Vietnamese agar agar and mock pomegranate seeds dessert (Chè sương sa hạt lựu, Che suong sa hat luu) is one of the most favorite desserts in Vietnam. Vietnamese agar agar and mock pomegranate seeds dessert consists of agar agar jelly and/or grass jelly, mock pomegranate seeds, sweet mung bean paste (or mung bean sweet soup), coconut milk sauce. A portion of Che suong sa hat luu looks attractive with multi colorful jelly, mock pomegranate seeds, yellow mung bean, and white coconut milk sauce.
The agar jelly and grass jelly are tender, crisp and refreshing. Grass jelly is in black color while agar jelly is white and semi-translucent. They can use food colorings to make colorful agar agar jelly. Vietnamese prefer to use juices or extracts from fruits and vegetables as food colorings such as green pandan leaf extract, red beet root juice, brown coffee, white milk, etc. Jelly can be cut into any shape (cube, julienne). Mock pomegranate seeds are made skillfully so that they look like real pomegranate seeds. Mock pomegranate seeds are made from water chestnut (or jicama, coconut meat), water chestnut is better. They taste chewy outside and crisp inside. Color small water chestnut or jicama cubes with food colorings, coat them with tapioca starch, then boil them until the tapioca turns translucent and the colorful filling can be seen. The mock pomegranate seeds should not be cooked for too long. Otherwise, they tapioca would be not chewy as desired but too tender, the water chestnut filling would not crisp as desired but tender.
Mung bean sweet soup is cooked from peeled mung beans which are soaked for a few hours, cooked in water until tender, mashed or ground into a smooth paste, cooked with sugar. Mung bean sweet soup should be buttery, smooth, not too thick but not too runny, not too sweet but not too light. The greasy, viscous, sweet and a little salty coconut milk sauce is made by cooking coconut milk, salt, sugar and tapioca starch.
Sometimes, they also add chewy and tender cendols which are droplets of worm-like rice flour jelly to the sweet soup. To make cendols, press the dough from rice flour through a mold with holes into boiling water.
To serve, put many kinds of jellies, mock pomegranates, cendols (optional) one by one into a glass or a bowl, top them with coconut milk sauce, ice (shaved or cubed). It is really a perfect mix which wins the heart of all ages in Vietnam. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, do not miss this amazing food. It can be easily found at street food stalls on the streets or in local markets and Vietnamese restaurants.
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