Vietnamese Dessert: Chè Cốm Posted by: | July 31, 2011

The past 2 months have been eventful and turbulent at the same time, which unfortunately kept me away from this little blog that normally would be a reflection of my life status. If you see entries coming up regularly, it means I’m contented, stable and happy. If you see no entries for more than 3 weeks, it means I’m stressed, traveling too much and busy. If you see no entries for more than a month, oh boy, it spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.


I know I needed a strong excuse that would make me come back to this blog this month and straighten myself up once and for all. And who do I look for? Of course, my favorite Vietnamese food blogger sisters, Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey and Phuoc from Phuoc’n Delicious. We came up with the idea to do a “Chè Cook-Off” together. Each of us will make a different type of this typical Vietnamese dessert, which comes in a plethora of colors and flavors, varying from region to region in Vietnam. So Anh made this classic and simple “Chè Hoa Cau” (Mung Bean Che) and Phuoc made a Luke Nguyen’s version of  “Chè Bắp” (Sweet Corn Che).


I was the last among the girls to make my Chè. I made Chè Cốm, which is a Hanoian classic dessert made with Cốm. Cốm is Vietnamese young rice kernels, only seasonal in the fall, and is a typical Hanoian snack especially during Mid-Autumn festival. I love Cốm. It’s very fragrant, chewy, sweet, nutty, and goes really well as sprinklers on top of bananas or yogurt. If you are familiar with Trang Tien Icecream in Hanoi, you should definitely try out the Cốm flavored Icecream as well. Don’t worry, the green is not dye. Cốm actually has a very nice light green color. Here is how Cốm is typically sold in Hanoi (the only place that makes Cốm in Hanoi is Vòng Village, which happens to be just behind my office. And No. My office is not in a village!):




Chè Cốm is incredibly easy to make, like most of other Che. All flavors come from the Cốm and fragrant Bột Sắn (Arrowroot Starch/Powder). The Vietnamese Bột Sắn is pre-scented with Jasmine flower, which makes the Che lightly perfumed with Jasmine smell. Heavenly. If you can’t find Arrowroot Starch in your area, you can also substitute it with Tapioca starch, and a few drops of Vanilla extract or Pomelo/Jasmine flower extract would be a bonus.



We enjoyed our Chè Cốm on this rainy Sunday afternoon, after chilling it in the fridge for at least an hour. It was a velvety smooth, fragrant syrup that tastes cooling & light. The Cốm is soft and chewy, absorbing all the sweetness from the Arrowroot Starch syrup.


My Chè Cốm will also be part of this month’s Delicious Vietnam #16 roundup, which is hosted by yours truly this round! Stay tuned for the final round up of all Delicious Vietnam entries up on my blog next month.


Chè Cốm (Vietnamese Young Rice Syrup dessert)





Servings: 3

  • 100g Cốm (Vietnamese Young Rice)
  • 3 tbsp Bột Sắn (Vietnamese Arrowroot Starch) or Tapioca Starch
  • 4-5 tbsp granulated white sugar (to taste)
  • 400-500ml water




1. Boil a pot of 400-500ml water. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium and add sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.


2. Mix Arrowroot Starch in a bowl of water (just enough to cover the powder) until evenly distributed. Add the starch solution in a steady stream into the pot, still on medium heat, while stirring, until the syrup thickens to desired consistency.



3. Add the Cốm handful by handful into the syrup, while stirring. Once all Cốm has been added, take the Che off the heat immediately. The Cốm will continue to cook in the syrup. If you leave it on the heat for too long, the Cốm will get soggy and too sticky.


The whole process takes about 10-15 minutes. It’s that simple. But like all other Hanoian desserts, it’s just as elegant. If you want to try it, you’d better try it soon, as Cốm season doesn’t last long, and dried Cốm is no comparison to freshly made, seasonal Cốm.


Lastly, don’t forget to check out the other two Chè by Anh & Phuoc:

Chè Hoa Cau (Vietnamese Mung Bean Soup Dessert) by A Food Lover’s Journey

Chè Bắp (Sweet Corn Pudding) by Phuoc’n Delicious


And for those who still can’t get enough of Che, here is my Chè Sen Long Nhãn (Longan & Lotus Seed Che).


9 Responses to “Vietnamese Dessert: Chè Cốm”

  1. [...] out the other entries of the Chè Off. Chè hoa cau (Vietnamese mung bean dessert soup) by Anh and Chè cốm (Vietnamese Young Rice Syrup dessert) by ChiAnh. [...]

  2. Definitely a dish I am not familiar with but it looks wonderful. I know there won’t be a possibility for me to find the fresh young rice but hopefully the dried stuff will do it justice. Thanks for enlighting me :)

  3. Chi Anh says:

    Phuoc: Yeah you can definitely try the dried ones, they probably cook a bit longer. Let me know how it goes!

  4. vietnamese says:

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You already know, many people are hunting around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  5. Don says:

    Hi Anh,

    Your blog is great!

    I was wondering if you had 5 minutes to let me pick your brain on Chè. I am doing research for a small presentation I need to make on Vietnamese Chè. Can you give me any information you know about Chè? I am having a hard time tracing where Chè comes from. Do you have any unique stories about Chè or any Vietnamese folklore surrounding Chè?

    I appreciate any help you can give me to further my knowledge on Vietnamese culture.


    • Chi Anh says:

      Hi Don! Thanks for dropping by my blog. As far as I know, Che has an untraceable origin. It seems it’s always existed in Vietnamese cuisine and many age-old folk songs or poems mention the various Che dishes since the beginning of Vietnamese culture. Each part of Vietnam has distinct types of Che. In the North, Che tends to be clear, simple but elegant with only one main ingredient like mungbeans, corn or yam, while Southern Che tends to be a colorful mixture of different ingredients like jellies, beans with coconut milk (seemingly influenced by Thai or Malaysian desserts).
      That’s all I know… but Wikipedia seems to have a good collection of all Che varieties… have you checked that out?
      Good luck with your presentation!

      Chi Anh.

  6. Stellaparak says:

    Thanks for promoting traditional recipes of your country.

  7. [...] Delicious – Sweet corn pudding Door to my kitchen – Cốm pudding [...]

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