how to make che thai (viet fruit cocktail dessert)

The sun has been showing his face more often on this side of town.  I like I like !!  It's quite nice seeing him peaking up above the trees every morning.  We've been getting 20+ degree celcius this whole week so far.  For some, this may not be warm for you, but it's considered warm to even hot for us Vancouverites :-)  When the weather gets this hot, all I can think about is ice cold drinks and desserts !  As one who has a sweet tooth, Che Thai and Vietnamese Che Ba Mau (tri-color or three color) dessert always top my list of good summer sweet treats !  The Vietnamese dessert requires more cooking time to make but the Che Thai one is super easy.  Whenever I make this for a party or gathering, within 15 min., the bowl went from full to empty.  It's always a hit. 

What it tastes like ?  tropical & fruity !  with lots of texture and flavors.  Crunchy, chewy, and soft. 

Wonder why it's called Che Thai ?  Che Thai means "Thai (as in Thailand)" sweet dessert".  It's a Vietnamese altered version of the Thai's dessert called Tub Tim Grob (rubies in coconut milk).  I much preferred the Vietnamese version :-) because with each spoon, there's a mixture of different kind of fruits and chewy tidbits to feast upon !  OK, enough writing, here's the recipe !


Che Thai Dessert
 Very little or no cooking is required (it all depends on what you want to put in it)
Here are some of the brands I used to make Che Thai

NO COOK VERSION:

Ingredients:
- 1/4 jar of sport strings coconut meat
- 1 tub of nat de coco jelly in syrup (I don't usually keep the syrup)
- 1 can of jackfruit, drained, julienne (slice length wise)
- 1 can of longan, drained
- 1 can of toddy palm seed, drained, cut into small thin rings
- 1 can of lychee, drained
- 1 litre carton of half and half (half light cream and half milk) OR homo milk (I much prefer homo milk)
- Sugar for taste.  (I prefer organic cane sugar as the sweetness is mild and it blends in well with all flavours.)

* feel free to omit or add more of the same fruit as you like
* add more or less milk as per your preference

In a large glass punch bowl, combine all the fruits together.  Refrigerate until cold.  When ready to serve, add the homo milk OR half and half to the mixture.  Stir and serve.

OPTIONAL:  You can also add in coconut milk if you want a more rich flavour.  For a low fat version, substitute the half & half /homo milk with 2% milk.

(see Cook Version below)

Quickly made this with what I have in my cupboard, no longan or lychee or toddy palm seed !  but still tasty good !

COOK VERSION:

Ingredients:
IN ADDITION to the ingredients listed under NO COOK VERSION, you will need:
- 1 can of whole chestnut, drained
- 1 package of Six Fortune dried agar agar strips (use only 1/3of the amount) IF use other brand or the powdered type, follow instructions on the package.
- Organic cane sugar
- Tapioca flour
- Edible food coloring (red or any color you like)
- Green Pandan leaves extract (you can buy it from most Vietnamese grocery, T&T doesn't have it)

*You can also use black grass jelly.  IF using that, you can cut into cubes or strings and put into a bowl as side topping, don't mix the bowl !  It will make everything go black if you stir it in with all the fixings :-) 

Green Pandan Agar Agar Jellies: 

- Removes strips out of bag and divide into 3 parts
- Take 1 part of the strips and wash under water 
- In a pot, put in 2 cups of water, add the washed strips and bring to boil. 
- When the strips are all melted and water is clear, add 3 drops of green pandan leaves extract, 2 tablespoon of organic sugar.  Stir until sugar dissolved. 
- Pour mixture into a bowl and let it sit in room temperature for 15 min. to cool down.  Then put the bowl into refrigerator to chill and set (about 30 min.). 
- When ready to serve, take agar out, dice or julienne the set agar jelly to your liking. 

Red Chestnut Rubies: 

Before preparing the chestnuts
> Prepare a bowl with 4 cups of cold water and ice cubes, set aside
> Boil a pot of about 3 inches of water

- Dice whole chestnuts into small pieces, about half the size of a pomegranate. 
(I usually slice one chestnut into 5 slices, then slice the smallest 2 slices into 3 pieces, the next size up into 4 then the middle slice into 5 :-) a little more work but it satisfied the OCD in me !

- Put all the chestnut pieces into a bowl and add about 4 drops of red food coloring
- Stir around until all the pieces are red
- Transfer the chestnuts into a metal strainer
- Pour in 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour.  Shake the strainer around to ensure even coating (use your hand to break apart any pieces that stuck together).
- Pour in another 2 or 3 table spoons of tapioca flour.  Shake the strainer around for the flour to coat the chestnuts.  Each piece should be fully covered in tapioca.

In the pot of boiling water:

- Slowly SPRINKLE the coated chestnut pieces into the hot water.  Don't pour a bunch in at once as it will clump the chestnuts.
- When cooked, the each pieces of chestnuts will float up to the top
- Scoop the cooked chestnuts with a slotted spoon then put them immediately into the bowl of iced cold water
- Once all the chestnuts are in the ice cold water bowl, drain water out and leave just enough to cover the chestnuts. 
- Put the bowl into the fridge until ready for serve

SERVING:

In a large glass punch bowl, combine all the fruits together with the diced/julienne green agar agar jellies and red chestnut rubies.  When ready to serve, add the homo milk OR half and half to the mixture.  Add organic cane sugar to desired sweetness.  Stir and serve.

OPTIONAL:  You can also add in coconut milk if you want a more rich flavour.  For a low fat version, substitute the half & half /homo milk with 1% or 2% milk.




Thought of the day:  Many many moons ago, back in Vietnam, one day our family found ourselves running out of food.  Anything that can be sold was sold already; sugar, fabric, clothes.  There was nothing left for us to sell.  All my mom can do was to pray for a miracle.  Outside that day the sky was pouring rain.  My mom put on her jacket to go out and when she put her hand in one of the pocket, she found there were money in there.  Money that would buy us a whole month of food.  Her and I remember that day very well.  The Lord provide and take care of those who put their trust in Him.


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