Behold, the bait of satan: sweetened condensed milk.
It’s the reason that I get up in the morning (I put it in my coffee), it’s the guilt of my pleasure, the evilest, most sinful confection of deliciousness.
Look! It has zero cholesterol. Isn’t that wonderful?
In the Vietnamese culture, sweetened condensed milk is used all over the place. You can’t get away from it. And who are we kidding—who would want to?
One of the most common uses is to sweeten their coffee. Here’s a pic of a traditional Vietnamese coffee. There’s a terrific step-by-step tutorial at I Need Coffee, which is where I snagged this photo from, but in a nutshell, you put a little SCM in your coffee cup and then add French dripped coffee.
I don’t do it that way though; I make my own version. Instead of doing a French drip coffee into my mug of SCM, I make a double espresso using my favorite kitchen appliance.
I waited three years to get an espresso machine. I finally settled on this one by Breville based upon one of our editor’s recommendations. (Thank you, Jeannie!) I have been extremely happy with this puppy. Making coffee every morning is an absolute pleasure. It’s quick, easy to cleanup and produces consistent and wonderful results.
When I wake, I stagger to the kitchen and punch the button on the Breville to start the process of waking up. I make myself a Vietnamese coffee in the same amount of time it takes me to pull the coffee out of the freezer. It’s my treat every morning (better than chocolate even) and it starts the day out right. It’s heavenly.
Some other ways that Vietnamese use SCM is drizzled over fresh cut fruit, in tapioca pudding, and added to mung bean desserts.
When I was a little girl my grandmother used to dip chunks of crusty French bread in a little pot of SCM for a snack, or maybe breakfast. Holy cow, that’s good stuff. And I have the most wonderful memories of kneeling on a chair next to my grandmother, leaning half over the kitchen table—practically lying on it—and eagerly waiting for the next chunk of bread that she would then let me dip into the sticky sweet milk.
If you’re going to drizzle it over fruit, let me share one of my favorite combos: strawberries, mango and avocado. Sound odd? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
The only complaint I have about SCM is that it’s quite high in calories (BUMMER!) and that the word “Hydrogenated” appears on the list of ingredients. WAH!!!!
So, in the theory that everything is okay in moderation, I limit my intake to one cup of coffee in the morning.
If SCM isn’t among your cooking staples, try it … I guarantee you’re going to love it.