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Secrets of the Red Lantern (Vietnamese)
by Pauline Nguyen and Luke Nguyen
Luke Nguyen: This is one of my mother's favorite desserts. I have introduced this dessert to many Red Lantern guests and it has become a favorite.
Small, sweet bananas are the best to use because they are starchier and won't collapse when cooked. Be sure to stir the pan constantly during cooking so that the tapioca pearls don't stick to the base of the saucepan.
Serves 6


Tapioca Pudding With Banana & Cassava Recipe
(Chè Chuôi Chung)


    • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
    • 5-inch cassava, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 cup coconut cream
    • 3 small, sweet bananas
    • 1½ teaspoons salt
    • 1 cup sweetened coconut cream
    • 3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tapioca, stir to separate the grains, and cook at a rapid boil for 4 minutes. Strain into a fine sieve or colander, rinse under cold water, and set aside.

Meanwhile, put 2¼ cups of water, the cassava, sugar, and half the coconut cream in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Peel and slice the bananas crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Add the tapioca and bananas to the pan and stir constantly for 10 minutes. (This is important, otherwise the tapioca pearls will sink and burn on the bottom of the pan.) Add the remaining coconut cream and salt, and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. To serve, divide evenly among six bowls and garnish with sweetened coconut cream, roasted peanuts, and sesame seeds.


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