These easy Asian desserts recipes will give you a taste of the sweet side of Southeast Asia from your home. If you’re missing travelling and eating your way through Asia and are particularly missing Southeast Asian desserts, then make one of our super-easy recipes for our favourite Asian sweets, from mango and sticky rice to Thai tea ice cream.
If you’re a lover of Asian sweets, especially Southeast Asian treats, then we have some easy Asian desserts recipes for you. While I’m a big fan of desserts in Asian, I absolutely adore Southeast Asian sweets the most. And what’s not to love?
Southeast Asian desserts are distinguished by tropical fruits, such as mango, banana and coconut, ingredients that add texture such as sago, tapioca and sesame seeds, and spices such as star anise and cinnamon. You can eat them warm in winter and chilled with crushed ice in summer.
If you’re missing travel as much as these two food and travel writers who have stayed in the same city since the start of the pandemic, then make our easy Asian desserts recipes to transport you back here. And when you can travel again, make Southeast Asia your priority. The region needs you.
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Easy Asian Desserts Recipes for a Taste of the Sweet Side of Southeast Asia
These easy Asian desserts recipes will give you a taste of the sweet side of Southeast Asia from your home.
Thai Mango Sticky Rice Recipe by Chef David Thompson
This Thai mango sticky rice recipe adapted from chef David Thompson’s Thai Street Food cookbook makes the much-loved Thai dessert kao niaw mamuang tops our easy Asian desserts recipes. Despite the detailed recipe notes it’s nowhere near as intimidating as it looks and this jasmine scented sweet will take you back to eating on the streets of Thailand. Making the recipe became my mission after the mango rains started last year. I’d been ogling the green mangoes that hung from the towering mango trees in our Siem Reap neighbourhood and the second I got my hands on some I set to work. Less than 90 minutes later, after all the bits easily came together, I wondered what on earth I’d been concerned about. My lesson: don’t let detailed recipes of the kind you find in chef’s cookbooks deter you. Those finicky directions for plunging knotted pandan leaves in water and perfuming rice with fresh jasmine flowers are there for a reason. Embrace them and delight in the results.
Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding Recipe for Hoi An Style Che Bap
This easy Vietnamese sweet corn pudding recipe makes chè bắp in the Hoi An style of Central Vietnam and it’s another one of our easy Asian desserts recipes. Chè bắp is also a Southern Vietnamese sweet corn pudding, while chè ngô is the Northern Vietnamese sweet corn pudding. We lived in the ancient port town’s atmospheric historic centre before we moved to Cambodia’s Siem Reap. This recipe makes the chè bắp that we used to eat as a late afternoon treat, perched on the lovely chè seller’s tiny wooden stools on the sunny square by the Hoi An river. Chè is a style of Vietnamese dessert that can be like a pudding, a porridge, even a soup. Some chè sellers offer a dozen or more sweets, while some, like our chè bắp vendor in Hoi An, specialise in just a few. If you’ve been to Hoi An and tried this, it will take you right back to snacking on this sweet on those tiny stools.
Cambodian Banana Coconut Tapioca Pudding Recipe with Sesame and Star Anise
This banana coconut tapioca pudding recipe makes Cambodia’s chek ktis, a sweet and creamy aromatic dessert of stewed banana in coconut milk and tapioca pearls, that’s perfumed with star anise. Garnish with grated coconut, add a drizzle of coconut cream, and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving. It’s sweet Cambodia in a bowl, it’s sublime, and it’s another one of our easy Asian desserts recipes. Traditionally, palm sugar was used in this dessert, and I much prefer the caramel-like taste, however, it results in a darker colour that’s not considered to be attractive by local cooks, so these days Cambodians often use white sugar. I did spot some palm sugar from Thailand on Amazon if you want to try the more traditional style. Unless you can get hold of some coconuts to press your own coconut cream and coconut milk as they do here, tinned coconut milk and canned coconut cream are just fine, as are dried grated coconut or desiccated coconut.
Our Best Mango Sago Recipe for an Easy Healthy Creamy Mango Sago Pudding
Our best mango sago recipe makes an easy, healthy, creamy Southeast Asian mango sago pudding made with just five ingredients, making it another one of our easy Asian desserts recipes. It’s also made without cream – no coconut cream, no dairy cream, no condensed milk, nada. The secret to the creaminess is frozen mangos, just like with our mango smoothie – which also makes this mango sago pudding healthier than most. This is the best mango sago recipe if you love a mango sago pudding or mango sago cups but you don’t love the half cup of sugar or cups of coconut cream and condensed milk that go into this delicious Southeast Asian dessert. Don’t get me wrong, I adore coconut cream and condensed milk works for many desserts. They’re just not needed here, this is so good.
Thai Tea Ice Cream Recipe and an Easy No Churn Ice Cream Recipe for Any Flavour
This Thai tea ice cream recipe makes the easiest no churn ice cream that you’ll ever make using just four ingredients: Thai tea mix, whipping cream, condensed milk, and salt, making it another one of our easy Asian desserts recipes. The flavour will take you right back to Thailand, but you can really use any flavour. If you’ve been to Thailand and tried the bright orange Thai iced tea at a coffee shop or local restaurant and you loved it, then you are going to love this Thai tea ice cream. If you tasted the soft serve Thai tea ice cream at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market, then you’re going to adore this. If you’re not a fan of Thai tea – and this is what I’m talking about: ChaTraMue Extra Gold Thai Tea Mix or Number One Brand Original Thai Tea Mix Red Label – then you can add anything to our recipe, from vanilla to chocolate chips, ground peanuts to crushed biscuits. No ice cream maker needed, just an electric hand beater to whip heavy whipping cream until peaks form, then you fold in the sweetened condensed milk. The only other things you’ll need are a teapot with stainless steel filter or aThai tea filter or tea strainer and a large ice cream scoop.
Caramelised Pumpkin Sago Pudding Recipe for Cambodian’s Borbor Lapov
This caramelised pumpkin sago pudding recipe makes a sweet Cambodian dessert called borbor lapov. Made with pumpkin and sago pearls – lapov is pumpkin in Khmer while a borbor is a porridge – it’s a sweet porridge eaten as a street food snack and is the last of our easy Asian desserts recipes. At home, you can add vanilla or coconut ice cream and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The caramelised pumpkin combines with the sago pearls to create a pudding that is sweet and textured and, if you serve it warm, also very comforting. Traditionally, the pumpkin isn’t usually caramelised. I’ve taken inspiration from another Cambodian dessert called domlong chung skor, which is caramelised sweet potato with palm sugar, and this dessert is typically served cold with condensed milk, coconut cream, and crushed ice. Caramelising the pumpkin results in a much more delicious dessert.
Please do let us know if you make any of our easy Asian desserts recipes for a sweet taste of Southeast Asia as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.