Che Buoi Recipe (Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup)

Among a plenty of Vietnamese sweet soups/desserts (chè in Vietnamese), I believe Che Buoi (Pomelo sweet soup – chè bưởi) is one of the most difficult recipes. It’s not just simply soaking and cooking beans with water like black bean or mung bean dessert. To make che buoi, you’ll have to spend more time and effort for processing pomelo pith, the write part underneath the green or yellow rind. In return, you’ll get one of the best Vietnamese sweet soups. Here’s my che buoi recipe.

Che Buoi Recipe

What is Pomelo Pith?

Pomelo pith refers to the spongy white tissue found in the center of a pomelo fruit. The pomelo is a citrus fruit that is closely related to the grapefruit, and it is known for its sweet and slightly tangy flavor. The pith is the innermost part of the fruit, surrounded by the thick rind and the fruit segments.

The pith of a pomelo is typically thicker and denser than the pith of other citrus fruits like oranges or lemons. It can vary in texture from relatively firm to somewhat spongy, and its taste is generally milder but bitter than the fruit segments.

I read some posts saying that the pomelo pith is not edible, with Asian cuisines, this is a great ingredient to make unique dishes. One popular dish is Cantonese braised pomelo pith (Guai Shu Shu). Additionally, it is sometimes candied or preserved to make sweets and desserts. Candied Pomelo pith, together with many candied fruits and seeds, is usually enjoyed in Lunar New Year. Besides, che buoi, or Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup, is an all-year-round dessert.

Pomelo Pith Removal
Remove Pomelo pith from rind and fruit segment

What’s in Che Buoi?

Che Buoi Recipe usually includes pomelo pith, peeled split mung bean, coconut milk and tapioca starch.

  • Pomelo Pith: the star of this dish. After being processed and cooked, each piece of pomelo pith, covered by tapioca starch, becomes succulent and slightly crunchy. It’s not bitter anymore but slightly sweet with a hint of pomelo aroma.
  • Peeled Split Mung Bean: This is a very familiar ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. It’s the main ingredients of various dishes, from mung bean cake, mooncake, banh com, glutinous rice balls to mung bean milk. In Che Buoi Recipe, Peeled Split Mung Bean will be steamed or boiled to keep the shapes, then mix with pomelo pith to achieve the balance of color and flavor.
  • Coconut milk: Used to garnish the sweet soup. A spoon of coconut milk on top will add the sweet and fatty taste to Che Buoi.
  • Tapioca starch: Known for its chewy and succulent texture after cooking, tapioca starch finds its way to many of Vietnamese recipes, from savory (tapioca dumpling, bot chien) to sweet (sweet potato dessert, corn sweet soup).
  • Brown Sugar & Pandan Leaves: These ingredients add a gentle sweetness and aroma for the dish. For pandan leaves, it’s optional, and you can either use fresh/frozen leaves or pandan extract.
Che Buoi Recipe

Che Buoi Recipe

To make che buoi, prepare the list of ingredients below:

Pomelo Pith

  1. Pomelo pith of a pig pomelo
  2. 1-2 tbsp salt (to rinse the pith)
  3. 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  4. 1 tbsp sugar

Peel Split Mung Bean

  • 1/2 cup peeled split mung bean

Sugar Syrup

  • 120g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1.2L water
  •  4 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 pandan leaves

Coconut Milk Sauce

  1. 120ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk
  2. 2 teaspoon sugar
  3. 1 pinch of salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of tapioca starch & 2 teaspoons water

Step-by-step Instruction

Step 1. Preparing the pomelo Pith

  • Peel the pomelo green rind careful, leaving as much pomelo pith as possible. Use a knife or a big peeler to do so.
  • Remove the white pith from fruit segment by making a cross cut on top, then gently peeling off the pith. You’ll get 4 large pieces of pomelo pith.
  • Cut the pomelo pith into small cubes of 0.5 inch (13mm) or of your preferred bite-size. Add a pinch of salt and water and soak for about 10 minutes. After that, squeeze out the water, then rinse with clean water. Continue to rinse and squeeze the pomelo rind until the water runs clear (about 10 times).
  • Blanche the pomelo rind briefly with a little lime juice or vinegar. The estimated time is about 5 minutes since the water boils. Then, transfer the pomelo rind to cold water and continue to rinse 2-3 more times.
  • Next, soak the pomelo rind in water and add 30 grams of tapioca starch, mix them altogether for 1-2 more minutes, then squeeze but still leave a little water in each pomelo pith cubes.
  • Finally, season the cubes with 15g (1 tbsp) of sugar for half an hour (mix well) until the sugar is absorbed into the pomelo pith.
  • Coating the pomelo pith cubes: Add tapioca starch gradually (one tbsp at a time) and mix well (approximately 60g (4 tbsp) of tapioca starch, depending on the amount of pomelo peel, more or less).
  • Once the pomelo pith cubes is coated with starch, boil them until it becomes succulent, slightly transparent. Remove them from the pot and immediately place it in cold water, you’ll get the soft pomelo pith cubes.
How to make Che Buoi

Step 2. Steaming Mung Beans

You can proceed this step in parallel with step 1.

  • Wash the peeled split mung beans and soak them for 1 hour in warm water. After the mung beans have absorbed enough water (nearly double in size), steam them for an additional 15 minutes (the beans should still be whole; but you can crush them by pressing strongly).
Steaming Peeled Split mung bean

Step 3. Cooking Che Buoi

The syrup will be the base of your sweet soup.

  • Mix 120g (1/2 cup) of brown sugar with 1L of water (you can adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste). Cook it on high heat with pandan leaves for fragrance if any, or else you can replace the leaves with pandan extract, or vanilla extract.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked pomelo pith cubes and mung beans, then mix well.
  • Next, mix 60g (4 tbsp) of tapioca starch with 200ml (1 cup) of water, then pour into the pot. Stir them evenly until the soup thickens (pic 4 below).
Che Buoi Recipe

Step 4. Making Coconut Milk Sauce

  • In a saucepan/pot, mix ½ cup of coconut milk, 1 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook the mixture on medium heat. When waiting it to boil, mix ½ tsp of tapioca starch with 3 tsp of water, then add to the mixture. Cook until boil to get Coconut Milk Sauce for Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup.

Step 5. Serving Che Buoi

  • If you would like to serve Che Buoi warm, transfer it into a bowl, then garnish with coconut milk sauce on top. For cold Che Buoi, add crushed ice into a glass, then add Che Buoi and coconut milk sauce on top.
Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup

Storing Che Buoi

Che Buoi should be stored in fridge right after it cools down, because pomelo pith and mung bean are both easy to become perishable. And store coconut milk sauce separately to prolong its self life. Consume all your Pomelo Sweet Soup in 3 days.

Che Buoi Recipe

Che Buoi Recipe (Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Among a plenty of Vietnamese sweet soups/desserts (chè in Vietnamese), I believe Che Buoi (Pomelo sweet soup – chè bưởi) is one of the most difficult recipes.

Ingredients

Pomelo Pith

Peel Split Mung Bean

Sugar Syrup

Coconut Milk Sauce

Instructions

Step 1. Preparing the pomelo Pith

  • Peel the pomelo green rind careful, leaving as much pomelo pith as possible. Use a knife or a big peeler to do so. Remove the white pith from fruit segment by making a cross cut on top, then gently peeling off the pith. You’ll get 4 large pieces of pomelo pith like in pic 4.Che Buoi Recipe
  • Cut the pomelo pith into small cubes of 0.5 inch (13mm) or of your preferred bite-size (pic 1 below). Add a pinch of salt and water and soak for about 10 minutes (pic 2). After that, squeeze out the water, then rinse with clean water (pic 3). Continue to rinse and squeeze the pomelo rind until the water runs clear (about 10 times).Che Buoi Recipe
  • Blanche the pomelo rind briefly with a little lime juice or vinegar. The estimated time is about 5 minutes since the water boils. Then, transfer the pomelo rind to cold water and continue to rinse 2-3 more times.Che Buoi Recipe
  • Next, soak the pomelo rind in water and add 30 grams of tapioca starch, mix them altogether for 1-2 more minutes, then squeeze but still leave a little water in each pomelo pith cubes.Che Buoi Recipe
  • After that, season the cubes with 15g (1 tbsp) of sugar for half an hour (mix well) until the sugar is absorbed into the pomelo pith.Che Buoi Recipe
  • Coating the pomelo pith cubes: Add tapioca starch gradually (one tbsp at a time) and mix well (approximately 60g (4 tbsp) of tapioca starch, depending on the amount of pomelo peel, more or less).Che Buoi Recipe
  • Once the pomelo pith cubes is coated with starch, boil them until it becomes succulent, slightly transparent. Remove them from the pot and immediately place it in cold water, you’ll get the cubes in pic 3 below.Che Buoi Recipe

Step 2. Steaming mung beans

You can proceed this step in parallel with step 1.

  • Wash the peeled split mung beans and soak them for 1 hour in warm water. After the mung beans have absorbed enough water (nearly double in size), steam them for an additional 15 minutes (the beans should still be whole; but you can crush them by pressing strongly).Che Buoi Recipe

Step 3. Cooking Che Buoi

The syrup will be the base of your sweet soup.

  • Mix 120g (1/2 cup) of brown sugar with 1L of water (you can adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste). Cook it on high heat with pandan leaves for fragrance if any, or else you can replace the leaves with pandan extract, or vanilla extract.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked pomelo pith cubes and mung beans, then mix well.
  • Next, mix 60g (4 tbsp) of tapioca starch with 200ml (1 cup) of water, then pour into the pot. Stir them evenly until the soup thickens (pic 4 below).Che Buoi Recipe

Step 4. Making Coconut Milk Sauce

  • In a saucepan/pot, mix ½ cup of coconut milk, 1 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook the mixture on medium heat. When waiting it to boil, mix ½ tsp of tapioca starch with 3 tsp of water, then add to the mixture. Cook until boil to get Coconut Milk Sauce for Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup.Che Buoi Recipe

Step 5. Serving

  • If you would like to serve Che Buoi warm, transfer it into a bowl, then garnish with coconut milk sauce on top. For cold Che Buoi, add crushed ice into a glass, then add Che Buoi and coconut milk sauce on top.Che Buoi Recipe
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250ml
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 385

Did you make this recipe?

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