Southeast Asia is a continent where it is composed of countries that are blessed with a great location and wonderful weather. Most of its countries enjoy tropical weather except for Korea, Japan, and China.

There is an abundance of fruits in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. Most of these fruits are made into delectable desserts. In the Philippines, the Filipinos indulge in a repertoire of native desserts. They have the “halo-halo” which is a mixture of sweetened plantain bananas, sweetened kidney beans, cubed gelatin, sugar, custard, and a generous amount of sugar and milk. All these ingredients are placed inside a parfait glass and then filled with crushed ice. It is then topped with “ube” or sweet, purple yam.

Another fabulous Asian dessert, which is originally from China, is “buchi.” This is made from rice flour and then filled with mashed and sweetened red beans. Some variations in the filling can be a custard filling. Here is a recipe of buchi with a custard filling.
500 grams rice flour
Boiling water for cooking (about 1 liter)
Custard filling:
8 egg yolks
1 250 grams of condensed milk
Sesame seeds or desiccated coconut for the coating

First cook the custard filling by placing the egg yolks and milk in a heavy skillet. Cook this over low heat for about five minutes or until the mixture thickens. There is no need to add sugar since the condensed milk is already sweetened. Let the custard mixture cool. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, gradually add about one cup of water to the rice flour. Then mix the rice flour by hand until it forms into a dough-like consistency. Form small balls and place the custard filling in the center of the balls. Make sure that the filling is enclosed in the rice flour balls. Next, place the rice balls into the boiling water. You will know if they are cooked if they rise to the surface of the water. Strain them out and let drain. Roll them over sesame seeds or desiccated coconut. The buchi can be eaten warm or cold.

Another tempting Asian dessert is the pandan coconut salad. This is made from freshly grated young coconuts (those with the green shell), then it is mixed with cubed gelatin, and then flavored with the most aromatic leaves in Asia—pandan or screwpine. All-purpose cream and sugar is then added to the coconut-gelatin mixture. Lastly, chill this for at least overnight.

Asian desserts may not be as sophisticated as European desserts, but their simplicity makes them stand out from the rest of the world. What I also love about Asian desserts is their use of fresh fruits often in season to prepare mouth-watering masterpieces. Just like the humble banana and jackfruit which is sprinkled with sugar and then wrapped with homemade egg wrappers. These are then deep-fried until golden brown and voila! A dessert made in less than 30 minutes. Indeed, the remarkable characteristic of Asian desserts is that they are quick and very easy to make.

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