‘Three colour’ desserts are a popular sweet streetfood in Vietnam. They make the perfect end to a meal or after a hearty bowl of pho.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • oil spray
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) coconut cream
  • crushed ice or ice cubes, to serve

Pandan jelly

  • 1 tsp pandan colouring (extract)
  • 110 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tbsp agar-agar powder

Red beans

  • 400 g (14 oz) can red kidney beans
  • 110 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar

Mung beans

  • 200 g (7 oz) mung beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 3 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Setting time: 1 hour

1. Spray a 20 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm loaf (bar tin) with oil spray.

2. To make the pandan jelly, combine the ingredients and 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) water in a saucepan and whisk continuously over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Strain into the prepared tin and set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour until set.

3. To make the red beans, combine the kidney beans and the water from the tin, the sugar and 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, drain the mung beans and place in a saucepan with 300 ml (10 fl oz) water. Bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz to a smooth paste. Set aside.

5. Once the pandan jelly is set, flip it out onto a chopping board and, using a serrated knife, cut into 5 mm (¼ in) wide strips.

6. To assemble, layer the pandan jelly, red beans and mung beans in tall glasses. Drizzle over some coconut cream, top with ice and serve.


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99