Chè Khoai Ba Màu – a Tricolor Dessert

Khoai lang aka sweet potatoes are “a rich source of fibre as well as containing a good array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they’re a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C. One of the key nutritional benefits of sweet potato is that they’re high in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed.” – BBC Good Food.

Growing up, I have heard many stories from my parents and other people about the time during the war when they did not have enough rice to eat and they had to combine jasmine rice with sweet potatoes (cơm độn khoai) or jasmine rice with cassava (cơm độn sắn) to survive the day.

For my parents, sweet potato is somehow a reminder of food insufficiency and a tough time in life that they would never be able to forget. For me, sweet potato is an essence of childhood. I remember “ai khoai nóng đâyyyyy” (who wants hot sweet potatoes?) from the lady who sold boiled sweet potatoes on the back of her bicycle that passed by my house every morning. My mom would call her in and buy some boiled sweet potatoes for me to bring to school – that had been one of my simple breakfasts before instant noodles replaced them (yes, you read it right! instant noodles used to be a trendy food back then…). Being a bit older, I could buy myself some “khoai lang chiên” (fried sweet potatoes) before my evening class – A crunchy, sweet snack with a starchy texture that made my mouth watering every time I stood next to the stall waiting to get my snack. I normally dipped my fried sweet potatoes in “tương ớt” (chilli sauce) and guys! It was ACE!!

Sweet potato is also a core ingredient in many other Vietnamese dishes, especially in our famous sweet dessert – “Chè”  . Today, I would like to introduce to you all an easy, colorful and tasty Vietnamese dessert which will also help your bowel movement: Vietnamese Sweet Potatoes Dessert aka chè khoai lang ba màu.

Here is what you need:

  1. 1 normal sweet potato (colour: orange)
  2. 2 purple sweet potatoes – I use 2 because they are much smaller than the normal one (colour: purple)
  3. 1 brazilian sweet potato (this potato is a bit long in size, with a purple like skin but the inside has a cream color)
  4. Tapioca starchTips: If you want your sweet potatoes balls to be a bit harder, use more tapioca starch. If you want them to be soft, use less tapioca starch. I just use tapioca starch as an “adhesive” so I would not add them excessively. I normally buy 2 packs of tapioca starch (500g each), then weight my sweet potatoes and decide how much I want to add in. For example if I have 200gr normal sweet potatoes, I would add in 100~150gr tapioca starch.
  5. Coconut flakes (optional)
  6. Walnuts (optional)
  7. 500ml coconut milk (you can always add more or less depends on how much sweet potatoes balls you have. I like my chè to have more broth and coconut flavour, so I normally use more coconut milk.)
  8. Sugar (I don’t put the amount of sugar here because the sweet potatoes are sweet already and it is totally up to your taste whether you want them sweeter or not. However, I would recommend 100gr sugar for a slightly sweetness in the broth)
  9. 5-6 slices of gingers
  10. Crushed peanuts and toasted sesame seeds to garnish.

Now Let’s get your hands dirty!!

  1. All the sweet potatoes: cut into 3 pieces then steam or boil them in different pots (so the color of the purple potatoes won’t go into the other two)
  2. Put the steamed/boiled sweet potatoes in 3 different bowl and mash themmm!
  3. Add tapioca starch in each bowl (the amount of tapioca starch depends on how you like the texture to be) then mix them well. I use ratio 1:2 for mine ( 100 gr tapioca starch for 200 gr sweet potatoes)
  4. Do you remember how you used to play with Play-Doh? Just use that skill and make some colourful balls from the 3 mixtures you have. This is how they look like:
You actually be creative here!!! I mix my orange sweet potatoes with coconut flakes and put half a walnut in the cream sweet potatoes balls.
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then slowly slide the balls in (I boil the brazilian ones first, then the normal potatoes and the purple ones at last so the colours won’t get mixed). You know that they’re ready when they start floating on top. To check, just take one out and try it. If it is ready, you can take the rest out. I would recommend to put them in 3 different bowls to keep the colours as it is.😁
  2. Making the broth: pour the coconut milk into a pot (or you can pour out the water from the pot you use to boil the sweet potatoes balls and reuse it), add in the sugar, bring into a boil then add the boiled sweet potatoes balls in along with the ginger slices.


  1. Now serve in a bowl and garnish with crushed peanuts and toasted sesame seeds if you like 😋😋😋
My Tricolor Dessert in a box – you can store this up to 4 days in the fridge.

There you go, a simple dessert to make and good for your digestion. I hope you like this colourful and delicious dessert. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

——–Bon appétit! 👩‍🍳——-


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aaron says:

    Tasty indeed! :d


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