Che 3 Mau or Assorted beans in coconut milk is a famous street food dessert in Vietnam. The dessert is very sweet in flavor and accompanied by multiple vibrant colors from different kinds of beans and coconut milk.
Fun fact: This Vietnamese dessert is one the most stolen recipes on my blog so far. I don’t know why, but the feature picture seems to attract a lot of people than I thought. They can steal the pic, the beans, the coconut milk … but they can never steal my own fingers. Those are my fingers, and please, if you intend to use these pics, give me some credits. My fingers deserve that, don’t you think?
This is a the traditional dessert in Vietnam (che 3 mau) that can also be found in “street food“ category. The original version has three main different colors: red and white from beans, green from pandan jelly. It also has a white color from coconut milk and yellow color from mung bean paste. So in total, it has 5 colors but its Vietnamese name only reflects 3. It’s still a mystery to me until now why they call it that way.
Since it's quite sometimes hard to look for and make pandan jelly, I had substituted it for black beans. All other original component of Che 3 Mau remain the same in the recipe.
Ingredients used to make this Vietnamese dessert - Che 3 Mau
- Yellow mung beans - a small, yellow, split mung beans that have been stripped of their hull, then cleaned and split.
- Black beans - you can use either raw black beans or canned black beans. I opted out for canned beans because it's faster to make and tastes awesome.
- Red and white kidney beans - I used canned red kidney beans & canned white kidney beans from Goya. They're delicious, soft, and easy to use.
- Coconut milk - not all store bought coconut milk equal. Believe me because I've tried a lot of canned coconut milk from eastern to western brand. My top brand is Chaokoh Thai coconut milk, it is super creamy and packed with qualified concentrated coconut milk flavor.
Other street style Vietnamese desserts
If you're into traditional Vietnamese dessert, check out this Banana Coconut Ice Cream on a stick or this amazingly Coconut Steamed Layer Cake (banh da lon). Don't be surprised when there's coconut milk in almost every Vietnamese dessert. We really love coconut milk, it's sweet, addicted, and versatile. What not to love right?
Assorted Beans in Sweet Coconut Milk
- If using uncooked beans, soak white and black beans over night.
- Prepare peeled mung beans: In a medium pot, bring 1 quart of water to boil. Add peeled mung beans in and let the mixture simmer (on medium high heat) for 15 minutes. Add ¼ cup of sugar, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Drain and put cooked beans into a blender, blend until beans have very smooth texture.
- For uncooked black and white beans: Discard water that used soak beans overnight. In a medium pot, bring 1 quart of water to boil. Add black beans in and simmer for 20 minutes. Add ¼ cup of sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes. Drain and set aside black beans. Repeat the process for uncooked red and white beans.
- For cooked beans: Bring 2 cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar to boil. Turn off the heat, submerge cooked blacked beans completely in liquid for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside black beans. Repeat the process for cooked red and white beans.
- For coconut milk: In a medium sauce pan, heat coconut milk, add ¼ cup of sugar, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir constantly. Set aside.
- Put all the beans in 4 different layers, orders do not matter. Top with coconut milk and crushed ice. Enjoy!