tapioca pearls,
- sugar, and
- roasted peanuts.
It’s best to use ripe bananas because we need to infuse the soup with banana scent and natural sweetness. Though ripe, the bananas should still feel firm so that they can maintain their shape in the soup. If you can find pisang awak bananas, that’s even better since those are sweeter than the regular ones with a firmer texture.
Since the dish has a lot of bananas, we only need to use a small amount of sugar. Vietnamese sweet soups are usually not so sweet and utilize the natural sweetness of ingredients.
The type of tapioca pearls used in this banana tapioca pudding is the small one. I used Bob Red Mill’s small tapioca pearls which I found at my local Western grocery store. Asian grocery stores also sell these pearls.
In Vietnam, people typically use pisang awak bananas which are firmer than regular cavendish bananas for this dessert. Pisang awak bananas can tolerate a longer cooking time while cavendish bananas don’t. I make this recipe with regular bananas since they are much easier to find outside of Vietnam. We will need to cook the tapioca pearls first before adding bananas since regular bananas just need 2-3 minutes of simmering.
More banana desserts you may want to try:
- Vietnamese Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap)
- Vietnamese Grilled Banana Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong)
- Chocolate Banana Bread with Walnuts
It’s been a month since I last posted on the blog because we were traveling back to Vietnam during the last few weeks. We left on Christmas night, and we prepared and took photos for this recipe on Christmas morning :).
I thought I would be able to post it when I was in Vietnam. However, I was busy spending time with family and eating Vietnamese food I missed as well as trying out new dishes. As a result, I delayed posting it until today. Happy New Year and I hope to share with you the dishes I learned during my trip in the upcoming weeks.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Pudding (Che Chuoi)
- 1/4 cup small tapioca pearls (about 1.75 oz)
- 5-6 bananas (about 16-20 oz)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- unsalted roasted peanuts, slightly crushed
- Soak tapioca pearls in plenty of water (about 2-3 cups) for an hour.
- Peel and slice bananas into 3/4-inch thick slices. Set aside.
- Drain tapioca pearls. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add tapioca pearls and lower the heat to medium low - medium. Cook and stir frequently to prevent scorching until tapioca pearls are almost clear, some may have a tiny white dot in the center (about 4-5 minutes).
- Add coconut milk and sugar, stir and cook until the tapioca pearls are all transparent and the mixture comes to a near boil. You can add more coconut milk if you want a thinner soup.
- Add banana slices, stir gently and let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until bananas are slightly soft and flavors come together. Taste and add more sugar to your liking.
- Divide banana tapioca pudding into serving glasses and sprinkle with roasted peanuts.