Sticky Dumplings in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc)

Lunar New Year is just around the corner! For those of you who don’t celebrate, the lunar new year (called Tet in Vietnamese) falls on Friday, January 31st, 2014.

I won’t go into all the details about the celebration just yet, but I will give you a sneak-peek recipe – there are always plenty of great dishes to share around New Year, and desserts are no exception!

This Vietnamese dessert is a “sweet soup”, called Che. These desserts are a play on texture – there is always great focus on providing various crunchy or chewy elements. The best part is, there are different types of “chewy”, too. Some are snappy-chewy, like palm fruits, for example – other times, they are soft-chewy, like sticky (glutinous) rice flour balls.

Che can either be cold and served over ice, or served hot or warm. Often, it’s finished with a bit of coconut milk for added richness and body. This particular Che is served warm. It’s very soothing, great on a cold day, and has a wonderful spicy kick from ginger, beautifully contrasting textures from the glutinous rice flour and mung bean paste, and will make your whole body warm.

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Ginger Syrup
Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 hand of ginger, cut into thin slices (normally I don’t peel)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar or equivalent of rock sugar

Add the ginger and water to a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat, and cover  for 20 to 30 minutes (if you don’t want it as intensely gingery, simmer for less).

Once 20-30 minutes have elapsed, add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Strain the syrup if you don’t want the ginger chunks, but they won’t do any harm.
Sticky Rice Ball Dough
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag glutinuous rice flour (6 oz.)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
Put 1 bag of 6 oz. glutinous rice flour (SEE NOTE) into a mixing bowl. Slowly add in between 1 2/3 and 1 ¾ cup of water. Mix with your hands thoroughly as you add the water! Alternately you can do this in a food processor or electric/stand mixer. Knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes, until it forms a smooth, shiny ball, and cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let it rest.

 

Mung Bean Filling
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of yellow, shelled, split mung beans
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (white or brown)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak the mung beans overnight (or at least 2 hours) in a covered bowl. Drain, rinse, and put them in a small sauce pan or a pot, with just enough water  to cover the beans. Turn the heat to high and let it come to a boil. After about 10 to 15 minutes, test to see if they are soft enough to mush between your fingers. If they are still firm, test them every additional five minutes.

Set the mung beans aside. In a large mixing bowl, add in the sugar and salt, and stir until the mixture is a smooth paste. Put the mixture aside for a bit, until it is cool enough to handle (but still warm!). Form the paste into little round balls, about 2 cm in diameter.
Put it all together!
  • Dough
  • Mung Bean Filling
  • Ginger Syrup
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Bowl of ice water
  • Thinly sliced ginger (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • coconut milk or cream (optional)
Uncover the dough and form it into balls about twice the size as the mung bean paste balls. Flatten the balls into disks, using your fingers to thin it out. Place the filling in the center of the dough, fold over one edge and pinch together, make sure the dough cover the filling completely. Gently roll until the dough seals, and forms a smooth ball. Be gentle when rolling to make sure you don’t mash the filling with the dough. If you’d like, you can save some dough at the end to form little tiny sticky rice flour balls without filling, for added variety of texture. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Fill a separate bowl with cold water.
Drop the balls into the boiling water until they floats to the top. Once they float, let them boil for about two minutes, then scoop them out and drop into the bowl of cold water for a few seconds. Then take the balls out and place them in the ginger syrup. Repeat the process in batches.
To serve, top it with coconut milk, toasted sesame seeds, or thinly sliced ginger. An Ngon!
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Note: I use this brand of glutinous (sticky) rice flour: 

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6 thoughts on “Sticky Dumplings in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc)

  1. Delicious! I’m looking forward to having che tomorrow too!

  2. […] I’m away, you can celebrate the Vietnamese way by cooking and eating copious amounts of sticky dumplings in ginger syrup (che troi nuoc), caramelized braised pork with eggs (thit keo trung), pickled veggies, Vietnamese ginger […]

  3. This looks delicious! I’ve tried something similar once, but never knew how it was made. Thank you for sharing your recipe 🙂

  4. These are my absolute favourite! Black sesame filling is my weakness 🙂 Happy very belated New Year.

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