Cendol is a Southeast Asian dessert/drink of worm-like pandan jellies, mixed with palm-sugar syrup and topped with sweetened coconut milk. In Vietnam, cendol is a popular street food known as Che Banh Lot.
Che Banh Lot literally translates to “Fallen Cake,” which refers to how the pandan worm-like jellies are made. The pandan batter “falls through” some kind of kitchen equipment with large holes to produce the round jellies with tapered ends, resembling little green worms (Yum!). Usually this kitchen equipment is a potato ricer, a large slotted spoon or a colander with large holes.
You will often find Vietnamese desserts topped with a rich and sweet coconut sauce called Nuoc Cot Dua. I like to call this sauce the Asian whipped cream. It is made by simmering coconut milk and sugar, and thickened with a bit of tapioca starch. Pandan leaves (the vanilla extract of Southeast Asia) is then added to steep and flavor the sauce.
Silken Tofu in Ginger Syrup (Tau Hu Nuoc Duong) is a light and delicate Vietnamese/Chinese dessert. You may have seen this dessert as one of the many offerings at Dim Sum. In Vietnam, this dessert is commonly sold as street food.
My favorite breakfast item during my stay in Vietnam was Xoi La Cam, a sweet version of glutinous rice. Xoi La Cam is made from naturally dying the rice grains purple/magenta from boiling Magenta leaves. It is then steamed with coconut milk and sugar, then topped with a mixture of freshly grated coconuts, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, sugar and salt.
I rarely drink Starbucks, but when there's Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour that comes once a year, "venti white chocolate mocha frappuccino with extra whip, please!" It's sugary, high-calorie frappuccino literally everyday for the whole week. All self control (and my waistline) goes out the window. Now that the evil (but fabulous) promotion is over, it's time to detox with a healthy alternative and a summer time favorite: Vietnamese Avocado Milk Shake or Sinh Tố Bơ.
Even though it's still August, I'm counting down the days till Fall. With Fall, comes pumpkin spice EVERY. THING. There are pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course, pumpkin spice cupcakes. I have also seen pumpkin spice hand lotion! I need to get my pumpkin spice game on so I'm getting a head start with my favorite super-moist-utterly-delicious-and-extremely-simple pumpkin spice cupcake recipe with a traditional fluffy and smooth cream cheese frosting.
The end of Summer is near. While I am counting down the days when school starts again, I'm spending the remaining few days of summer vacation with them, testing and baking various cupcake recipes. When I say baking with my kids, I mean them licking the spatulas and bowls clean, and leaving a bigger mess for me to clean. Fun times.
One of my mommy super powers is sneaking vegetables into my kids' diet. My kids aren't too fond of vegetables if they see them. With the garden growing abundantly with zucchinis this Summer, I knew exactly how to use them up and how to have the kids enjoy them at the same time: make zucchini bread. As soon as the zucchini bread comes out of the oven, they get gobbled up quickly, often times without chewing.
The best strawberries are the ones you grow yourself. They taste incredibly sweeter than store-bought strawberries. The ones I grow are super tiny, but they are packed with great strawberry flavor. Every day during the summer, I harvest strawberries as soon as they ripen because I learned that if I don't get to them first, other critters will. Sometimes there are way too many strawberries to eat at once so I usually cook them down into a thick sauce and store it for future use in various desserts.