By: Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham, Staff Writer & Copy Editor
Growing up, I’ve eaten many Vietnamese dishes thanks to my parents’ cooking. However, I’ve always enjoyed eating desserts more than actual meals, and I want to share with you a recipe my mother gave me. It’s a dessert I can’t say no to, even when I’m full. In Vietnamese, it’s called chè chuối, which translates to “banana dessert.” It seems fairly simple, and allows room for adjustments in case you prefer having more bananas, tapioca pearls, sugar, etc. You should be able to find all these ingredients in an Asian market nearby. I’ve found a few different recipes for this popular dessert, but I prefer my mom’s version. A nice thing about chè chuối is that it can be served chilled, warm or hot. This recipe should be enough for 10 or more people, but you can have it all for yourself.
-10 small, sweet bananas (these shouldn’t get mushy at all like regular bananas)
-3 cans of coconut milk (8 ounces each)
-3 frozen cassavas (yuca or khoai mi) (we buy a 48-ounce bag)
-1 cup of tapioca pearls (you can always buy a 16-ounce bag or larger in case you really like more tapioca in your dessert)
-1/4 cup of tapioca flakes/shreds* (in Vietnamese, it’s called bột khoai)
-1 cup of sugar
In a large pot of water, boil unpeeled whole bananas for 5 minutes. Remove bananas from pot and let cool. While the bananas cool, cut up a few cassavas into small pieces. Peel bananas and slice them into 3-4 pieces per banana. Boil 8 cups of water. Add tapioca pearls and tapioca flakes*. Let the tapioca cook for 10-15 minutes. The tapioca pearls might be ready before the tapioca shreds, so make sure you keep stirring so they don’t burn. The tapioca should appear translucent. Pour in 1 cup of sugar to the pot. Stir. Add banana and cassava pieces. Add coconut milk. Stir everything evenly.
Let everything boil for 10-15 minutes.
* Optional but fun ingredient my mother puts in the mix!
Picture credit: http://vnthuquan.net/amthuc/