Sweet Memories of Pumpkins and Rubies

The good news for dessert-lovers is that Thai desserts are inexpensive to make. The not-so-good news is that they take a long time to make. I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it.

I made Thai red ruby dessert (Tub Tim Grob) for the first time many years ago, and was surprised at how easy it was. (Pailin of Hot Thai Kitchen does a good demo on her website.) Over time, I have tried different variations. The most recent was adding home-made coconut ice cream to it. It works well, I like the coconut ice cream to be a little salty, so it balances out the sweetness of the syrup in the coconut milk. It’s a bit like salted caramel in that sense. (There are a number of recipes for coconut ice cream on YouTube. I use an ice cream maker and I mix coconut ice cream with cream for a creamier texture.)

The Thai pumpkin custard dessert is an interesting dessert, because most non-Thais don’t know what to do with it, especially when it is served whole. The pumpkin is steamed with the coconut custard inside. When it’s cooked it’s soft and easy to slice into wedges. In most countries, pumpkin is served as a vegetable or a savoury dish, so it’s understandable that some people get disconcerted when they taste pumpkin in the form of a sweet dessert for the first time. (There are a number of YouTube videos on how to make this dessert. The Thai Pumpkin Custard by Daily Dish video is easy to follow).

I haven’t tried making khanom Tako, a Thai jelly with coconut topping served in a pandan leaf case, although it’s one of my favourite desserts. The case requires some skill to make. (Daily Dish has a YouTube video called Thai Pudding with Coconut Topping). The jelly usually has sweet corn or bits of water chestnut in it. The water chestnut gives the dessert a nice crunchy feel to it.

Thailand is a dessert paradise, so if you are trying to avoid sugar and gaining weight, it’s best to avoid the Thai dessert buffets, but there is no harm in trying to make a Thai dessert at home once in a while as a treat for the family. If you do visit Thailand, you can opt for fruit for dessert as a healthier choice and enjoy the dessert just as much, especially if you are fond of durians and mangoes.

By Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 19 January 2021

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