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Secrets of the Red Lantern (Vietnamese)
by Pauline Nguyen and Luke Nguyen
Serves 6

Sweet Mung Bean Dumplings in Ginger Sauce
(Chè Trôi Nuóc)


• 3-inch piece of ginger, sliced into slivers
• 3¼ cups sugar
• 1 cup glutinous rice flour
• 2 pinches of salt
• 3/4 cup warm water
• 1/4 cup split yellow mung beans, soaked in water overnight, until doubled in size
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 3 scullions, white part only
• 1 tablespoon coconut cream
• 1/2 cup coconut cream mixed with 1 tablespoon superfine sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


To make the ginger sauce, put 4 cups of water, ginger, and sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar while bringing to a boil, then decrease the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the ginger from the sauce and reserve for later use, then allow the sauce to cool.

To make the dumpling dough, sieve the rice flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then stir in the warm water until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the dough into a ball, then cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then use your hands to roll it out into a long sausage, about 3/4 inch in diameter.

To make the mung bean filling, steam the mung beans until soft and set aside. Pour the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the scallions until fragrant. Stir in the mung beans, then add a pinch of salt and the tablespoon of coconut cream and stir to combine. Put the contents of the saucepan in a mortar, add some of the reserved ginger slivers, and work it all into a smooth paste.

To assemble the dumplings, cut the dough into 3/4-inch-long sections, make an indentation in the center with your thumb, then spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the mung bean mixture into the hollow. Draw up all the sides to cover the mung bean, pinch together, then gently roll into a ball in the palm of your hand. Repeat until you have filled all of the dough. Cook the dumplings in boiling water. When they float to the surface, remove and plunge into ice water to cool, then set aside.

To serve, divide the dumplings among the bowls, bring the ginger sauce to a boil, and pour over the dumplings. Drizzle with the sweetened coconut cream and garnish with the roasted sesame seeds. The dumplings can be made in advance and are best kept refrigerated in the ginger syrup.

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