With Christmas just around the corner, I immediately think of sweets I ate around the holidays. After thinking about the different che I had over the years, I realized I had forgotten the one that I had the most: Che Ba Ba. Che Ba Ba is perfect for the holidays because it has all of the warmth from a variety of potatoes and a delicious richness from the coconut milk, making it the perfect closer to your holiday meal.
My version is made with taro, gold sweet potato, and purple sweet potato. Though Che Ba Ba is traditionally made with cassava as well, we really enjoyed the different types of sweet potato in lieu of cassava.
Make the che as sweet as you like! I prefer my che less sweet in order to taste more of the coconut, but do feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste! Enjoy! Merry Christmas! Happy eating!
Music provided by Jacques Offenbach’s Overture to “Orpheus in the Underworld”
For anyone who has had Banh Cam (or Banh Ran if your family is from northern Vietnam), you know that it can have different fillings depending on the bakery you purchase it from. If you buy Banh Cam in a Chinese bakery, it is filled with red bean paste. If you buy it in a Vietnamese bakery, it can be filled with a sweet mung bean paste. Occasionally, you’ll even see it with a coconut mung bean mix inside.
I always felt that the sweetness of banh cam was too overwhelming, and consequently, when I decided to make Banh Cam in the Fierro house, I wanted to add a savory element to the mung bean filling I remembered eating as a kid. After a bit of thinking, I decided on one of my favorite pork products for flavor, bacon.
For my version of Banh Cam, I use a modified Banh It filling. The outcome is a crispy, chewy, sweet yet slightly salty, and creamy bite. Banh Cam requires a bit of patience and love when it comes to preparing the batches, but I promise you’ll enjoy the final treat. This recipe makes at least 10 Banh Cam, so be prepared to share them because they are quite rich! Enjoy!
Music: Claude Debussy: Chansons de Bilitis.