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Laos Sweet Corn and Coconut Pudding Dessert – Nam Van Sal Lee

Learn how to make a Lao dessert called Nam Van Sal Lee, a Laos sweet corn pudding.

Laos has some of the most incredible desserts including Nam Van Sal Lee, a sweet Laos pudding that is absolutely divine. Sweet fresh corn cut from the cob combined with fragrant, hearty coconut cream and sugar make this pudding undeniably addicting.

My husband and I often share a bowl of this sweet dessert together. Anytime I make this dessert, I’m reminded of trips down to the farmer’s market to grab some fresh corn from local farmers to make this dessert when corn is at it’s season’s peak. 

Most often, you’ll find that most Laos desserts are normally sweet, delectable, and flavorful. You won’t be able to find them available on most Thai restaurant menus, which is where most Lao cuisines can be found hidden. This is one you’ll most often find in a Lao home if you are ever lucky enough to be invited over for dinner.

This Lao sweet corn pudding is so easy to make, you’ll have it on the table to serve in absolutely no time at all.

All About Lao Nam Van Sal Lee

Laos sweet corn and coconut pudding is called Nam Van Sal Lee. It consists of fresh sliced corn, coconut milk or cream, and sugar. Three ingredients and is incredibly easy and fast to make.

What does Lao Nam Van Sal Lee taste like?

Lao Nam Van Sal Lee, a sweet corn pudding, is creamy with textures from the sliced corn.

What are other names of Lao Nam Van Sal Lee?

Laos Sweet Corn Pudding can go by many names due to the phonetic translations from Laos to English. You’ll find it by the following names:

  • Num warn sa lee
  • Nam vaan salee
  • Nab warn sallee
  • Nab Sa Lee

What does Nam Van Sal Lee mean?

Nam means water and Sal Lee means corn. 

Where did Nam Van Sal Lee originate from?

Nam Van Sal Lee originated from Laos, but has often been adapted to include Pandan Leaves and Tapioca Pearls in other regions.

Other Regional Variations of Lao Nam Van Sal Lee

There are various Indochina variations of this sweet corn pudding. The  most popular is the Vietnamese version called Che Bap, a sweet corn pudding that includes tapioca pearls and Pandan flavors.

Asian Grocery Store List for Nam Van Sal Lee

Laos sweet corn pudding has just a handful of ingredients, which makes it a no fuss dessert. You don’t necessarily need to go to the Asian grocery store to pick up these ingredients, but I think you’ll find that you have a large selection of coconut milk and creams as well as tapioca pearls to choose from.

Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream

You’ll need to use full fat coconut milk to ensure a creamy, rich pudding. Generally, at Asian grocers, coconut milk and coconut cream are used interchangeably, so be aware of that.

Corn for Nam Van Sal Lee

Fresh, sweet corn is recommended for making Nam Van Sal Lee. The corn needs to be cut thinly (tips below).

I would not recommend frozen whole kernel corn. However, it can be used as a substitute if you do not want to mess with cutting the corn. Note that it will add more texture to a dessert that is generally known to be a smooth, delicate pudding.

Tapioca Pearls

You’ll definitely find a large variety of tapioca pearl sizes to choose from. This is the bag I normally purchase.

Tips and Tricks Before Making Nam Van Sal Lee

Cutting Corn for Nam Van Sal Lee – Laos Sweet Corn Dessert

In order to create the delicate texture that Nam Van Sal Lee is known for, you’ll want to thinly slice the corn. This dessert is known for it’s smooth texture, so if you end up using thick-cut or whole kernel corn it would take away from that. Two large ears of corn will yield approximately two cups of thinly sliced corn.

I recommend using a very sharp paring knife and carefully cutting and shaving along the length of the corn over a large baking sheet.

Stand an ear of corn up on the baking sheet, holding the ear sturdy, and then run a sharp paring knife down the length of the ear to shave off the kernels. Set the thinly sliced kernels aside.

Note: You’ll definitely make a mess with corn pieces everywhere (the large baking sheet will allow you to contain the corn mess), but this is part of the fun in making this delicious dish. 

How to Make Lao Nam Van Sal Lee, Sweet Corn Pudding

Ingredients for Laos Sweet Corn Pudding

  • 2​ 1⁄4 cup of water, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup of tapioca pearls
  • pinch of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup of sugar
  • 1-14 ounce can of coconut milk 
  • 4 cups of fresh sweet corn, thinly sliced (approximately 4 corn ears)

Instructions for Making Laos Nam Van Sal Lee

  1. In a small bowl, soak the tapioca pearls submerged under 1 inch of water for approximately five minutes to soften them. Drain and set aside.
  2. Boil the water in a small saucepan.
  3. Once the water boils, add the thinly sliced corn and salt. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the corn is tender and cooked.
  4. Add in tapioca pearls. Simmer on low boil for another 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour and stir in coconut milk and sugar to fully incorporate the ingredients The tapioca pearls will become translucent.
  6. Simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes until the mixture has a smooth, pudding texture.
  7. Taste and adjust sugar and salt, if desired. Remove from heat to cool. 

Serving Laos Sweet Corn Pudding

In colder months, it’s popular to serve the pudding warm. In summer months, the sweet corn pudding is often chilled for a cool treat.

If you want thicker pudding (especially when serving it warm), add 1⁄2 cup of water to the pudding.

Preserving Nam Van Sal Lee

Lao Sweet Corn Pudding can be refrigerated for up to two days. If the pudding is too thick after refrigeration, adding water and simmering for a couple of minutes on the stove should bring it back to the smooth, delicate consistency.

Summary of Laos Nam Van Sal Lee Pudding

I hope you try this recipe because it’s perfect for any family get togethers and is seriously absolutely delicious. You can enjoy the amazing flavors of fresh corn in the summer, but if you have fresh corn available, it can be enjoyed year round.

Laos Sweet Corn and Coconut Pudding Dessert - Nam Van Sal Lee

Laos Sweet Corn and Coconut Pudding Dessert - Nam Van Sal Lee

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Laos sweet corn and coconut pudding is called Nam Van Sal Lee. It consists of fresh sliced corn, coconut milk or cream, and sugar. Three ingredients and is incredibly easy and fast to make.

Ingredients

  • 2​ 1⁄4 cup of water, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup of tapioca pearls
  • pinch of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup of sugar
  • 1-14 ounce can of coconut milk 
  • 4 cups of fresh sweet corn, thinly sliced (approximately 4 corn ears)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, soak the tapioca pearls submerged under 1 inch of water for approximately five minutes to soften them. Drain and set aside.
  2. Boil the water in a small saucepan.
  3. Once the water boils, add the thinly sliced corn and salt. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the corn is tender and cooked.
  4. Add in tapioca pearls. Simmer on low boil for another 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour and stir in coconut milk and sugar to fully incorporate the ingredients The tapioca pearls will become translucent.
  6. Simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes until the mixture has a smooth, pudding texture.
  7. Taste and adjust sugar and salt, if desired. Remove from heat to cool. 

Notes

Lao Sweet Corn Pudding can be refrigerated for up to two days. If the pudding is too thick after refrigeration, adding water and simmering for a couple of minutes on the stove should bring it back to the smooth, delicate consistency.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 35mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 5g
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Other Recipes from Laos You Might Like

Here are some additional authentic and delicious Laos recipes that you will love:

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

laos sweet dessert corn coconut tapioca pudding-1

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