PostHeaderIcon Vietnamese three color drink – Nab Vam

Tri color dessert

Tri-color dessert - Nab Vam



Total preparation and cooking: 2 hours & 30 minutes.

This sweet drink is a Vietnamese way of making Nab Vam. It’s not only appealing to look at but it will definitely satisfy your sweet cravings. No need to go to the restaurants anymore as I am giving you the secret recipe right here :) It does require some time to make, but it’s well worth making for a good crowd on any occasion.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 coconut milk can
  • Crushed ice


  • 2 cups of sugar &1 cup of water

For Green layer:

  • 3 oz. agar agar powder  (found at asian store- jello aisle)
  • 2 cups of pandan extract (found at fruits cans aisle)
  • 1 cup of water

For Yellow layer:

  • 1 cup of dry yellow mung beans
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ cup coconut milk

For Red layer:

  • A few drops of red food coloring
  • 16 oz of water chestnuts (found in fruits cans aisle)
  • 2 cups of tapioca starch

Special Cooking Utensils:

  • Steamer, strainer, several mixing bowls, pots, 1 square pan
  1. Soak yellow mung beans for 2 hours. Prepare the green layer by boiling the pandan extract and water in a pot. Stir in the powder and stir for 2 minutes then transfer it into a square pan and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. During the wait, start the red layer. Boil about 2 quarts of water. Rinse the water chestnuts and quarter each (cut each into 4 equal parts).  Once the water starts boiling, mix a few drops of red color into the water chestnuts, then coat the water chestnuts with tapioca starch thoroughly on a strainer, sifting excess tapioca. They should be coated as well as a powdered donut. Immediately put handfuls of coated water chestnuts into the boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Gently scoop the water chestnuts with a big spoon and transfer them into a bowl of ice cold water and set aside. (you do this to keep them from sticking onto each other). you are now done with the red layer.
  3. Now, prepare the syrup. In a small pot, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir constantly for a minute then transfer it into a bowl and chill in the fridge.
  4. When the yellow mung beans are done soaking, steam them for 20 minutes in a steamer. During this wait, take out the green jello of the square pan. It should slide out easily. This particular jello makes cutting eating. The easy way to make thin green jello strips, is to cut as thin as u can vertically, then horizontally. Transfer them into a bowl and set aside. you are now done with the green layer
  5. When the yellow mung beans are cooked, transfer them into a bowl and pour the rest of the “yellow layer” ingredients into the bowl and mix with a hand beater (or a blender) for just a minute. you are now done with the yellow layer.
  6. Finally, you can mix everything in a big bowl OR do individual glass cups. For individual glass cups, layer top to bottom: yellow, green, red layer and then crushed ice, with a couple spoonfuls of the syrup and coconut milk.

3 Responses to “Vietnamese three color drink – Nab Vam”

  • mai kou says:

    your nab vam look very good, but you didn’t really explain how the “yellow layer” was cook, like i get the begin but you stop at the part where the blender. i got lost there. do you eat it like that or do you have to cook it because from what i think the tapioca starch isn’t cook yet. so what do i do next ?!? thank you

  • admin says:

    Hello Mai Kou. notice it only asks a small amount of tapioca starch for making the yellow layer. starches are used to help thicken and give the yellow layer some texture. you can use a blender, or a hand beater. the starch for yellow layer is optional and won’t effect the taste.

  • Mailee says:

    thank yo so much for te recipe i love three color drink. i made it and was overall as good as at the retaurants and much cheaper too

Leave a Reply