Tamarind trees are abundant in Vietnam thanks to their multi-uses. The tree has a large shadow, its wood can be used woodworking, tamarind leaves and tamarind fruit’s pulp are used in cuisine, medicine, and metal polish. In the countryside of Vietnam, pupils usually climb tamarind trees to plug ripe tamarind fruits and eat. The seeds are brought to their mothers so that they use the seeds to cook a very delicious dessert which is called Vietnamese tamarind seed pudding (Chè hạt me). Tamarind and the pudding from its seeds have become beautiful childhood memories of many Vietnamese people.
Vietnamese tamarind seed pudding is a difficult recipe. To make this dessert, hard and plumpy tamarind seeds which have dark brown and shining skins. Tamarind seeds are toasted over low heat until burnt and smelling, cooled down, and peeled. They put the toasted tamarind seeds into a cloth bag, use a pestle to pound the cloth bag until the husks and white kernels are apart. Then use flat bamboo basket which have medium holes to remove the husk. Soak the white kernels in cold water for one day, wash in several changes of water, drain them. Cook tamarind white kernels with water until tender, get them out, wash and drain them. After that, wash glutinous rice and peeled mung beans with water until tender, add palm sugar, coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the kernels and stir. All are done.
Vietnamese tamarind seed pudding (Chè hạt me) which has yellow broth and brown kernels looks nice and attractive. White kernels of tamarind seeds turn brown after cooking. Not similar to most of the Vietnamese desserts, this dessert does not include regular sugar but palm sugar which goes well with tamarind’s kernel. The sticky and smelling glutinous rice, the sticky and buttery tamarind white kernels, the greasy and nutty coconut milk blend and melt in your mouth.