Before summer fades to fall and fields of corn are plowed under for the winter, we wanted to share our recipe for che bap, a Vietnamese corn pudding. Che bap is an easy treat and great use of fresh corn when it’s in abundance. Our friend Anh, also recently made this delicious dessert, also called che ngo. Thinly shaved ripe kernals of corn, swimming in sweet and gelatinous soup of glutinous rice or tapioca pearls form the basis of this classic Vietnamese treat. We actually prefer using tapioca pearls instead of glutinous rice because it’s quicker and lighter. Served warm with a dallop of thickened coconut milk and toasted sesame, che bap reminds us how sweet summer can be.
You can use any type of ripe corn, but we also like to add Vietnamese bap dai, translated literally to mean chewy corn that you find your Asian frozen foods section. As you can see, these are almost half the size of a regular ear of corn and the texture is slightly more toothsome and chewy to contrast with the crunchy ripe kernals of regular corn.
For the proper texture for this che, don’t just use a knife to shave the corn kernels. Use a large size vegetable peeler like the orange one seen here (found in Asian markets for about $2) and shave the kernels thinly like so.
You can really get it down almost to the core.
Many people enjoy this dessert warm but it is also be delicious cold or at room temperature. Savor the last flavors for summer with some che bap.
Che Bap Vietnamese Corn Pudding
6 ears of ripe corn (shaved thinly like above)
1/4 cup small tapioca pearls or glutinous rice (soaked for 1/2 hr in warm water, drained)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup toasted sesame
1 can cocunut cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 ts salt
1 ts cornstarch
In medium size pot, add corn and just enough water to cover the corn by about 1-2 cm. Add sugar and turn heat to medium high and bring to slow boil. Add the tapioca pearls/glutinous rice and turn down heat so it becomes a slow rolling boil. The tapioca pearls/glutinous rice will eventually become soft and transculent, thickening the mixture. If it's not thickened to your taste, add more tapioca pearls/glutinous rice. If it becomes too thickened for your taste, simply dilute with more water. Adjust sweetness with more sugar if desired and remove from heat.
In small sauce pan, add coconut cream, sugar, salt and corn starch and on medium low heat, stir to thicken.
We’ll be on vacation to Seattle and Vancouver for the next week, so have a happy and safe labor day weekend!