This dessert may surprise and puzzle those not familiar with Asian desserts where beans are often a major component. Most beans are rather mild in flavor and absorb the flavors of the food they are cooked in and so, sweet or savory, beans are quite the versatile ingredient. This popular Viet dessert seems to be everyone’s favorite. The combination of sticky rice and black-eyed peas are cooked until they are thick and gooey. My favorite part of this dessert is the creamy coconut milk topping. Some recipes cook the sticky rice and peas in a soup of coconut milk. I find this way too rich. I make mine as a topping and add it sparingly. Like everything else that’s heavy and fattening, moderation is the key! Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Sweet Mung Bean Pudding (Che Tao Soan, Che Dau Xanh) , Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau) and Agar Agar and Mock Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hot Luu).
3/4 cup long-grain sticky rice (also called glutinous or sweet rice)
3 3/4 cups water
15 oz can black-eyed peas
2 Tbsp + 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Drain black-eyed peas and then rinse until water is clear, approximately 3 times. Shake off excess water. Use a paring knife to shell the peas and discard any tough outer skin. (The skin can be a bit fibrous and removing it will make the beans creamier tasting.) Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil. Add black-eyed peas and blanch for 10 seconds. Scoop out peas using a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl. Add 2 Tbsp sugar to peas and toss together. Set aside for now.
Add 3 3/4 cups water into a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
Wash and rinse the rice twice. Add rice to the boiling water and stir together. Cover the pot leaving a slight opening. Turn the heat to medium and cook the rice for 20 minutes. Occasionally, stir the rice a few times to prevent it from sticking or clumping together.
In a small bowl, combine tapioca starch and water and stir until smooth.
Uncover the pot, add the peas to the rice and stir together. Add sugar and combine well. Stir tapioca starch and water mixture and then add to the pudding along with the vanilla extract. Stir together well. Simmer on low for another 5 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
In a small saucepan, add coconut milk. Pour water into the coconut milk can filling it 3/4 full. Pour the water into the saucepan. Add sugar, salt and tapioca starch. Whisk together until well blended. Cook the coconut milk mixture over medium heat, stir constantly until it starts to thicken, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Serve the rice pudding topped with coconut milk. Enjoy hot or cold.
Yields: 4 servings
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