Vietnamese Dessert: Longan with Lotus Seed filling tea (Chè Sen Long Nhãn) Posted by: | January 9, 2011
Happy New Year!!!
I’m finally blogging my first entry of 2011, on my new website! I’m so happy that I have finally made my second big move after moving back to Vietnam, which is to move my blog to my own host, with a custom designed template. Finally I can have bigger images and nicer background. Here is a to a brand new year, brand new life, and brand new website. It’s gonna be a good year :)
My first entry of 2011 will be me my Mum’s recipe of my favorite Vietnamese (Hanoi) dessert: Chè Sen Long Nhãn (Longan with Lotus Seed Filling tea). This dessert is very special to me, as I always have fond memories of me and my Mum making it together every summer since my school days. In the burning heat of Hanoi summer, this is a cooling dessert that I always crave for. It is very healthy too, as both Longan and Lotus seeds have calming effect and is great for sleep. I made this dessert this year in the fall when it was still Longan season, but never had the time to blog it. Today seems like a perfect opportunity to feature this special family recipe, as I am submitting this entry to the Delicious Vietnam Jan 2011 blogging event, founded by A Food Lover’s Journey and Ravenous Couple and hosted by Indonesia Eats this month. This monthly blogging event celebrates the wonderful Vietnamese Cuisine being cooked and blogged by Vietnamese food lovers around the world. I’m glad to be part of it for the first time this month!
Vietnamese “Tea” dessert (Chè) is usually a clear syrup, flavored by different kinds of fruits (Longan, Grapefruit), or grains (green bean, red bean, corn, lotus seeds). There is a Che for every season in Hanoi, depending on the seasonal ingredients: in the summer/early fall, we love cooling Longan Che, in Winter we like Ginger flavored Che with Dumplings, Yam Che etc. My favorite Che of all is with Longan and lotus seed filling. I love how fragrant and cooling the syrup is, and you can never get enough of it.
My Mum’s recipe is a specially calming version, as we do not remove the Lotus Seed skin (unblanched), and the syrup produced from this Che is a dark ruby color which I find even prettier than the conventional clear Longan Che. You can only have these unblanched seeds when you buy them fresh from the local market, preferably during its season from Hanoi Westlake for best taste. Otherwise, blanched dried lotus seeds from Supermarkets are fine too.
Chè Sen Long Nhãn (Longan with Lotus Seed Filling tea) - Mum’s recipe
INGREDIENTS (serving: 5 – 6 small bowls)
  • 200g fresh Lotus Seeds (unblanched & cored) or 100g dried Lotus Seeds
  • 300g fresh Longan fruits (thick flesh preferred)
  • 150g sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Tapioca powder
1. Rinse the lotus seeds thoroughly, and simmer in a pot at low heat until tender (1 hour for fresh lotus seeds and 2 hours for dried lotus seeds). Remove the seeds carefully with a slotted spoon onto a plate and leave it to cool. Reserve the Lotus Seed cooking water.
2. Peel the Longans and carefully decore the Longan seeds. Make sure that you do not break the fruit flesh. This is a test of patience and my success rate until this day is about 90%. The torn ones go into my stomach :P.
3. Insert a lotus seed in each Longan. Meanwhile, bring the lotus seed cooking water back to boil, add sugar and the filled longans. Simmer at low heat for about 2 minutes. Mix tapioca powder into a 1/2 a cup water and add the mixture slowly into the pot while stirring. Bring back to boil at low heat, while stirring gently. Remove from heat, scoop into small bowls and let cool. You can either serve it at room temperature or chill it before serving.
Isn’t it amazing how such few, rustic ingredients can create such a rich and flavorful dessert? This is a typical Hanoi dessert that every Hanoian loves and misses while being away from home. I don’t even bother to have it outside as it can never be as good and delicate as my Mum’s. Can’t wait to make it again next Summer!


11 Responses to “Vietnamese Dessert: Longan with Lotus Seed filling tea (Chè Sen Long Nhãn)”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Lowerson and Chi Anh Dao, Chi Anh Dao. Chi Anh Dao said: My 1st entry of 2011 and January #deliciousvietnam entry: Longan Lotus Seed Dessert (Che Sen Long Nhan): [...]

  2. anhsfoodblog says:

    fresh longans!! The ones from Vietnam are the best!

    And thanks for participating!! This event makes us very “Viet” heh? LOL

    • Chi Anh says:

      Thank you. I’m really happy I am now blogging Vietnamese dishes from Vietnam. This is really inspiring. I will strive to learn and share more traditional Vietnamese recipes and participate in many more Delicious Vietnam blogging event!

  3. Thanks for this che recipe, really pretty with the lotus seed stuffed inside the logan fruit. Simple but elegant.

    • Chi Anh says:

      Yes it is a genius way of presenting the dessert right. Many places in Vietnam make this dessert with canned/dried longans and floating lotus seeds, it is definitely not as satisfying and pretty to eat :) Thanks for viewing my blog!

  4. Phuong says:

    Hi there,

    A friend just recommended your website this afternoon because she knew I love cooking. Your blog is really nice and I love what you’re doing right now. Keep up your hard work! Can’t wait for your next posting and see your website grow bigger and bigger.

  5. Chi Anh says:

    Phuong: thanks for your encouraging words :) I hope to see you back here soon! Are you in Vietnam?

  6. Phuong says:

    Hi Chi Anh
    Yes I am. I’m in Hanoi too. It’s great to get to know you.

  7. Nga Nguyen says:

    3pm. I just had a big lunch. And yet, I’m starving just by browsing through your food blog. How wonderful, em! I heard a few things about you (via your big sister, believe it or not), but she never mentioned what a great cook/baker you were. I’m officially your fan ;) Yum… yum…

    Greetings from DC, em! Hope you have a smooth ride back to Vietnam.

    • Chi Anh says:

      Thank you chi Nga :) I didn’t know you are my sister’s friend. Thank you for your encouraging words. I definitely love cooking and baking and hope to whip up more dishes for your enjoyment ;) See you in DC one day!

  8. [...] Chè Sen Long Nhãn (Vietnamese Longan with Lotus Seed Filling Tea) by Chi Anh from Door To My Kitch… [...]

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