Vietnamese Chè Hột É Recipe: A Guide to the Perfect Dessert

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine diving into a bowl of Chè Hột É, a traditional Vietnamese dessert that’s as intriguing as it sounds. This delightful treat combines the creaminess of coconut milk with the rich texture of tapioca pearls and the unique addition of duck egg yolks, creating a dessert that’s both comforting and exotic. Originating from Vietnam’s diverse culinary culture, Chè Hột É is a testament to the creativity and richness of Southeast Asian cuisine.


In this section, you’ll find all the necessary ingredients neatly organized for each component of the Chè Hột É. This ensures that you can prepare each part of this delightful dessert with ease.

For the Tapioca Pearls

  • 1 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the Coconut Sauce

  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Required Tools and Equipment

Embarking on the preparation of Chè Hột É, the enchanting Vietnamese dessert, requires not only the right ingredients but also the appropriate tools and equipment. This section will guide you through the essential instruments needed to ensure that your dessert making is as efficient and enjoyable as the eating will be!

Cooking Utensils

  1. Medium-sized Saucepan: You’ll need this for cooking the tapioca pearls and for the syrup preparation. A non-stick saucepan is ideal to prevent sticking and ensure even heat distribution.
  2. Mixing Bowls: It’s wise to have a couple of mixing bowls on hand, one for soaking the tapioca pearls and another for mixing the egg yolks with other ingredients.
  3. Whisk: A good whisk is crucial for thoroughly mixing the duck egg yolks with the coconut milk, ensuring a smooth, lump-free texture.
  4. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accuracy matters in dessert making, so be sure to use measuring cups and spoons for all your ingredients to get the proportions just right.
  1. Steamer: Essential for steaming the duck egg yolk mixture, a steamer helps in achieving the unique texture and flavor characteristic of Chè Hột É.
  2. Fine Mesh Strainer: This tool is indispensable for achieving silky-smooth coconut milk and for rinsing cooked tapioca pearls.
  3. Serving Glasses or Bowls: To serve Chè Hột É authentically, have some clear glasses or decorative bowls ready, as presentation is key in delivering the full experience of this delightful dessert.

Preparation Steps

Now that you have gathered your ingredients and tools, let’s begin the delightful process of making Chè Hột É. Follow these steps carefully to ensure your dessert turns out wonderfully creamy and delicious.

Soaking the Mung Beans

  1. Begin by rinsing 1 cup of dried mung beans under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Place the cleaned mung beans in a medium-sized bowl. Cover them with about 3 inches of cold water. This allows the beans to expand as they soak.
  3. Let the mung beans sit and soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight if time permits. This soaking process is crucial as it softens the beans, reducing cooking time and ensuring they cook evenly.
  1. In a separate bowl, take 1 cup of small tapioca pearls.
  2. Cover the tapioca pearls with plenty of water as they will expand considerably. Use at least twice the volume of water to pearls.
  3. Allow the pearls to soak for at least 30 minutes. After soaking, drain the water using a fine mesh strainer to remove any excess starch.
  4. Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Gradually add the soaked tapioca pearls to the boiling water.
  5. Stir gently and continuously for about 10-15 minutes to prevent the pearls from sticking together.
  6. Cook until the tapioca pearls become translucent with a tiny white speck in the center, indicating they are cooked but still have a slight chewiness.
  7. Drain the cooked pearls through the fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove any residual stickiness.

Cooking Instructions

Now that you’ve prepped your ingredients and have your equipment ready, it’s time to dive into the cooking process. Follow these steps carefully to ensure your Chè Hột É turns out perfectly creamy and flavorful.

Cooking Mung Beans

  1. Start by rinsing the soaked mung beans under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove any impurities and excess starch.
  2. Place the rinsed mung beans in a medium saucepan and add water. The water level should be about an inch above the beans to ensure they are fully submerged.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Let the beans cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. Once cooked, drain the mung beans in a colander and set aside to cool. They will be added later to the dessert.

Preparing the Coconut Sauce

  1. In a clean saucepan, combine coconut milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar completely.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a gentle boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent the coconut milk from scalding.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the coconut sauce to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The water should be enough to give the tapioca pearls ample room to expand and move around.
  2. Add the soaked and rinsed tapioca pearls to the boiling water. Stir gently to prevent them from sticking together.
  3. Boil the pearls for about 7-10 minutes, or until they become translucent and all the white starch has disappeared.
  4. Once the tapioca pearls are cooked, drain them in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove excess starch.
  5. Mix the rinsed tapioca pearls with the cooked mung beans and gradually incorporate them into the cooled coconut sauce.

Continue stirring the mixture to ensure all ingredients are well-combined and evenly distributed. This combination of textures and flavors is what makes Chè Hột É such a unique and delightful dessert.


Now that you have your components ready, it’s time to bring together the delightful layers of Chè Hột É.

Layering Ingredients

Begin by selecting a clear glass or bowl to showcase the beautiful layers of your dessert. Start with a spoonful of the soft, cooked mung beans at the base, creating a hearty and flavorful foundation. Next, add a layer of the chewy, translucent tapioca pearls over the mung beans. Ensure the layers are even to provide a pleasing visual and textural contrast when served.

Carefully pour the rich coconut sauce over the tapioca pearls, allowing it to seep down into the lower layers, infusing them with its creamy sweetness. Aim for the coconut sauce to just cover the pearls, which helps to keep the layers distinct and visually appealing.

Final Touches

Finally, it’s time for the most distinctive element of Chè Hột É – the duck egg yolks. Gently place a whole yolk or two, depending on your preference and the size of your serving dish, on top of the coconut-topped tapioca layer. The yolk should be soft but firm enough to hold its shape.

Sprinkle a pinch of toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts on top for a subtle crunch and an extra burst of flavor. Optionally, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a light drizzle of honey can enhance the freshness and sweetness of your dessert.

Arrange your servings on the table, and enjoy the unique fusion of flavors and textures that make Chè Hột É a remarkable Vietnamese dessert.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to enjoying your freshly prepared Chè Hột É, presentation plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall experience. Here are some tips to help you serve this delightful dessert in traditional and creative ways.

Traditional Presentation

For a genuine Vietnamese experience, serve Chè Hột É in clear glass bowls. This method not only showcases the colorful layers of mung beans, tapioca pearls, and the vibrant yellow of the duck egg yolks but also allows the texture of each component to shine through. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds or crushed peanuts to add a touch of nuttiness and a delightful crunch. A sprig of mint on the side brings a refreshing contrast to the sweet and creamy flavors.

Additional Garnishes

To personalize your Chè Hột É, consider adding a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness. For a fruity twist, top with a few slices of banana or mango. These additions not only enhance the flavor but also make each serving visually appealing, perfect for impressing guests or making a regular day feel special.

Serving Temperature

Typically, Chè Hột É is enjoyed chilled, making it a refreshing treat on warm days. However, the dessert can also be served warm. Simply warm the coconut milk before assembling if you prefer a comforting, soothing dessert during colder months.


Serve Chè Hột É in individual portions, making it easy for each guest to enjoy their own personalized treat. This approach is especially convenient for parties or family gatherings where you can prepare multiple servings in advance.

By following these serving suggestions, you enhance not only the flavors and textures of Chè Hột É but also the cultural experience, making each spoonful a delightful journey through Vietnamese culinary traditions. Whether served at a casual family dinner or a festive gathering, this dessert is sure to captivate and satisfy everyone at your table.

Make-Ahead Tips

When diving into the delicious world of Chè Hột É, prepping ahead can save you time and enhance the flavors. Here are some smart make-ahead tips that ensure your dessert is not only flavorful but also ready to impress at any gathering.

Soak Mung Beans and Tapioca Pearls

Start by soaking your mung beans and tapioca pearls the night before you plan to make the dessert. This is crucial as it reduces cooking time and helps achieve the perfect texture. Drain them well before cooking.

Prepare Coconut Sauce in Advance

You can make the coconut sauce a day ahead. Simply cook the sauce as instructed, let it cool, and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This not only saves time but also allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Pre-cook Tapioca Pearls

Cook your tapioca pearls until translucent and store them in a little coconut milk. This prevents them from sticking together and keeps them moist and ready for the final dessert assembly. Keep them refrigerated until needed.

Portion and Refrigerate

If you’re planning to serve Chè Hột É to several people, consider portioning the dessert into individual serving bowls before refrigerating. This makes serving effortless and ensures each portion is chilled to perfection, enhancing the overall taste and texture.

By following these make-ahead tips, you simplify the process of creating this traditional Vietnamese dessert, making it convenient and enjoyable to serve Chè Hột É at your next event or family gathering.


Diving into the world of Chè Hột É not only adds a delightful dish to your culinary repertoire but also brings a piece of Vietnamese tradition into your kitchen. By following the tips outlined, you’ll find that making this unique dessert can be both fun and fulfilling. Whether you’re serving it at a family gathering or enjoying it as a cozy treat, Chè Hột É is bound to impress. So why not give it a try and see how these little adjustments can make a big difference in your dessert-making experience?

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