Vietnamese Soy Milk Agar Pudding with Pandan Coconut Cream Milk and Ginger Syrup – Che Thach Dau Nanh

The following pictorial recipe is an inspiration from my friend, Helen Tran’s soy milk agar pudding with ginger syrup and pandan flavored coconut cream milk.   It’s now my favorite Vietnamese dessert of all.  This is not tofu because tofu requires a coagulant to firm up.  Agar agar is a natural gelatinous thickening substance made from a particular red algae.

The important key is using just enough of agar agar powder to thicken the soy milk so that it is not too liquidy nor too firm, more like a mimic of tofu.  I made my soy milk from scratch.  I edited this pictorial to show the two version of how I made the pudding and the jelly just by the amount of agar agar powder used.

  • prep time: 2 days or 3 hours total (I soak the soy beans overnight.)
  • cook time: 2 hours total
  • serving: 2 quarts or 10 small containers

Ingredients:

Note:  You’ll need to double up ingredients for pandan flavored coconut cream milk and ginger syrup to make both the soy milk pudding and the jelly version.

For the soy milk pudding:

  • 2 quart/liter fresh soy milk
  • 3/4 Tbsp (or a little less) agar agar powder + 1/2 cup water

Note: Refer to my Pandan Flavored Soy Milk pictorial but omit the pandan extract and sugar to make the plain soy milk for this pudding recipe.

For the soy milk jelly: 

  • 2 quart / liter fresh soy milk
  • 1.5 to 2 Tbsp agar agar powder + 1/2 cup water
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup pandan flavored coconut cream milk (see recipe below)
  • about 1 cup ginger syrup (see recipe below)

For the pandan flavored coconut cream milk:

  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream milk
  • 5-7 fresh pandan leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

For the ginger syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 – 8 Tbsp (pieces) of pure palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup mined ginger
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Direction:

Day 1 – 

1.  Make the pandan flavored coconut cream milk.  Wash and wipe the pandan leaves dry.  Cut it into small pieces and put it in a small sauce pan.  Pour in the coconut cream milk.  Cook on medium heat (#7 heat setting).  Stir occasionally.  When coconut milk boils, lower heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes to extract the pandan leaves.  The coconut cream milk won’t turn green but I finally figured using at least five or more leaves will bring out the nice pandan aroma and flavor.

Pour in the 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cornstarch with water mixture into the coconut cream milk.  Stir with a whisk for a few seconds.  Quickly remove the coconut cream milk mixture from the heat and strain through a large mesh spoon to separate the pandan leaves.  Discard the pandan leaves and let the coconut cream milk mixture cool.  This suppose to taste slightly salty to balance out the sweet ginger syrup.

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2.  Make the sweet ginger syrup.  In a small sauce pan, melt the 1.5 cups of light brown sugar and pure palm sugar with 1 cup of water on medium high heat.  When the sugar has melted, add in the sliced or minced ginger. If you are making the soy milk jelly version, you must minced the ginger well.  Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until you reach desired thickness.  You want it syrupy.  Let cool and transfer to container.

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3.  Soak the soy beans for at least 8 to 12 hours.  I soak the soy beans overnight.

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Day 2: 

4.  Make the raw soy milk.  Soak the 2 cups of raw soy beans for at least 8 to 12 hours in 10 cups of water.  Refer to my Pandan Flavored Soy Milk recipe to make the soy milk.  Just omit the sugar and flavoring extract for this recipe.

Soy milk collage3

2.  Boil the soy milk with agar agar.  When you are ready to cook the raw soy milk, bring it to a light boil and lower to medium heat for 5 minutes.  Discard the bubbly scum or bubbly surface.

Important notes:

  • To make the soy milk pudding, use no more than 3/4 tablespoon of agar agar powder.  Mix the agar agar powder with a half cup of water and stir until well blended.  Add in the agar agar powder mixture into the soy milk and stir simultaneously for a minute.  Remove from heat and pour the soy milk mixture into glass or plastic containers.
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  • To make the soy milk jelly,  pour in the pandan flavored coconut cream milk and ginger syrup that you made on Day 1 with the soymilk when you are bringing it to a boil.  Stir so the mixture is blended.  Then add about 1.5 to 2 tablespoon of agar agar with 1/2 cup of water into the mixture.  Stir for a minute and pour into glass, plastic, or silicon containers.
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Important: About 15 minutes after pouring the soy milk agar agar mixture into containers, carefully discard the bean curd that builds up on the top surface.  This will make the texture look smooth and taste delicious.  If you wait too long to do this, the surface will not be smooth at all.  Let cool and refrigerate to chill the soy milk agar pudding or jelly.

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Once the soy milk agar pudding is chilled, top it off with some sweet ginger syrup and coconut cream milk mixture.  Stir and enjoy!  It’s now my newest addiction and my favorite dessert now.  My kids doesn’t like the pudding version, but loves the jelly version.  They even ate the minced ginger that was mixed in with the jelly too.

Che Thach Dau Nanh 070619 pudding collage
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Behind the scene: 

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One comment

  1. This was the first time I had this dessert. It’s super refreshing with a perfect balance of sweet, savory (creamy), and an “al dente” bite to the agar agar pudding.

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