This beautiful dessert, often called Rainbow Dessert, with its vibrant colors reminds me of summertime. There’s nothing more enjoyable on a hot summer day than eating this chilly, sweet treat. Sadly, this week is the end of summer and so I am celebrating the remaining days by making my favorite summer indulgence. Three Color Dessert is quite popular and available in most Vietnamese restaurants and banh mi/sandwich shops but I always find them overly sweet such that I can never finish the entire portion. The great thing about making this dessert at home is you get to control the sugar. Yes, this dessert is plenty sweet as you can see from the below recipe. I would say my recipe is medium on the sweetness scale for desserts but please feel free to adjust to your tastes. If you are watching your sugar levels, consider cutting back on the sugar or using a sugar substitute.
Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks
This recipes makes about 4 cups of grated jelly and so you’ll have some left over. You can cut the jelly recipe in half or you can double the amount of red beans and mung bean to match the jelly. I personally don’t mind having some jelly leftover. I simply enjoy it as is.
I use a dish measuring 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches so the jelly can be between 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. This thickness is needed to grate the jelly using a mandoline. If you don’t have a rectangular or square dish consider using a bowl or a plastic storage container keeping in mind the height needed for grating. If all you have is a large dish, you can cut the jelly into slivers with a sharp knife. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 🙂
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Jackfruit Smoothie (Sinh To Mit) and Agar Agar and Mock Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hot Luu).
for the Red Layer
1-15.5 oz can red beans
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
for the Yellow Layer
3 Tbsp sugar
1 cup mashed mung bean
for the Topping
4 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup coconut sauce
Making the Green Layer
In a medium saucepan, add water and sprinkle in the agar agar powder. Whisk together blending the powder and water. (The powder won’t dissolve completely until it’s heated.) Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes. Heat the mixture over Medium heat stirring constantly. As soon as it starts to bubble, add the sugar and turn off the heat. Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes. Skim off the foam using a sieve or spoon and discard. Add the Pandan paste and combine well. Pour the jelly mixture into a dish or bowl. Use a spoon to skim off the bubbles from the top of the jelly. Allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour. Then refrigerate for 4 hours until firm.
After the jelly is set, run a knife around the edge. Cut the jelly into thin bars, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Grate the jelly using a mandoline. (Use the blade with the fewest teeth to achieve the thickest shreds.)
Making the Red Layer
Pour the red beans into a colander and rinse several times with cool water washing away the canning liquid and salt. Drain and place into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the water until it boils. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the syrup to the red beans. Let the beans soak in the syrup until the dessert is ready to be served.
Making the Yellow Layer
In a small bowl, add the mashed mung bean and sugar. Combine until the mung bean is smooth and creamy. Set aside for now.
To serve the dessert, add 1/2 cup crushed ice into a clear glass or dish. Add 2-3 spoonfuls red bean, 1-2 spoons mashed mung bean, 2-3 Tbsp green jelly, and another 1/2 cup crushed ice. Top the dessert with a heaping spoon of coconut sauce. Enjoy right away!
Yields: 4 servings
Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen