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Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls (Chè Trôi Nước)

Glutinous rice balls, known as “Chè Trôi Nước”, served with sweet ginger syrup, are a beloved Vietnamese dessert with a delightful flavor. This traditional dessert is often enjoyed during special occasions, family gatherings, and festivals, making it a symbol of togetherness and celebration.

What is Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls

In Vietnamese cuisine, desserts hold a special place, and Chè Trôi Nước is no exception. The dish is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a reflection of Vietnamese culture and culinary traditions. The process of making these sweet rice balls requires care and patience, embodying the values of diligence and unity that are highly regarded in Vietnamese culture.

Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls (che troi nuoc)

The Ingredients

Glutinous Rice Balls

The core of Che Troi Nuoc is the glutinous rice balls, which are made from a simple mixture of glutinous rice flour and water. This combination gives the rice balls their distinctive chewy and slightly elastic texture. When cooked, they become tender yet resilient, providing a satisfying mouthfeel.

You can also dye your dough with food colorings. I always recommend to use natural colorings such as pandan leaves juice for green and beetrooth juice for pink color.

Glutinous rice balls

Mung Bean Paste Filling

The luscious mung bean paste filling adds a delightful contrast to the chewy rice balls. Mung beans are soaked, cooked until tender, and then transformed into a smooth, velvety paste. The paste is sweetened with sugar, creating a balanced blend of flavors. For an extra layer of richness, some recipes also incorporate coconut milk into the filling.

Sweet Ginger Syrup

To enhance the sweetness and add a glossy finish, a simple sugar syrup is prepared by boiling water and sugar together. This syrup is drizzled over the assembled rice balls before serving, infusing the dessert with a gentle sweetness that complements the earthy flavors of the mung bean paste.

Optional Toppings

For added texture and visual appeal, Che Troi Nuoc can be garnished with toasted sesame seeds, which provide a nutty crunch, grated coconut and coconut milk, which imparts a tropical aroma and flavor.

The combination of these elements results in a harmonious dessert that not only satisfies the palate but also engages the senses, making Che Troi Nuoc a beloved treat with a timeless appeal.

Anticipation of Taste and Texture

As you embark on the journey to create Che Troi Nuoc, you’ll experience the joy of kneading the glutinous rice dough, the satisfaction of forming each delicate rice ball, and the anticipation of tasting the sweet mung bean paste as it melds with the chewy rice exterior. The process itself is a labor of love, embodying the essence of Vietnamese culinary traditions and the warmth of sharing a delicious dessert with loved ones.

Glutinous rice balls

In the following sections, I’ll give a step-by-step instruction of crafting this delightful dessert, from preparing the mung bean paste filling to assembling and cooking the rice balls, and finally, drizzling them with a delectable sugar syrup.

Step 1. Preparation of Mung Bean Paste Filling

The heart of Glutinous Rice Balls with Mung Bean Paste (Che Troi Nuoc) lies in the sumptuous mung bean paste filling. This section will guide you through the process of creating this velvety and sweet filling that complements the chewy rice balls perfectly.

Soaking and Cooking Mung Beans

Rinse and Soak Mung Beans:

Start by rinsing the mung beans under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, place the beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. This softens the beans and shortens their cooking time.

Cook Mung Beans:

Drain the soaked mung beans and transfer them to a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans until they are tender and can be easily mashed with a fork. This usually takes around 20-30 minutes.

Drain and Mash:

Once the beans are cooked, there are several ways to transfer them into a paste.

  • Method 1: Mashing cooked mung beans. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the beans into a smooth paste. Combine the mashed mung beans with granulated sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your preference for sweetness, but a common ratio is about 1 part sugar to 3 parts mashed mung beans. Mix well to evenly distribute the sugar.
  • Method 2: Using blender. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Pour cooked beans into a blender and blend them well until smooth with granulated sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your prefered taste but should be equal to 1/3 the amount of the beans.
Making mung bean paste with blender
  • Method 3: Simmer until dehydrated. This is the slowest method to make mung bean paste. Drain half of the water in the pot and reduce the heat to low level. Add sugar based on your sweet taste. Use a spatula to gently mash the beans with a bit oil. Let them rest until the water is almost evaporated, then stir continuously not to let the beans paste burnt. When the texture is creamy and without lumps, turn off the heat and let it cool down.
Glutinous rice balls or chè trôi nước

Finally, shape the paste into small balls, ready for assembling glutinous rice balls.

The resulting mung bean paste is a delectable blend of sweet and nutty flavors, with a silky texture that’s ready to be encased in the chewy glutinous rice balls. This paste can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.

Step 2. Making glutinous rice dough

Because of the similar feature of glutinous rice dough and tapioca starch dough, the method to transfer from flour/starch to dough is the same. As I shared the method once in Vietnamese tapioca dumplings recipe, the method is simple: slowly pour the boiling water, little by little, into the flour. Knead the dough with your hands after you pour a litlle of boiling water in, then repeat several times until it comes together into a ball (left picture). Cut into smaller pieces (right picture).

Glutinous rice balls or chè trôi nước

You can also dye the dough with natural food colorings from beetroot (pink) and pandan leaves (green). To do so, after you knead the dough, divide it into 2-3 smaller doughes for different colorings. Add several drops of beetroot juice or pandan juice in and continue to knead a bit more until the dough is fully dyed.

Glutinous rice balls

Step 3. Shaping the balls

  • Flatten the Dough: Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth ball. Then, flatten it slightly in the palm of your hand to form a small disc.
  • Add Mung Bean Paste: Place a prepared mung bean ball in the center of the flattened dough disc. The amount of paste depends on the size of the rice ball you’re making.
Glutinous rice balls or chè trôi nước
  • Wrap the Paste: Gently gather the edges of the dough disc around the mung bean paste, forming a ball around the filling. Carefully seal the edges, ensuring that the filling is completely enclosed within the rice dough.
  • Roll into a Ball: Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth and round rice ball. Make sure the surface is free from cracks and seams.
  • Repeat the Process: Repeat the shaping process with the remaining dough and mung bean paste until you’ve created the desired number of rice balls.
Glutinous rice balls

With the rice balls shaped and ready, you’re prepared to move on to the cooking stage of this culinary adventure.

Step 4. Boiling glutinous rice balls and cook sweet ginger syrup

With the rice balls carefully shaped and filled, it’s time to bring them to life through the cooking process. Cooking the Glutinous Rice Balls with Mung Bean Paste (Che Troi Nuoc) involves careful boiling and a touch of finesse to ensure the desired texture is achieved.

Bring Water to a Boil: Place the pot of water and several ginger slices on the stove and bring the water to a gentle boil over medium heat. It’s important not to use rapid boiling water to avoid breaking the delicate rice balls.

Cook Glutinous Rice Balls until Floating: One by one, gently drop the filled rice balls into the boiling water. Be cautious to prevent splashes. Use a gentle stirring motion to ensure that the rice balls do not stick to the bottom of the pot. As the rice balls cook, they will gradually rise to the surface of the water. Once they float, it’s an indicator that they are cooked. This typically takes about 2-3 minutes.

Glutinous rice flour

Note: Even though the rice balls are floating, it’s recommended to allow them to cook for another 2-3 minutes to ensure that the filling is thoroughly heated and the rice dough is fully cooked.

Make Ginger syrup: Don’t pour away the boiling water. Add brown sugar to the pot and cook until it completely dissolves.

Glutinous rice balls

Serving

The moment has arrived to present your beautifully crafted Chè Trôi Nước to eager appetites. This final part of the recipe will guide you through the presentation and serving of this traditional Vietnamese dessert.

Vietnamese Glutinous rice balls

Firstly, arrange the cooled and drained rice balls in individual serving bowls or on a serving platter. Add sweet ginger syrup in, and finally, sprinkle some toppings on such as roasted sesame, peanut, grated coconut or coconut milk. Super easy, isn’t it? So, it’s time to enjoy your masterpiece!

Glutinous rice balls

Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls (Chè Trôi Nước)

Yield: 6 bowls
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Glutinous rice balls, known as "Chè Trôi Nước", served with sweet ginger syrup, are a beloved Vietnamese dessert with a delightful flavor.

Ingredients

Glutinous rice balls

  • 400g (2 cup) glutinous rice flour
  • 200g (1 cup) mung bean and 50g (1/2 cup) white sugar
  • (Optional) 1 tsp beetroot juice, 1 tsp pandan juice

Sweet ginger syrup

  • 400ml (2 cup) water
  • 200-400g (1 to 2 cups) brown sugar depend on your taste
  • 3-5 ginger slices

Topping

  • Toppings (optional): peanut, roasted sesame, grated coconut, coconut milk...

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation of Mung Bean Paste Filling

  • Rinse and Soak Mung Beans: Start by rinsing the mung beans under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, place the beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. This softens the beans and shortens their cooking time.
  • Cook Mung Beans: Drain the soaked mung beans and transfer them to a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans until they are tender and can be easily mashed with a fork. This usually takes around 20-30 minutes.
  • Drain and Mash: Once the beans are cooked, there are several ways to transfer them into a paste.
  1. Method 1: Mashing cooked mung beans. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the beans into a smooth paste. Combine the mashed mung beans with granulated sugar. If the paste is still to soft, stir it on low heat for several minutes until it thickens.
  2. Method 2: Using blender. Drain any excess water and allow them to cool slightly. Pour cooked beans into a blender and blend them well until smooth with granulated sugar. If the paste is still to soft, stir it on low heat for several minutes until it thickens.Making mung bean paste with blender
  3. Method 3: Simmer until dehydrated. This is the slowest method to make mung bean paste. Drain half of the water in the pot and reduce the heat to low level. Add sugar based on your sweet taste. Use a spatula to gently mash the beans with a bit oil. Let them rest until the water is almost evaporated, then stir continuously not to let the beans paste burnt. When the texture is creamy and without lumps, turn off the heat and let it cool down.Make Mung Bean Paste

The amount of sugar depends on your preference for sweetness, but a common ratio is about 1 part sugar to 3 parts mashed mung beans.

Step 2. Making glutinous rice dough

  • Slowly pour the boiling water, little by little, into the flour. Knead the dough with your hands after you pour a litlle of boiling water in, then repeat several times until it comes together into a ball (left picture). Cut into smaller pieces (right picture).Glutinous rice balls.
  • (Optional) You can also dye the dough with natural food colorings from beetroot (pink) and pandan leaves (green). To do so, after you knead the dough, divide it into 2-3 smaller doughes for different colorings. Add several drops of beetroot juice or pandan juice in and continue to knead a bit more until the dough is fully dyed. Glutinous rice balls

Step 3. Shaping glutinous rice balls

  • Flatten the Dough: Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth ball. Then, flatten it slightly in the palm of your hand to form a small disc.
  • Add Mung Bean Paste: Place a prepared mung bean ball in the center of the flattened dough disc. The amount of paste depends on the size of the rice ball you're making. VIetnamese glutinous rice ball
  • Wrap the Paste: Gently gather the edges of the dough disc around the mung bean paste, forming a ball around the filling. Carefully seal the edges, ensuring that the filling is completely enclosed within the rice dough.
  • Roll into a Ball: Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth and round rice ball. Make sure the surface is free from cracks and seams. Roll the balls on glutinous rice flour to prevent them from sticking together.Glutinous rice balls

Step 4. Boiling glutinous rice balls and cook sweet ginger syrup

  • Bring Water to a Boil: Place the pot of water and several ginger slices on the stove and bring the water to a gentle boil over medium heat. It's important not to use rapid boiling water to avoid breaking the delicate rice balls.
  • Cook Glutinous Rice Balls until Floating: One by one, gently drop the filled rice balls into the boiling water. Be cautious to prevent splashes. Use a gentle stirring motion to ensure that the rice balls do not stick to the bottom of the pot. As the rice balls cook, they will gradually rise to the surface of the water. Once they float, it's an indicator that they are cooked. This typically takes about 2-3 minutes.Glutinous rice flourGlutinous rice balls
  • Make Ginger syrup: Don't pour away the boiling water. Add brown sugar to the pot and cook until it completely dissolves.Glutinous rice balls

Step 5. Assembling Chè Trôi Nước

  • Firstly, arrange the cooled and drained rice balls in individual serving bowls or on a serving platter. Add sweet ginger syrup in, and finally, sprinkle some toppings on such as roasted sesame, peanut, grated coconut or coconut milk.Glutinous rice balls
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278

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