Vietnamese Coconut Candy (Mứt Dừa)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 06/02/2024 Updated: 06/02/2024
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 30 minutes
Bright, colorful, and sweet Vietnamese coconut candy ribbons made with fresh coconuts are perfect for celebrating the Lunar New Year.
Vietnamese Coconut Candy (Mứt Dừa)

When the Lunar New Year approaches, Vietnamese stores are filled with this colorful coconut candy or mứt dừa. This coconut candy recipe only requires a few ingredients but yields the most delicious and fun dessert.

A hand lifting up a pinch of Vietnamese coconut candy from a plate of colored candy.

This coconut candy recipe uses fresh coconut, but you can alternatively use frozen coconut strips for a quicker method. If you love this coconut candy, check out our coconut pandan jelly, che ba mau (Vietnamese three-color dessert), and banh bo hap (Vietnamese steamed rice cake).

What is Mứt Dừa?

Mứt dừa or Vietnamese coconut candy is a traditional Vietnamese sweet treat that is made purely from coconut and sugar. It is a popular snack that is sold throughout Vietnam, especially during Tet or Lunar New Year.

Mut dua is made with freshly grated coconut water that is combined with sugar and colored with various colors. It is then cooked down to form crystalized bite-sized coconut strips. Vietnamese coconut candy has a sweet, slightly chewy texture and a fresh coconut flavor.

A detail shot of three colors of Vietnamese coconut candy.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

These candied coconut strips are very fun to make and even more enjoyable to eat! Here are three reasons why you should make this Vietnamese coconut candy recipe.

  1. Fun and delicious. If you love coconuts, this coconut candy recipe is perfect for you! The rich, chewy texture along with the fun colors will satisfy your coconut cravings.
  2. Nothing beats homemade. There is something incredibly gratifying and enjoyable about sharing homemade treats. By making mut dua at home, you can control the quality of the ingredients and tailor the recipe based on your taste preferences.
  3. Simple ingredients. These candied coconut ribbons are only made with five ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store!

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following kitchen equipment items to create this coconut candy recipe. I have linked everything that I used for you below.

  • Knife or Cleaver: You will need a knife or meat cleaver to crack the coconut in half.
  • Steamer: a steamer will be used to gently steam the coconut to release it from the shell.
  • Vegetable peeler: a vegetable peeler is used to peel the outside of the coconut and shred it into strips.
  • Mixing Bowls: you will need multiple mixing bowls to color the candied coconut ribbons.
  • Nonstick pan: use a nonstick pan to cook the coconut strips to prevent them from sticking to your pan.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients to create this Vietnamese coconut candy recipe at your local Asian grocery store. I have also linked everything that I used for you below.

  • Fresh Coconut: this coconut candy recipe uses fresh coconut for the best flavor and texture.
  • Granulated Sugar: granulated sugar sweetens the coconut but also pulls the moisture out of the coconut creating a coconut syrup.
  • Salt: salt will enhance the flavor of the coconut and balance out the sweetness of the candied coconut.
  • Vanilla Sugar: vanilla sugar is a vanilla flavoring agent for extra flavor without changing the color of the coconut to brown.
  • Pandan Extract: for the green color, I used pandan extract for additional pandan flavoring.
  • Food Coloring: for additional colors, you can use food coloring. A little food coloring goes a long way!
All the ingredients for Vietnamese coconut candy organized and labeled.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your candied coconut ribbons by changing the flavors, colors, etc. I have listed suggestions for substitutions and additions for you below.

Substitutions

  • Ube Extract: for purple coloring and ube flavor, you can use ube extract
  • Matcha powder: instead of pandan extract, you can alternatively use matcha powder for a matcha coconut flavor.
  • Almond Extract: you can experiment with almond extract for a different flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: instead of vanilla sugar, you can use vanilla extract instead.
  • Frozen coconut: if you want to skip the process of shredding a coconut, you can always use frozen shredded coconut slices instead.

Additions

  • Spices: You can always infuse your candied coconut strips with spices such as cinnamon or cardamom for a more complex flavor.
  • Chocolate drizzle: for a more decadent dessert you can drizzle melted chocolate over your mut dua.

How to Make Vietnamese Coconut Candy

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this Vietnamese coconut candy recipe.

  1. Cut the coconut in half. Using the back of a knife or cleaver, tap the coconut along the center. Turn the coconut and repeat until it cracks open.
Splitting open a fresh coconut in half.
  1. Lightly steam. Place the halved coconut in your steamer and steam over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the coconut from the shell by running a butter knife along the edge and then peel the outer brown edge with a vegetable peeler.
  1. Shred into strips. Then using the peeler, shred the coconut into long strips. Then wash the coconut strips with water until the water runs clear.
A bowl of shredded fresh coconut.
  1. Add the sugar. Toss the coconut with sugar, salt, and vanilla sugar until combined. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight. The sugar should dissolve completely and form a syrup at the bottom of the bowl.
  1. Divide and color. Divide the coconut strips into three separate bowls and evenly divide the sugar syrup as well. Add the pandan extract to one bowl, the food coloring to another bowl, and leave one bowl white. A little will go a long way. The color will darken as you cook it.
  1. Cook. Working with one bowl at a time, add the coconut and the sugar syrup to a medium pan over medium-low heat. Gently toss the coconut continuously until it dries and turns opaque about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining bowls.

Tips for the Best Vietnamese Coconut Candy

  • Shred the coconut into thick strips. Try your best to shred the coconut into thick ribbons for a more hearty texture.
  • Add a small amount of coloring. The coconut candy will darken as it dries, so a little food coloring will go a long way!
  • Cook over medium-low heat. Cooking over low heat and stirring constantly will prevent the candied coconut strips from burning.
  • Cool completely before serving or storing. Make sure that you cool the candied coconut strips completely before storing them.

Storage Instructions

You can store the coconut candy once it is completely dry and cooled in an airtight container on your counter for up to 2 weeks.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What is Vietnamese coconut candy made of?

Vietnamese coconut candy or mut dua is made with fresh coconut, sugar, salt, vanilla sugar, and food coloring.

How long does this coconut candy recipe last?

These coconut candy strips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Can I customize my candied coconut?

Yes! You can customize your candied coconut by experimenting with different flavorings such as ube extract, matcha powder, almond extract, etc. for different flavors and colors.

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Recipe

Looking down at a plate of Mut dua or vietnamese coconut candy with dessert plates near by.

Vietnamese Coconut Candy (Mứt Dừa)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Bright, colorful, and sweet Vietnamese coconut candy ribbons made with fresh coconuts are perfect for celebrating the Lunar New Year.
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut the coconut in half. Using the back of a knife or cleaver, tap the coconut along the center. Turn the coconut and repeat until it cracks open.
  • Lightly steam. Place the halved coconut in your steamer and steam over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the coconut from the shell by running a butter knife along the edge and then peel the outer brown edge with a vegetable peeler.
  • Shred into strips. Then using the peeler, shred the coconut into long strips. Then wash the coconut strips with water until the water runs clear.
  • Add the sugar. Toss the coconut with sugar, salt, and vanilla sugar until combined. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight. The sugar should dissolve completely and form a syrup at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Divide and color. Divide the coconut strips into three separate bowls and evenly divide the sugar syrup as well. Add the pandan extract to one bowl, the food coloring to another bowl, and leave one bowl white. A little will go a long way. The color will darken as you cook it.
  • Cook. Working with one bowl at a time, add the coconut and the sugar syrup to a medium pan over medium-low heat. Gently toss the coconut continuously until it dries and turns opaque about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining bowls.

Notes

  • Shred the coconut into thick strips. Try your best to shred the coconut into thick ribbons for a more hearty texture.
  • Add a small amount of coloring. The coconut candy will darken as it dries, so a little food coloring will go a long way!
  • Cook over medium-low heat. Cooking over low heat and stirring constantly will prevent the candied coconut strips from burning.
  • Cool completely before serving or storing. Make sure that you cool the candied coconut strips completely before storing them.

Nutrition:

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 83g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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