‘Che Nhan Nhuc’
The Vietnamese love dessert (che) which is enjoyed throughout the day as a healthy and refreshing snack to keep up your energy levels. Vietnamese food is already quite sweet as the main philosophy of this cuisine is the fine balance between salty, sweet and sour. However, most desserts are not usually liked to be very sweet – and there is also a fine balance to making the perfect (not too) sweet dessert.
The Vietnamese believe firmly that food is medicine and always draw natural ingredients such as herbs, fruits, vegetables, beans and seaweed together to create a delicious yet very nutritious dish, using natural flavours instead of processed sugar, salt etc.
In Che Nhan Nhuc – dried logans are rehydrated in a cool pandan leaves infusion, that had been slowly boiled for about half an hour. The sweetness in the dried fruit adds sweetness to the infused water. Lotus seeds for the nutty texture and finely sliced seaweed for the crunch. We also usually make our own jelly out of seaweed agar – a natural (vegan) source of gelatin for the refreshing touch.
Logans are like lychees but much more succulent and sweeter and really resemble eye balls with its black seed in the middle and are meant to be very good for relaxation in Chinese medicine. Dried logans are thought to be very good for your memory and concentration with a high concentration in iron and fibre – and are also ate to alleviate stomach aches and insomia. However, it is high in heat and is known as a ‘hot’ food which is good for when your body is too ‘cold’
(more on this soon)
In order for this dessert to work , you should balance the ‘hot’ logans (if you eat too much, you can get a sore throat or pimples (says my mum)) with the ‘cool’ lotus seeds which is the refreshing, cleansing element.
Lotus seeds are classified as astringents, they benefit the spleen, kidney, and heart and are usually eaten at the Lunar New Year in celebration – so it is very special and is used through Chinese medicine for all types of cures.
As for pandan leaves they are used for all types of things because they consist of essential oils and has major health benefits that aid against headaches, fevers, chest pains, arthritis and all sorts.
Ingredients & Method
Pandan Leaves – infuse about 10 leaves in gentle boiling water for about half hour
Lotus Seed – soak over night til soft
Dried Logans – soak in pandan infusion
Wakame Seaweed – soak and wash well as its very slimy and slice thinly
Combine and sweeten if necessary to your desire. Should be enjoyed at room temperature or slightly colder but not ice cold. This is an ideal dessert for a dinner party because you can prepare this well in advance. When the time comes just ladle into a glass or a bowl and serve.
I’ve got so much to learn! What a great way to a healthy lifestyle: eating deliciously and well and reaping all the benefits – of natural ingredients.