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A closeup shot of the layers in Che Ba Mau.

Chè Ba Màu - Vietnamese 3 Colour Dessert

This Vietnamese three colour dessert is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds! Known as Chè Ba Màu, we love its colourful layers of sweet beans, jelly and coconut. It's perfect alongside a piping hot bowl of pho or crispy spring rolls!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Vietnamese
Cook Time 50 minutes
Setting / Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 574kcal
Cost $10


Green Layer:

Yellow Layer:

  • 90 g mung beans 1/2 cup (dried, hulled and split)
  • 60 g sugar 1/4 cup
  • 500 ml water 2 cups

Red Layer:

  • 400 g red beans 16oz / approx 2 cups (rinsed thoroughly) such as kidney or adzuki
  • 60 g sugar 1/4 cup
  • 80 ml water 1/3 cup

White Layer:


The Green Layer (Agar Agar Jelly with Pandan Flavouring)

  • In a medium saucepan, add the cold water, agar agar powder and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the pandan flavouring. Mix well until bright green. Pour into a shallow dish or container, set aside to cool on your bench for 10 minutes then pop into the fridge for 2 hours.
    3.5 g agar agar, 500 ml water, 80 g sugar, 1 tsp pandan flavouring
  • After 2 hours have passed, turn out the jelly onto a plate and slice into strips or cubes, whichever you prefer.

The Yellow Layer (Sweetened Mung Beans)

  • Add mung beans and water into a medium saucepan, then bring to a boil on high heat. It will get a light white foam on top – this is totally okay. Once boiling, add sugar and stir to dissolve. Keep boiling, stirring occasionally. Cook until soft and water is absorbed (around 20-30 minutes). When the water starts to evaporate, lower heat and keep stirring so it doesn’t boil over or stick.
    90 g mung beans, 60 g sugar, 500 ml water
  • If required, add more water if the beans are not as soft as you’d like them (add 80ml / 1/3 cup at a time). Stir a lot at this stage and keep an eye as the liquid evaporates. Cool for 10 minutes then pop into the fridge.

The Red Layer (Sweetened Kidney Beans)

  • Add in the red beans, sugar and water into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until all the water has evaporated (around 10 minutes), stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. You want the beans to take on the sweetness from the sugar while still keeping their shape. Listen – when they start squeaking, they’re done!
    400 g red beans, 60 g sugar, 80 ml water

The White Layer (Coconut Sauce)

  • Add the coconut milk, cornstarch, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and continue to stir for a few more minutes as the sauce starts to thicken. Then remove from heat and allow to cool down. Pop it into the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your dessert!
    220 ml coconut milk, 60 g sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cornstarch / cornflour


  • Add red beans, mung bean paste, jelly, crushed ice and coconut milk sauce to a high glass, use a spoon to mix all of the above and enjoy!


  • Kidney Beans - Can use pre-made sweet red bean paste instead for this step.
  • Cornstarch - Can be substituted with tapioca flour.
  • Agar Agar Powder - Look for pure agar agar powder with no colour or sugar added. Sometimes it can be hard to tell from looking at the packet, so check the ingredients listed on the back. If you see sugar or artificial colours listed, put it back and try a different brand if possible. You can substitute with regular jelly/jello powder or powdered gelatine if required - just follow the cooking directions on the packet to make.


Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 814mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 6mg