Saturday, 31 October 2015

Globecooking recipe : Che Bap (Vietnam)

All the way back in June 2014, I received a Vietnamese-themed Kitchen Trotter box and one of the recipes was for a dessert made using tapioca pearls and sweetcorn. Looking around online, I've discovered that it's an authentic Vietnamese pudding whose name is Che Bap. It just really didn't appeal to me so it never got made. However, after having a big clearout of my spice rack, I came across the bag of tapioca pearls and decided to bite the bullet. 

This is what the tapioca pearls, or Bot Bang, look like. It's very similar to sago, which I remember being referred to in my childhood. (Sago is derived from palm trees whereas tapioca pearls come from cassava starch.)

As I was having a #KitchenClearout, I decided to use up another product that has been lurking in my cupboard - coconut sugar. The only thing that has put me off using it is the fact that it is flavoured with turmeric and tamarind, which I thought would give a weird taste to cakes or cookies. As I was pretty sure we wouldn't like this pudding, I didn' t mind experimenting here though !

Well, it still wasn't really to my taste but it was edible and nowhere near as bad as I expected ! The kids turned up their noses but Madhouse Daddy thought it was nice. The murky brown colour came from the flavoured coconut sugar so I'll be tempted to try this again with plain sugar as it looks better white. I've also seen lots of versions topped with fruit (banana, coconut, strawberries, jackfruit, mango ...) which I think would help it out, so I'll call it a work in progress.

Che Bap

ingredients :

4tbsp white tapioca pearls (you can buy black ones too)
250ml water
a tin of sweetcorn
400ml coconut milk
60g light brown sugar
25g vanilla sugar (or just add sugar and 1tsp vanilla essence/vanilla paste)
1/2tsp salt

Soak the tapioca pearls in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain off the water.

Put 250ml of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as the first bubbles appear, pour in the tapioca pearls and reduce to a gentle simmer. Stir constantly for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, the sugars and the salt. Mix until smooth.

Add the sweetcorn and cook for 20 minutes. Stir from time to time so that the tapioca pearls don't stick.

Spoon the tapioca and sweetcorn into five bowls and top up with the coconut milk mixture. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***

If you fancy trying some more Vietnamese cuisine, how about Ban Xeo (Crispy Crêpes)Bo Kho (Beef Stew)

Linking up to this month's #KitchenClearout linky. What's lurking in your larder?


  1. We have some Indian recipes in which we use Tapioca.I will have to try this recipe out.Thanks.

    1. I still have half a pack to use up so I'll google Indian recipes with tapioca and see what I come up with :)

  2. Well that certainly sounds interesting! My only memory of eating tapioca is as a child in the 70's, it was a school dinner pudding and used to be known as frog's spawn - lovely ;))

    1. Same here ! Nobody seems to mention tapioca or sago these days - probably not surprising after all those school dinner memories !


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