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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Che Chuoi ~ Vietnamese Banana, Coconut and Sago Pudding (Gluten-Free and Vegan Cooking)

Theme: Paleo / Vegan / Gluten-Free Recipes

I would probably never forget this sago pudding in my life, not because it was unforgettably delicious but it put me in bed for two weeks. The canned coconut stuff I used in the pudding was the culprit, at least according to my husband. 😕 I tried the dessert a few months ago because the combination of ingredients used in the preparation was unusual to me though I strictly didn't adhere to the recipe. I usually finish a cup of pudding in one sitting but that day I had only a couple of spoons but it still got me. My husband, my daughter and I all ate the same food for lunch that day except that I had this sago pudding. Coincidence or not, within ten minutes, I started noticing rashes all over my body coupled with itchiness. The rashes were like 2 by 2 inch patches everywhere and by night, my face was swollen beyond recognition. Fortunately, I did not have any breathing problems or I would have ended up in emergency room on that weekend. It took two days to see my normal face. A doctor's visit later confirmed that I had hives and it took me two weeks, on medication, to get completely cured and it wasn't a pleasant experience, I can assure.

Che chuoi is a Vietnamese sago and banana based pudding cooked in coconut cream, flavored with pandan leaves. The word 'che' refers to liquid desserts like drinks, pudding and even soups in Vietnam. Vietnamese folks prefer a variety of banana called 'chuoi su' to prepare this gluten-free, vegan pudding but perfectly ripe, (but not mushy) sweet variety bananas should work fine in lieu of those. Sweet bananas, coconut cream and sago cooked to a creamy consistency and topped with crunchy peanuts and sesame seeds is an interesting variation to the Indian version of sago kheer. 

I have used the tiny sized sago here which gets cooked in about 10 minutes. If using larger variety, soak them in water for about ten minutes and then cook the same way but it would take a few minutes extra to cook. My pudding is loosely based on this recipe and I left out the pandan leaves since I did not have them and cooked the sago my usual way, as mentioned in the recipe below. Pandan must lend a very inviting flavor here. If using pandan leaves and need to follow the traditional recipe, simmer two knotted pandan leaves in about 2 cups water for about 15 minutes to bring out the flavor. Next add the marinated banana - sugar pieces, sago, another two pandan leaves, and coconut cream and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes until done.

Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
1/4 cup small sized sago / tapioca pearls
2 ripened but not mushy bananas (Any sweet variety)
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
3/4 cup coconut cream
1 cup coconut milk / water
For topping:
2 tbsp. roasted and skinned peanuts, slightly crushed
2 tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds, slightly crushed

* Thinly slice the bananas and toss with sugar so that banana slices are coated well with sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. One can do this step ahead to avoid the waiting time to marinate. I read that they can be left marinated for up to two days though I haven't tried it.
* Rinse sago well and wash away the starch powder. 
* Choose preferably a non stick pot or a non stick sauce pan to cook the sago. Add drained sago and a cup of water and cook on low flame, stirring occasionally. Cook until all the sago become transparent. It doesn't take much time to cook if using the smallest size sago.
(Starch keeps building up while cooking the sago and tends to stick to the bottom of the pan if not stirred intermittently. If one finds cooking sago tricky because of the starch buildup, follow this step. When the water used to cook sago becomes starchy, add another cup of cold water. Sago go to the bottom of the pan and then throw away all the (starchy) water from the pan taking care to not drain the sago. Add a fresh cup of water to the sago and continue to cook. This step can be repeated one more time while cooking sago.)
* Throw away all the water in the pan when the sago pearls become transparent. Add banana - sugar mixture, coconut cream and coconut milk / water (as needed to thin the pudding to the desired consistency) to the sago and continue to cook on low flame until the preferred soft consistency of bananas is reached. Turn off the stove.
* Scoop the cooked pudding into serving bowls, each topped with some crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Serve the pudding warm or at room temperature.




Pavani N said...

Ohh Suma, that sounds bad - rash after eating coconut cream. I guess we never know what might cause an allergy until it actually happens.
This is a creamy and delicious sago pudding with coconut.

CookWithRenu said...

So much similar to our kheer, yet different with banana and coconut milk. Looks nice and creamy.

vaishali sabnani said...

The pudding looks fantastic , but getting all those rashes - it’s miserable . Its hard to say what caused , but be careful with canned products in future .

Harini R said...

Oh dear! the allergy sounds very scary. I am glad you have recovered from it. But this dessert sounds yummy barring the allergy part which you had to go through.

Gayathri Kumar said...

That sounds so painful Suma. Glad that you are feeling better now. The pudding looks awesome though.

Swati said...

Glad to know you are feeling better. Loved the recipe and and the pudding looks delicious.