The inhabitants in the region (of An Giang Province) recount that in order to yield fruit and juice, it takes 40 years for the palmyra tree to grow; still the figure comes up to 100 years if we want to have palmyra of high quality. Yet, this tree is “hard to please”: to obtain syrup for making sugar, every day people have to climb up an elevation equal to a five-story building to take down the pipe having awaited overnight to catch syrup, drop by drop. Each tree yields one liter of “honey” syrup; 4 liters of syrup produces 1kg sugar. The copra of palmyra fruit is plain in flavor. It requires skillful cooking for the sweet flavor of palmyra sugar and syrup to penetrate through. Not until having eaten a bowl of palmyra sweet soup properly cooked can we appreciate why this dish requires such painstaking process: the Che is fragrant and elegantly sweet even more than fire-coconut juice and its subtle aroma breezing around like scent of forest flowers. The palmyra copra is crunchy, soft yet deliciously glutinous, more tasteful than any jelly ever.
PALMYRA CHEPrint This
- 300g palmyra copra
- 50g mung bean
- (half-broken, unshelled)
- 50g palmyra sugar
- 500ml fresh coconut water
- 3 pandan leaves
- 300g grated coconut copra
- 100ml lukewarm water
Preparation: Rinse well the mung beans and soak them in water for 1 hour. Dice the palmyra copra into cubes of 1.5cm. Rinse and tie the pandan leaves into a bunch. Pour 100ml lukewarm water into grated coconut copra, squeeze out for condense coconut milk.
Cook: Cook the mung beans in fresh coconut water with pandan leaves for 15 minutes; add palmyra copra and 50g of sugar, bring to a boil for 5 more minutes, taste to favor, turn off the stove.
Ladle the sweet soup into small bowls, pour the condensed coconut milk on top of the Che.
Serve hot with flakes of roasted sesame. Serve cold with shaved ice.
The mung bean is well cooked with nutty flavor, the palmyra copra absorbs sugar, the syrup has a slight sweetness, fragrant with pandan leaves and palmyra scent.
Palmyra copra can be replaced by copra of nipa.
Smaller leaves of pandan help increase the scent.
Coconut milk can be cooked together with mung bean and syrup.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish is useful for persons with weakened immune systems, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, indigestion and children with measles, fever, restlessness, pains at joints, constipation, difficult urination, yellow urine. It can help prevent strokes.
LE HOANG KHA Tan Tre Xanh Restaurant (An Giang Province) Champion in the Mekong Delta Preliminary Round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013