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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Che Dau Trang (Vietnamese Pudding with White Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk)

Since we were vaguely talking about che (Vietnamese dessert soup) (We were? Have you so quickly forgotten?), now was a good a time as any to post my recipe for Che Dau Trang (Vietnamese Dessert Pudding with White Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk). Unlike my recipe for Che Bap (Vietnamese Dessert Soup with Corn and Tapioca Pearls in Coconut Milk), there are no tapioca pearls in this che. Which was a good thing because when I made it, I had a craving for the coconut milk part of the dessert, but ran out of tapioca pearls. The white beans I used for this recipe are actually black-eyed peas, which was the way my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) made it.

Che Dau Trang 1

But before I get to the recipe, do you wanna hear a story? This is one of my sooo SoCal anecdotes that make living here so fun sometimes.

Years ago when I used to work in Orange County, I'd occasionally stop at the Banh Mi & Che CALI Bakery - Westminster (Little Saigon) to grab some sandwiches on the way home. At buy-2-get-1-free for $3, I always bought three sandwiches.

Every once in a while, if I saw a homeless guy sitting in front of the shop, I'd ask if he wanted a sandwich. To make it easier, I probably should have just offered one of my sandwiches on the way out. Because one time, one of the guys requested a #4, which was not the dac biet (special) and not eligible for the discount. Hmph! Man, I'm much too frugal to buy a sandwich that doesn't get me a discount, but I did ask, so I had to get it for him.

Anyway, another time, a different guy said another customer had already given him a sandwich but he'd love it if I bought him the che with the white beans and sticky rice. The amusing part? Both homeless men were white. :P

Che Dau Trang 2

Che Dau Trang (Vietnamese Pudding with White Beans and Sticky Rice in Coconut Milk) 

For a 2-quart pot, you'll need:
1/2 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 cup glutinous rice
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 15-oz can coconut milk

Optional: Crushed peanuts for serving.

Soak 1/2 cup dried black-eyed peas overnight. Or if you're in a hurry, you can use canned beans, just make sure they're unsalted. Rinse beans and add to pot with 2 cups of water. Turn heat to high and when it boils, turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for about half an hour for the beans to soften. Obviously, you can skip this step if using canned beans since they'd already be soft.

Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 can of coconut milk, and 1 cup uncooked glutinous rice and let simmer for another half hour to cook the rice until soft. I like my rice to be the consistency of rice porridge. Taste and add more sugar if you've got a sweeter tooth than mine.

Serve warm or cold.

Add a sprinkle of crushed peanuts on top if you wish.


My other Vietnamese dessert recipes you might like:  
Che Bap (Vietnamese Pudding with Corn and Tapioca Pearls in Coconut Milk)
Coconut Flan
Mangoes with Sticky Rice (Vietnamese-Style)

1 year ago today, would you care for a spot of tea? An Asian-inspired tea party.


  1. I like the story! And once again you make me crave something from my childhood. Ever since my Mom and Dad moved back to VN I never get this stuff anymore.

  2. Hi WC - That's a nice...and funny story. Regardless of their situation, they sound like they eat rather well.

  3. Hah! Funny story! :)
    Todd used to manage a restaurant and had some pretty finicky homeless people come in and request food. There was one homeless lady they sometimes offered food to, but she refused some of the dishes because it didn't fit with her "diet" and "lifestyle". She only liked the expensive stuff and would only eat that! So this was the "homeless lady" that had the expensive taste!
    Love the che and the yummy big picture! Thanks for giving the rec on using canned beans if someone is short on time. So many people avoid making it because they think it takes too long.

  4. Looks delicious WC! and nice story too :)

  5. YUM YUM YUM. I grew up eating desserts based on coconut milk; stuff like this! Whenever I go to Thai/Viet market, I always pick up sticky rice and coconut dessert. Sometimes it has other fruit or stuff in it, but I'm just happy with those two ingredients.

  6. This looks good, filling, and inexpensive to boot! I love your use of the black-eyed peas. Do you like this warm or cold, WC? I think I'd go for the cold.

  7. Ooh ooh my favourite childhood che.
    With time I developed a dislike for coconut milk though, so I hardly eat anything with coconut milk anymore. But your picture left me craving...

  8. It's been too long since I had some che. And I never seem to be around when my mom makes any - she usually already has some and offers me a cup. So thanks for the recipe :-)

  9. Dave,
    But there's so many restaurants around...

    I think they knew what they were doing by camping out in front of a banh mi place. :P

    Oh, that's too funny. I guess beggars CAN be choosers! :P


    I think I'm more of a tapioca pearls dessert girl. ;)

    I do both. Warm when it's fresh, cold for afterward.

    Every picture leaves you craving! ;)

    Haha! Seems like you're always just missing it when your mom makes something you like.

  10. This is one of my favorite che desserts. I love black-eye peas in both savory and sweet dishes. I also make it with canned beans sometimes - it's quite good. I'm big on beans so I usually double the bean quantity -- gotta get my fiber, you know.

    I don't blame that guy for requesting this che - just 'cause you don't have a roof over your head, that doesn't mean you can't have discriminating taste :)

  11. I think we both know buying restaurant food and having Mom's old school (FREE) food is a pretty different experience.

  12. That sounds good. I really like the coconut and rice combo and the beans sound like contrast in texture.

  13. that's a nice story! Looks like a versatile dessert.

  14. Mmmmmm looks good. It's 1am and I'm getting hungry again!

  15. Oh my, I am loving this recipe!!!!

  16. Christine,
    Yeah, I'm not so big on the beans. Also, they swell so much after soaking.

    Haha. Yeah, but at least in SoCal you can get VNese food. Some of my readers live in the boondocks and can't get it at all, much less mom's cooking.

    Yup, it all comes together pretty nicely.


    No Recipes,
    Nothing wrong with a late night snack!

    This recipe must be old hat to you.

  17. mmmmm....i forgot i like this che! i have only seen it w/ black eyed peas too. the recipe looks pretty easy...i love how che is so easy but so yummy!

  18. Mmm, any kind of che is so tasty.

    Ryc...he sold body+lens for 70% of the new price, so like 750ish. Everything happened so quickly that day that I didn't think to ask friends/acquaintances if they wanted to buy it! If you're looking to buy an SLR drop me an email and we can recommend some sites to browse for deals! (Hint: never buy in-store, you have to pay tax!)

  19. Van,
    Ha! The coconut-milk is fattening. I don't think this is diet-approved! ;)

    I would have been interested in your SLR b/c it was pratically new. Don't really have money to drop on a fancy camera anyway.

  20. Can you use regular rice for this recipe? I'm a college town with not the greatest selection of exotic foods and all I have it the big bag of Jasmine rice I brought from home. I would love to make this che! It's my favorite (this and the mung bean che). If not, do you know where I can get some glutinous rice?

  21. Huy,
    Yes, you can use regular rice. The texture will be a bit different. As for where to get sticky rice, ummm, only you can answer that. I have no idea where you live or what's available in your area.

  22. I just had something very similar to this -- I believe it was Chè đậu đen. It was sold in a bakery in little cups with the black beans and sticky rice on the bottom, a few spoons of coconut milk on top.

    I keep trying to find a similar recipe for it, since it was a long drive away. Would you recommend one or could I just switch out the black-eyed peas for black beans in other Chè đậu trắng recipes?. Thanks!

  23. Heater,
    Sure. If the rest of the che you ate looked like this, I don't see why you can't replace the black-eyed peas with black beans. Experiment and see if it works.

  24. Thank you so much for posting this I've been looking for this recipe, my boyfriends mother makes this sometimes and it's soooo comforting :)

  25. Nathan,
    Let me know how it goes! You've just reminded me that I haven't made this in a while either.

  26. Thanks for posting the recipe ... it's refreshing to cook it instead of going to Banh Mi/CHe Cali or other establishments ... You make easy for some1 who have never cooked :) I'll let you know how it turns out. ...

  27. Minh,
    Banh Mi & Che Cali is so cheap though that I get lazy. It would take me so much more work to make this when I can get 3 for $3. :P

  28. My family has always purchased this che and no one has ever thought to make it...until now! Is glutinous rice and sticky rice sold as "Sweet rice" in the Asian grocery stores? Also, have you ever made this in the slow cooker (crock pot) or rice cooker? I think I'm going to try it in the slow cooker and see if it doesn't burn.

  29. Squirrel,
    Yes, glutinous, sticky, and sweet rice should all be the same. But you could even make this with regular rice with perfectly fine results. I've never tried making this with the Crock Pot, but what a great idea!

  30. Yay! I love this Che it's my favorite. I am so excited that I found this your recipe. It saves me the trip of driving to Garden Grove!

  31. thanks for posting this wonderful recipe. the pic looks really enticing! :P_ . I'll try this recipe tonight :) (can't wait!)

  32. Jessica,
    If I still lived in OC, I'd be lazy and just go to Hien Khanh. :P

    Big Cricket,
    I hope you liked it!

  33. This is one of my favorite desserts! Unfortunately most of the vietnamese people who work in the sandwich shops don't speak english well and it's difficult to find out what is in some of these exotic looking desserts. For the first time I bought a dessert that has the name on it and I looked it up and found your blog. Now I can try my hand at making this at home!

  34. Pengiun,
    This is probably one of the simplest ches. No exotic fruit to try and figure out. Kinda hard to mess up boiling rice. :P

  35. Thanks for posting this recipe! I had this at a local Vietnamese place here in Albany and fell in love. Now I'm happy to make it home anytime :)

    I'm trying the dish with sushi rice. T-15 until done. Can't wait!

  36. Sarah,
    Sushi rice. It's a pretty versatile recipe with all types of rice. I've even used regular jasmine rice in a pinch.


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