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Che ba mau

Che ba mau

Che ba mau

The sweet Vietnamese dish che ba mau is also called a three-colour or rainbow dessert. A green layer contains pieces of jelly, a yellow layer consists of mung bean paste and a red layer of whole adzuki beans. It is topped with sweetened coconut milk.

What is che ba mau?

The sweet Vietnamese dish chè ba màu, pronounced “chey bah ma-oh”) is also known as a three-colour or rainbow dessert. It consists of three layers: green, yellow and red.

There are pieces of jelly in the green layer. The yellow layer consists of sweetened mung bean paste and the red layer is whole adzuki beans in sugar syrup. Sweetened coconut milk is poured between or over the layers. The dish is served well chilled or with shaved ice or ice cubes in it.

Che ba mau can be pretty sweet. Vietnamese often make the dish themselves at home; this way the amount of sugar can be adjusted as desired. Another trick to preserve your tooth enamel is to add extra layers of shaved ice.

Did you know...

Che dishes are sweets that are eaten by the Vietnamese as a snack. Che has many forms; sometimes it looks like sweet soup, sometimes pudding or oatmeal porridge. Che can contain beans, lotus seeds, water chestnuts, glutinous rice or sweetened corn kernels, but also tapioca or jelly. As a topping, you often see peanuts, longan (a fruit that is related to the lychee) and other fruit. Che can be served hot, cold or as ice.

How to make che ba mau

A jelly is made by boiling agar-agar, sugar and pandan extract (or sometimes just green food colouring), and cooled until set. The jelly is cut into strips or pieces, or grated. This will be the green layer. For the yellow layer, mung beans are cooked to form a firm, pudding-like paste. The pudding layer is sweetened with sugar. Adzuki beans are boiled with a lot of sugar until they are soft, creamy and coated in syrup. These beans remain whole and form the red layer.

The tricolour dessert is built in a tall glass. Start with some shaved or crushed ice. Spoon red beans over this, then a layer of yellow mung bean pudding and finally a handful of green jelly. Finally, a sauce of sweet coconut milk thickened with tapioca starch is added.

How to eat

Serve the dish well chilled, with a long spoon.

Also try

Are you charmed by this dessert made with beans? Try one of the many other che dishes, such as che chuoi or che thap cam. Unusual, but very tasty.

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Che ba mau