It’s been cold here in foggy San Francisco so my mom decides to make my dad and I chè khoai môn, a warm pudding with taro, sweet rice and coconut milk. “Chè” is a generic Vietnamese term that refers to any dessert soup or sweet beverage, served hot or cold. There are hundreds of varieties of chè and the names of these desserts are differentiated by the ingredients used. For example, Chè ba màu literally means “three colors chè” and is composed of mung beans, black-eyed peas and azuki beans. Similarly, Chè bột lọc is made with cassava and small rice dumplings. These desserts are great for both kids and adults alike, though cold chè served with fruit such as longan, mango, jackfruit and durian are typically geared towards the younglings whereas warm chè served with aloe vera, seaweed, taro and cassava are preferred by the elders.
To make Chè khoai môn, begin cooking sweet rice with added water in a pot. Peel the skin off the taro root and roughly chop it. Add the taro and coconut milk and let the pot cook for about 20 mins, until the rice become glutinous. Add water and more coconut milk as needed. Right before the taro becomes tender, add sugar according to preference. Stir occasionally and serve once the pudding begins turning slightly purple. Pandan leaf extract are often used to give these wonderful desserts a bright green appearance so add if you so desire!
Note: You can also make chè đậu trắng by simply replacing the taro with a can of cooked black-eyed peas (and you got it, “đậu trắng” refers to black-eyes peas).