Sweet Corn Pudding is a tasty Vietnamese dessert soup with sweetness, juiciness and crispness from corn. It is usually served with creamy coconut sauce and can be eaten either warm or cold. This dessert is naturally vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Besides using corn in savory dishes (such as this grilled corn, sautéed corn and chicken corn soup), Viet cooks also use it in dessert. This corn pudding is a type of chè, Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, that can be found in many regions in Vietnam. There are several variations of this pudding depending on the region, and I’m sharing recipes for two variations of Vietnamese sweet corn pudding today.
If you ask someone from the North of Vietnam, they will tell you this dessert is called “chè ngô“. Someone from the South will call it “chè bắp“. The version in the North (variation #1) often uses whole corn kernels while the traditional Southern version (variation #2) uses shaved corn kernels and adds sticky rice (gạo nếp).
Watch How to Make Chè Bắp
Let’s watch the video below to have an overall idea of how to cook this dish. It’s actually easier than it sounds.
Both versions require corn on the cobs. With the Northern variation, you can use a knife to cut off the kernels from the cobs. For the Southern version, it’s best to use a box grater to shave the kernels off the cobs.
We grew up in the North of Vietnam and when we were little kids, we rarely saw yellow sweet corn. Everyone mostly cooked with the white corn variety (bắp nếp) which was less sweet and had a bit of a chew. Nowadays, people prefer yellow sweet corn in soups because it is sweeter and the color is more beautiful.
The Northern version will require a thickener, such as kudzu root starch (traditional choice), tapioca starch, or cornstarch. On the contrary, the Southern Vietnamese corn pudding is naturally thickened with the starch released from sticky rice.
We like to sweeten this dessert with rock sugar which has a mild sweetness. You can also use regular granulated sugar.
Both versions are served with coconut sauce, so you will also need coconut milk and cornstarch to thicken it. My favorite coconut milk brand is Aroy-D.
Regardless of which version you choose to make, you will need to simmer the corn cobs with water first to extract all the sweetness from it. After that, we will add other ingredients, including the corn kernels. If you make the Southern version, which contains sticky rice, remember to stir after adding the rice to avoid scorching, especially near the end.
Please feel free to adjust the level of sweetness and consistency of the pudding. Some like it thin, while some prefer it thick. It’s really a matter of personal preferences.
How to Serve Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding
The corn pudding can be eaten warm, at room temperature or cold. Place the pudding in serving bowls and then drizzle coconut sauce on top.
With the whole corn kernels version, I prefer it warm or at room temperature. The texture when eaten cold is a little funny.
The version with shaved corn kernels and sticky rice is a better one to eat cold. It still retains its texture really well after being refrigerated.
I personally like this version more since it offers a more interesting combination of texture: crispness from sweet corn and soft-slightly chewy from sticky rice. If you try both versions, I’d love to hear which one you like more.
More Vietnamese Sweet Soup Recipes
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding
For Variation #1 (using whole corn kernels)
- 1 corn on the cob
- 2-3 pandan leaves, knotted (optional, or add vanilla extract near the end)
- 3 1/3 cups water (plus 2 tablespoons for the starch slurry)
- 2 tablespoons kudzu root starch or tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons rock sugar (to taste)
For Variation #2 (using shaved corn kernels)
- 1/4 cup sticky rice
- 1 corn on the cob
- 2-3 pandan leaves, knotted
- 4 cups water
- 2-3 tablespoons rock sugar (to taste)
For the Coconut Sauce
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rock sugar (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon water
To Make Sweet Corn Pudding Variation #1
- Cut off corn kernels from the cob and set the kernels aside.
- In a pot, add corn cobs, pandan leaves and 3⅓ cups of water and place over medium heat. Once the water starts to boil, adjust the heat to maintain a rolling simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, add corn kernels to the same pot and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Skim off any foam.
- After 15 minutes, discard the cobs and pandan leaves. Add sugar, taste and adjust to your liking.
- Dissolve kudzu root starch (or tapioca starch) in 2 tablespoons of water. Add the starch slurry gradually to the simmering sweet corn soup while stirring to thicken it to your desired consistency. Transfer the sweet soup/pudding to a container.
To Make Sweet Corn Pudding Variation #2
- Soak sticky rice in plenty of water while preparing other ingredients.
- Shave the corn kernels off the cob (it is best to use a box grater – you can watch the video to see how to do this). Set the shaved corn aside.
- In a pot, add corn cobs, pandan leaves and 4 cups of water and place over medium heat. Once the water starts to boil, adjust the heat to maintain a rolling simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, discard the cobs and pandan leaves. Add sticky rice to the pot and stir until it starts to simmer again. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until sticky rice has fully expanded.
- Add shaved corn kernels to the pot. Give everything a stir and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Watch closely and stir as needed to avoid scorching, especially near the end. The consistency is quite like oatmeal, but you can adjust it to your liking.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Taste and adjust to your liking, then transfer to a container.
To Make the Coconut Sauce
- In a small sauce pan, add coconut milk and sugar. Bring it to a simmer (do not let it boil).
- Dissolve tapioca starch or cornstach in 1 teaspoon of water. Then slowly add the starch slurry to the coconut milk while stirring to thicken it to your liking. Once the sauce starts to simmer again, transfer it to a container.
To Serve the Sweet Corn Pudding
- Vietnamese sweet corn pudding can be eaten warm, at room temperature or cold. Place your preferred pudding variations in serving bowls, and then drizzle coconut mik on top.