Che Bap (Sweet Corn Pudding)

Corn was on sale on the West Coast (6 corn for $1) and my friend told me she was making chè bắp (sweet corn pudding). Luckily, corn was on sale on the East Coast too (12 corn for $2). Consequently, I decided to have a go at it myself.

Took a look at my friend's recipe and another recipe and then just did what seemed right.


8 corn
Pinch of salt.
Tapioca Starch
1/2 cup coconut milk.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

I cut the kernels off the four of the cobs with a knife.
I filled the blender with the kernels.
I filled it with an equal amount of water. The kernels looked like they reached 2.5 mark so I filled the water to the 5 mark.
I pureed the kernels and water.
Then I strained the liquid into a pot.
While that was taking care of itself, I cut the kernels off four other cobs with a knife. I did a better job of getting whole kernels. I later learned its better to err on the side of getting less. Or perhaps its better to do it by hand and avoid using the knife. Perhaps a blunt knife that will only pop the kernels out and not cut into the cob.
I placed the pot over high heat.
I added a pinch of salt.
In a separate pot, I added a 1/2 cup tapioca starch and 2 cups water. I stirred and heated the mixture for a little. Then I turned off the heat.
After 15 minutes I added the tapioca to the corn. I was stirring occasionally.
20 minutes later, I added a 1/2 cup of coconut milk, a 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. At first I was gonna add only 1/2 tsp but changed my mind.
I covered the pot partially and waited another 10 minutes.
Stirring occasionally.

Problem #1: Coagulated tapioca.
Attempted Fix: I scooped out such chunks.
Problem #2: Pieces cut too close to the cob.
Attempted Fix: I think I got out most such chunks.

Possible Causes:
Part of the downfall might be in using tapioca starch instead of tapioca shreds/pearls. Though I doubt this caused any problems.
Maybe too watery. But on the other hand, I felt like if anything there wasn't enough water. Unless maybe the coconut milk tipped the liquid ratio over. After a while, it thickens. So this was no longer an issue.
Perhaps I put in more whole corn than pureed corn. Don't know how this would have affected anything.

It seems to have the right feel to it. Not perfect, but good first try. Definitely has the right smell. I'm okay with how it tastes. But I'd only give it to best friends to try. Then they could be honest with how to fix it. Note: the use of white corn doesn't make the sweet soup look appetizing as would the use of yellow corn.

Difference between coconut cream and coconut milk:
Coconut cream is actually the first pressing of the grated coconut – it is thick and it is pure coconut extract. Coconut milk is the second or subsequent pressings and water is added in to extract more milk out of the grated coconut. (
See also the Wikipedia articles on coconut milk and coconut cream.

I also learned about starch thickeners. "Cornstarch, arrowroot, and tapioca are the most popular starch thickeners" (Previous Link). These two particular paragraphs were relevant to my use of tapioca starch:
regular tapioca = small pearl tapioca Notes: These are small beads of tapioca that are used to make tapioca pudding. The beads don't dissolve completely, so they end up as small, squishy, gelatinous balls that are suspended in the pudding. Don't confuse this with instant tapioca, which is granulated and often used to thicken fruit pie fillings, or with pearl tapioca, which has much larger balls. Substitutes: instant tapioca (Tapioca pudding made with this will end have smaller gelatinous balls. Use half as much.)
tapioca starch = tapioca flour = cassava flour = yucca starch = almidon de yuca Notes: Tapioca is a good choice for thickening pie fillings, since it thickens at a lower temperature than cornstarch, remains stable when frozen, and imparts a glossy sheen. Many pie recipes call for instant tapioca instead of tapioca starch, but instant tapioca doesn't dissolve completely and leaves small gelatinous blobs suspended in the liquid. This isn't a problem in a two-crust pies, but the blobs are more noticeable in single-crust pies. Tapioca starch is finely ground so that it dissolves completely, eliminating the gelatinous blob problem. The starch is also sometimes used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces, but the glossy finish looks a bit unnatural in these kinds of dishes. It works quickly, though, so it's a good choice if you want to correct a sauce just before serving it. Some recipes for baked goods also call for tapioca flour because it imparts a chewier texture. Substitutes: instant tapioca (Also good for thickening pie fillings. If you like, pulverize the beads in a blender before using.) OR Instant ClearJel® OR sweet rice flour (also remains stable when frozen) OR cornstarch (doesn't dissolve as easily, separates if frozen) OR arrowroot (separates if frozen) OR potato starch (separates if frozen) OR rice starch (separates if frozen) OR instant flour (use twice as much; sauce will be opaque, not clear; separates if frozen)

Phone Call with Mom: [20100814]
My mom heard I was making this and called me to talk about it. She started the conversation on the coconut milk. Then there was the cutting of the corn. Then there was what sort of corn to use (i.e., canned). Then the most valuable information came up when I asked about the tapioca.

In any case, tips I can remember from the conversation:
After cutting the corn off the cob, boil the cobs in water. Then use that water to blend the corn. This should add flavor. If not, at least drink the broth for health reasons!
Dissolve the tapioca in cold water. (Haha, I don't know why I decided to heat it up)
Don't put in too much tapioca at once, it'll clump. (Haha, the tapioca was by itself, and that's why it clumped. I saw it happen, but I thought it was natural. Now I know why you soak the tapioca separately. Then add it to the corn little by little)
Use tapioca sparingly, as necessary. (This makes more sense)
When I mentioned I used white corn, she said that perhaps white corn is sweeter than yellow corn.

[20161015 Edit]

Relevant Links:
Check out my friend's chè bắp post.
I also took a look at another chè bắp recipe.

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