‘Da Ua’ [Pronounce: like the french yaourt]
There is something incredibly addictive and delicious about Vietnamese yoghurt, it deceivingly looks like plain old natural yoghurt in a jar but its far from what we get in the West – that sour, heavy and boring flavour, tart as a knife on your tongue! making your face crunch in dispute.
Vietnamese yoghurt has a light texture and consistency, tasting every bit perfect in balance of sweet and sour, tanging your appetite with the most hankering desire to have more.
When I went back to Vietnam for the first time since our exile (in the early80s) in 2000, we were in a mosquito ridden hotel of tiny cabins made out of beach logs in Ca Na. We were the only visitors in this most desolate of places. The beach stretched for miles of crystal clear blue water and pure, fine white sand. No Vietnamese person ever wanted to be there, there was nothing but the beach and the scornful sun.
In the shade of the reception area, stood a pool table and the only sound to be heard are of the waves lazily swaying and that of a humming fridge, storing a few cans of Pepsi cola and a few jars of the white yoghurt. Immediately, I bought one and it was a moment, the moment I had found the taste of my childhood arriving onto my twenty something self as if no time had passed. I yelped and rejoiced with such delight to my crew members (was shooting a film), yoghurt! yoghurt! I exclaimed! Try it! Try it!
They were kind of like, whatever! its just yoghurt, whats the big deal?
O. My. God. said my camera assistant guy, Till, that is the best yoghurt I have ever tasted! Mmm!
Vietnamese yoghurt is consumed at any time of the day as a snack or dessert, even after a bowl of pho for breakfast. It can be a frozen yoghurt, a yoghurt drink over crushed ice or as it is in a jar. Last year, when I went back to Vietnam, my cousin showed me how to make it. She puts each portion into a little plastic bag, puts it in the freezer when its done and sucks at it from one corner end of the bag, like a lolly in a bag.
Makes approximately 2 litres
Note, Vietnamese people do not really use measuring devises, all is done by cans, packets and spoons.
1 can condensed milk (392g)
1 can boiling hot water
2 cans room temperature water
200ml sweetened Long Life milk
1 jar of natural yoghurt or a Vietnamese yoghurt
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, use the can of condensed milk to measure water and mix. Fill up your packets, jars or desired container and cover with plastic bands or cling film.
Place the yoghurts in another container such as a pot then place that inside a bigger container such as a bigger pot. Pour boiling water into the big pot and place a lid over it, seal in a plastic bag for at least 3 hours, more if its a cold season for the yoghurt to ferment.
Refrigerate or freeze.
Always save the last one to make more yoghurt.
Here, in London, I have experimented with Vietnamese frozen yoghurt by mixing one large tub of natural yoghurt with 100g of condensed milk. Then putting that mixture into my Cuisinart Professional Ice Cream maker for 30 minutes for an instant frozen yoghurt. Tastes very similar to what you get in Vietnam, however slightly richer and heavier in texture. Still great though!
Fresh fruit and flavours can also be added to the mixture 5 mins towards completion or serve with fresh fruit pieces such as peaches, strawberries etc. This is not common in Vietnam, however, I have had frozen yoghurt blended with coconut and avocado and its one of the best things I have tasted. Experiments and recipes to follow…
This post is part of the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream on Kavey Eats.