Che Bap (Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding)

updated Aug 28, 2023
Chè Bắp (Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding)
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Che bap, or Vietnamese sweet corn pudding, topped with toasted sesame seeds, in a small bowl with Chinese spoon
Credit: Emily Han

One of my most enduring childhood memories is watching my bà nội, or grandmother, shaving corn – the clean, confident stroke of her knife, and the tumble of sweet, juicy kernels released from the cob. If we were lucky, she’d stir the kernels into a pot of coconut milk with tapioca pearls to make chè, a delectable Vietnamese pudding.

Ingredients for the Vietnamese SweetCorn Pudding

I can think of few better treats than chè on a summer afternoon. At once refreshing and comforting, these Vietnamese puddings or sweet soups often contain ingredients like tapioca, glutinous rice, beans, and fruit.

Several variations of corn chè (called chè bắp in the South and chè ngô in the North) exist, from those with sweet rice to yellow mung beans. This one marries juicy corn with the chewy texture of tapioca pearls and creamy coconut milk. If you can find

pandan

Chè Bắp (Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding)

Serves 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3

    large ears corn, shucked

  • 4 cups

    water

  • 2

    pandan leaves, tied together and knotted (optional)

  • 1/4 cup

    small tapioca pearls

  • 2

    (14-ounce) cans coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • Pinch salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Stand each ear of corn up in a bowl and, holding it sturdy, run a sharp chef's knife down the length of the ear to shave off the kernels. Set the kernels aside.

  2. Combine the corn cobs, pandan leaves (optional), and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, place tapioca pearls in a small bowl, cover with cold water by 1/2 inch and let stand.

  4. Remove corn cobs and pandan leaves from the pot and discard.

  5. Add coconut milk, corn kernels, sugar, and a pinch of salt to the pot and stir to combine. Return to a boil and then simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust sugar and salt, if desired.

  6. Stir tapioca pearls into the pot and simmer for 2 minutes.

  7. Remove from heat to cool. Can refrigerate for up to 2 days. If it gets too thick and gloppy, thin it with water.

  8. Serve warm or cold in bowls or glasses. Garnish with sesame seeds just before serving.

(Images: Emily Ho)