You know you’re an adult when you find yourself belonging in a dinner club with other couple friends, am I right? My husband and I are part of a dinner club with four other couples and we take turns every month hosting a dinner party. The hosting couple provides all the food and drink pairings and hosts the dinner at their house. So far, we’ve had a Mardi Gras themed event and a spring-themed event. It was my turn to host this past weekend, and obviously, my theme was Vietnamese. The other couples actually volun-told me what my theme was, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter!
In planning the menu, it was a no brainer what the appetizer and main courses were going to be. Appetizers were fresh rolls and the main course was a build-your-own vermicelli bowl, with spring rolls, vermicelli noodles, fish sauce, and various veggies and accompaniments. However, I had a tough time coming up with a dessert, mainly because I have never ever made a Vietnamese dessert before. My mom very rarely makes them, so I don’t really have a favourite Vietnamese dessert. After much research and consultation with my mom, I decided to make a Vietnamese banana coconut tapioca dessert (“che chuoi”). Vietnamese cuisine have desserts called “che” that are best described as a pudding. Some of these desserts have fruit in them, some have beans (like black beans), some are served cold, some are served hot, most of tapioca in them, and they come in varying textures (some are thicker and some are quite liquid-y like a soup). This banana dessert was easy to make and it’s dairy-free, which was the deciding factor for me. This dessert can be served hot or chilled, but I prefer it chilled.
I decided to do a wine pairing with my dinner, because I love introducing friends to wines and Vietnamese food. For the fresh rolls, I paired it with the Melipal Malbec Rose (Argentina). This rose wine is crisp, light and not too sweet, and it pairs well with the pork and shrimp in the fresh rolls. For the spring rolls and vermicelli bowls, I paired it with the Stark Raving Red wine (USA). This red wine blend is smooth, slightly sweet, and doesn’t clash with the fish sauce or overpower the spring rolls. And finally, for the banana tapioca dessert, I paired it with the Dr. Loosen Riesling (Germany). I bought two bottles of each and they were completely finished off by the women! The men could care less about wine pairings and drank various beers with their food (not that we were complaining, more wine for the wives!).
You know the dinner party was so much fun because I forgot to take lots of pictures for the blog! (Blogger fail!). I completely forgot to take pictures of the fresh rolls, and only took a few of the spring rolls, vermicelli bowls and the banana tapioca pudding. Sorry guys! Enjoy the few pictures and the banana tapioca dessert recipe below.
Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Dessert (Che Chuoi)Print Recipe
- 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
- 1 can (14 oz or 400 ml) coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 ripe bananas, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder (I used vanilla powder)
Soak the tapioca pearls in cold water for an hour.
Drain the tapioca pearls and place in a big saucepan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes until the pearls are opaque. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut milk, 1 cup water, vanilla and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Add bananas to the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the cooked tapioca pearls and stir together for another 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool and thicken. After it is cooled to room temperature, you can put it in the fridge to chill.
Spoon into individual bowls, garnish with strawberries, mangoes or another colourful fruit, and enjoy!