Che Thai – Tropical Fruits Dessert

Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.

Che Thai is quite possibly the most requested dessert I have ever made.  If you’re looking to impress anyone who loves tropical fruits, Che Thai is the way to do it.

I have to credit my sister for this recipe, who shared it with me almost 10 years ago after Che Thai was the hit of a birthday party she hosted.  I’ve seen this dessert at some restaurants and events, but one part that many seem to miss the mark on is the liquid sauce.  Getting that right makes a world of difference.

Che Thai – Tropical Fruits Dessert

INGREDIENTS – to serve 8-10:

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  • 1 (20 oz.) can of longan fruit in syrup
  • 1 (20 oz.) can of jackfruit in syrup
  • 2 (17.6 oz.) jars of coconut gel in syrup – unflavored
  • 1 (8 oz.) can of sliced water chestnuts
  • 3/4 C. of tapioca starch
  • 4 C. of water
  • 1 Tbsp. of red food color
  • 1 (32 oz.) container of hazelnut flavored coffee creamer
  • 1.5 C. of ice

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STEP 1:  PREPARE THE TROPICAL FRUITS

  1. Using a large colander, rinse and drain the longan fruit, jackfruit, and coconut gel.
  2. Cut the longan fruit pieces in half and place in an extra large, serving bowl.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Cut longan fruit pieces in half for Che Thai.
  3. Cut the jackfruit into small strips and add to the same serving bowl.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Cut jackfruit into strips for Che Thai.
  4. Place the coconut gel into the same serving bowl – no need to cut these into smaller pieces.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Prepared fruits for Che Thai.
    Set aside and proceed to next step.

Optional:  Add any other canned tropical fruit you like, cut into bite-sized pieces like the above.  Suggestions include lychee, rambutan, mangosteen, toddy palm seed, …

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STEP 2:  MAKE THE “HOT LUU” (POMEGRANATE SEEDS)

  1. Finely dice the water chestnut into small pieces.  Take your time with this step to make small, uniform cubes, which will eventually be made to resemble small pomegranate seeds.  Place the diced water chestnuts into a mixing bowl.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Finely dice the water chestnuts for Che Thai.
  2. Add 1/4 C. of tapioca starch to the water chestnuts and mix well, coating each piece.  Once combined, add an additional 1/4 C. of tapioca starch and mix again.  Repeat once more with the last 1/4 C. of tapioca starch.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Water chestnuts generously coated in tapioca starch, for Che Thai.
  3. Fill a large bowl halfway with water.  Place that bowl next to the stovetop for use in #6 below.
  4. Heat 4 C. of water in a medium saucepan using high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. of red food color to this pan of water.
  5. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to medium.  Gently sprinkle 1/4 of the coated water chestnuts into the boiling water.  Using a large, flat, slotted spoon, gently loosen the water chestnuts from the bottom of the saucepan.  The water chestnuts will quickly float to the top.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Water chestnuts transform into chewy red tapioca, resembling pomegranate seeds, for Che Thai.
  6. About 30 seconds after the water chestnuts float to the top, use the slotted spoon to gently scoop them out of the boiling water.  Place the cooked water chestnuts, which now resemble red pomegranate seeds, into the reserved bowl of water on the side.  This is to keep them from clumping together.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Place the cooked “pomegranate seeds” for Che Thai into the reserved bowl of water to keep them from clumping.
  7. Repeat #5 & #6 three times, to finish cooking the rest of the water chestnuts.  Refrain from doing this in one big step – placing too many water chestnuts into the saucepan at once will make them clump together.
  8. Once the water chestnuts have all been cooked and transformed into “pomegranate seeds”, pour the water chestnuts into a colander to drain.  Once drained, pour the “pomegranate seeds” on top of the serving bowl of prepared fruit.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Prepared fruits and “pomegranate seeds” for Che Thai – almost done!

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STEP 3:  FINISHING TOUCHES

  1. This is what will set your Che Thai apart from other versions.  Are you ready?  Here goes:  Open the container of hazelnut flavored coffee creamer, and pour it over your fruit and “pomegranate seeds.”  Add 1.5 C. of ice.  Stir.  That’s it.  You’d be amazed how many people try other flavors, or use plain half-and-half, or use coconut milk, always to miss the mark.  This flavored creamer is the secret to making your Che Thai the wow factor at your next event.
  2. Serve Che Thai chilled and atop one or two cubes of ice.  Be ready for requests for seconds. And thirds.

    Che Thai recipe.  Vietnamese recipe.  Vietnamese dessert.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Serve Che Thai chilled. Enjoy!

Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If this turns into one of your own Most Requested recipes, let me know about it!

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