Vietnamese Yogurt Recipe

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Vietnamese Yogurt Recipe



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Vietnamese yogurt, also known as Sữa Chua, is a creamy, slightly tangy yogurt that has become a beloved treat not just in Vietnam but around the world. Unlike Western yogurts that are often made with bacterial cultures from milk alone, Vietnamese yogurt includes the addition of sweetened condensed milk, which gives it its distinctive sweet flavor and creamy texture. This delightful dessert is incredibly easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. In this article, we’ll dive into a traditional Vietnamese yogurt recipe, explore its origins, and offer some tips for perfecting this delicious treat.

The Origins of Vietnamese Yogurt

Vietnamese yogurt dates back to the early 20th century when French colonists introduced dairy products, including yogurt, to Vietnam. The locals adapted the French method of making yogurt by incorporating ingredients readily available in Vietnam, such as sweetened condensed milk, which was used due to the scarcity of fresh milk. This adaptation led to the unique version of yogurt that is popular in Vietnam today.

Ingredients You’ll Need

1 can (14 oz or 397g) of sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz or 354ml) of evaporated milk (or fresh whole milk)
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures (as a starter)


Prepare the Milk Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk until well combined. If you prefer a less sweet yogurt, you can adjust the amount of sweetened condensed milk to taste.

Dilute with Water: Slowly mix in the boiling water to the milk mixture. This step is essential for ensuring the yogurt sets properly.

Add the Yogurt Starter: Add the plain yogurt to the mixture and stir gently until just combined. It’s crucial not to overmix, as this can affect the yogurt’s texture.

Divide the Mixture: Pour the mixture into small jars or containers. Cover each container with a lid or tightly with aluminum foil.

Incubate the Yogurt: Place the containers in a warm, draft-free area to set. This can be done in various ways: in a yogurt maker, in an oven with the light on (but the heat off), or wrapped in towels in a warm spot in your kitchen. The ideal temperature for incubation is around 110°F (43°C). Let the yogurt incubate for at least 6 to 10 hours, depending on how thick and tangy you like your yogurt. The longer it incubates, the thicker and tangier it will become.

Refrigerate: After incubation, refrigerate the yogurt for at least 4 hours to stop the fermentation process and allow it to thicken further.

Enjoy: Vietnamese yogurt can be enjoyed as is or with a variety of toppings such as fresh fruits, granola, or honey.

Tips for Perfect Vietnamese Yogurt

Quality of Starter: The quality of your yogurt will largely depend on the quality of the starter. Use a plain yogurt with live active cultures for the best results.

Temperature Control: Maintaining the right temperature during incubation is crucial. Too hot, and the cultures will die; too cool, and the yogurt won’t set.

Experiment with Flavors: Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, feel free to experiment with adding flavors like vanilla extract or pandan essence for a unique twist.

Vietnamese yogurt is a delicious, creamy dessert that’s easy to make at home. By following this simple recipe and keeping in mind the tips provided, you’ll be able to create a batch of smooth, tangy yogurt that’s perfect for a healthy snack or dessert. Whether enjoyed on its own or with your favorite toppings, Vietnamese yogurt is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire.

Storing and Serving Vietnamese Yogurt

Once you’ve made your batch of Vietnamese yogurt, it’s important to know how to store and serve it to maximize enjoyment and shelf life. Properly stored, Vietnamese yogurt can last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Always ensure the yogurt is covered tightly to prevent it from absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.

When serving Vietnamese yogurt, the possibilities are endless. It can be enjoyed on its own, but it also pairs beautifully with a variety of accompaniments:

Fruits: Fresh fruits like mango, berries, or lychee can add a refreshing touch.

Sweeteners: A drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of sugar can enhance the natural flavors of the yogurt.

Cereals and Grains: Add texture with granola, toasted oats, or even cooked, chilled quinoa for a nutritious twist.

Desserts: Vietnamese yogurt can be a fantastic component in desserts. Use it in parfaits, as a topping for cakes, or even in smoothies for a creamy, tangy element.

Health Benefits

Vietnamese yogurt is not just delicious; it also offers several health benefits, making it a nutritious addition to your diet:

Probiotics: Like all yogurts containing live active cultures, Vietnamese yogurt can help balance the gut microbiome, supporting digestive health and boosting the immune system.

Protein: It’s a good source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.

Calcium and Vitamins: Yogurt provides calcium, necessary for bone health, and is often rich in vitamins B12 and D, among others, depending on the milk used.

Cultural Significance

In Vietnam, yogurt is more than just a snack or dessert. It’s an integral part of the country’s culinary heritage, reflecting a blend of local and French influences. It’s commonly sold by street vendors and in cafes, often served with crushed ice to combat the heat. For many Vietnamese people, it evokes nostalgia, reminding them of childhood and the simplicity of enjoying a small cup of yogurt on a hot day.

Creative Variations

Once you’re comfortable with making traditional Vietnamese yogurt, you might want to experiment with variations to keep things exciting:

Vegan Vietnamese Yogurt: For a dairy-free version, use coconut milk in place of evaporated milk and a suitable vegan sweetened condensed milk. Ensure your starter culture is vegan-friendly.

Layered Yogurt Desserts: Alternate layers of Vietnamese yogurt with fruit compotes, nuts, and granola to create visually appealing and delicious parfaits.

Frozen Vietnamese Yogurt: Freeze the yogurt in ice cream molds for a refreshing treat, perfect for warm weather.

Making Vietnamese yogurt at home is a simple and rewarding process that offers a taste of Vietnam’s rich culinary culture. With its creamy texture, tangy flavor, and versatile nature, it’s a fantastic food to have on hand for any occasion. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or venture into variations, Vietnamese yogurt is sure to bring a delightful and healthy twist to your table.


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