Desserts (khong-waan) don't really figure on most restaurant menus, but some places offer bowls of luk taan cheum, a jellied concoction of lotus or palm seeds floating in a syrup scented with jasmine or other aromatic flowers. Coconut milk is a feature of most other desserts, notably delicious coconut ice cream and a royal Thai cuisine special of coconut custard (sang-kha-yaa) cooked inside a small pumpkin, whose flesh you can also eat. Cakes are sold on the street and tend to be heavy, sticky affairs made from glutinous rice and coconut cream pressed into squares and wrapped in banana leaves.
Thai desserts are very sweet and made of a combination of rice, coconut milk and sugar. Some foreigners find that they are too sweet but you can always put in less sugar. Thai people love to eat fresh fruit and they will cut a selection of fruits into bite sized pieces and put them on a plate in the center of table and everyone will help themselves.
Thailand is a paradise for food aficionados – the ultimate destination for enthusiast of fine cuisine. Thai people center much of their social activities on eating places and the enjoyment of eating; over centuries this social behavior has resulted in the evolution of Thai cuisine and elevated Thai culinary status to worldwide renown. Not only does Thailand have myriad delectable dishes but it also offers unique and delightful desserts that are sure to appease the discerning sweet teeth.
A Variety of Thai Desserts
Thai sweets, or ‘Khanom Thai’, have unique, colorful appearance and distinct flavors. The art of Thai desserts have been passed down through the generations. Some of today’s Thai desserts are on record as far back as the Sukhothai period, almost 800 years ago.
Thai desserts are made of three principle ingredients: flour, sugar, and coconut (eggs were later introduced by Portuguese traders). Despite these simple components, Thai desserts can require sophisticated skills, requiring time and care in their preparation. These three ingredients are carefully mixed and prepared using time honored methods to create tantalizing treats. Thai desserts may also contain any number of other fresh ingredients including palm sugar, rice flours, lotus seeds, cassava roots, various fresh fruits… and other ingredients.
Thai cooks are also well known for utilizing herbs and plants into their food preparation. Coloring for Thai sweets can be wistfully obtained from flowers, plants and other ingredients: red from rose, purple/blue from Blue Pea blossoms, yellow/orange from yolk and green from panda nus leaves. Not only do Thai desserts have vibrant variety of colors but also do they have sweet fragrances, which are acquired from aromatic flowers. Thai dessert chefs will soak jasmine and other fragrant flowers in water and make sweetly-scented syrup with this water. Here is my top 10 desserts are easily available in Thailand and make a savoury treat that you will surely enjoy.
Look Choob (Green Bean Miniature Fruit) Look Choob looks just like marzipan but it is made of steamed green beans, coconut milk and sugar – instead of almond flour and sugar. The green bean paste is molded into a shape of a variety of tropical fruits and then is dip-coated in jelly that gives it a shiny look. These Look Choob mini-fruits have very tantalizing colors and sugary flavor – when they are arranged together, they look more like mini decoratives than desserts
Thong Yib and Thong Yod (Yolk-Egg Golden Pinch and Golden Droplets)Thong Yib and Thong Yod are always served together since they look and taste alike. The only difference between these two sweets is their shapes which result from how they are formed. Thong Yod yolk mixture is dropped into boiling thick syrup and that creates such a droplet of yellow yolk sweets while Thong Yib is put in a small cup. Thong Yib and Thong Yod are usually eaten in moderation because they are very syrupy and rich in egg yolk and sugar.
Kao Niaw Ma-Muang (Sweet Sticky Rice with Ripe Mango and Coconut Cream)This tantalizing dessert deserves the king of Thai sweets – Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango never fails to delight the taste buds. Kao Niaw Ma-Muang is prepared by steaming Thai glutinous rice in rich coconut milk and syrup. The resulting sweet and creamy sticky rice is eaten with two certain types of tropical fruits; mango and durian. Since durian flavour is often not appreciated by many farangs (foreigners). Mango with its exotic sweet and slightly sour flavour makes an excellent compliment to the creamy and rich sweet rice. To top it off, a thick and rich coconut cream sauce with mildly salty flavor is poured on the rice and mango to add more complexity to the flavored. Sometimes it is eaten with crispy cereal or sesame seeds as toppings. A definite must eat – Hummmm… a-roi mak!
Tub Tim Grob (Crunchy Mock Pomegranate in Iced Coconut Syrup or Red Rubies) Though these pinkish-red seeds look like those of pomegranate (Tub Tim has two meanings in Thai; pomegranate and ruby), they are actually made of water chestnut chopped into cubes and glazed with flour. The way jasmine-scented syrup blends with mildly sweet and salty coconut milk gives this dish a delicious taste that will linger on your taste buds. Some people also add jackfruit to give Tub Tim Grob an wider mix of colors and fragrances. ‘Red Rubies’ is always served cold and topped with crushed ice. This is a very tasty dessert that Thai people eat during summer time to freshen up from the country’s hot weather.
Bua Loi (Rice Balls in Coconut Milk) Bua Loi, which literally means “Floating Lotus”, is an irresistible Thai dessert that will have you coming back for more. Unlike Tub Tim Grob that is crunchy, the rice balls are particularly soft and sticky and come in many different colors. The mildly sweet Bua Loi is usually served in hot coconut cream with syrup-poached eggs on top. Bua Loi has another variation that the rice balls are doused in hot ginger soup; it is referred to as “Bua Loi Nam King” and greatly influenced by Chinese cooking. Bua Loi with poached eggs is called “Bua Loi Kai Wan” or “Rice Balls with Sweet Egg.”
This is a nice Thai dessert called Khanom Tom. There is a Thai boxing hero with the same name - Nai Khanom Tom. Anyway the filling of this rice ball is made up from grated coconut and sugar that is cooked in a wok until it becomes a thick mixture. When cooled it is rolled into a ball. The outer wrapping is made up from glutinous rice flour and coconut cream. If you want to make the green version, you also add the juice of the panda nus leaf. This gives you the dough after you have left it stand for a while. Then roll the dough into small balls and then flatten them. Add the filling and then wrap the dough around it. These are then boiled in water until they float to the top. They are served with a topping of steamed grated coconut. These are 10 baht for 5 rice balls.
Have you ever tried it!? I like the kind you can find at the Sunday night market in Chiang Mai or across Thailand. Once again very simple ingredients make such cool and refreshing dessert while walking along in the market. Grass Jelly is made from a type of mint leaves and stalks. In Thailand grass jelly is known as chao kuai (Thai: เฉาก๊วย), and is commonly served relatively plain together with ice and natural brown sugar. Additionally, it can also be served with fruits such as Jackfruit, the fruit of the toddy palm or mixed together with other Thai desserts.
''Woon Mapraw'' A jelly made from slices of young coconut (the green coconut that has soft flesh). You can buy young coconut flesh in tins from Asian grocers. The coconut base for this dessert is a little salty, as is typical for Thai desserts.
''Khanom Tan'' The fruit from toddy palms can also be eaten and are rich in vitamins A and C, and can be eaten as young fruits, which are soft and juicy and somewhat like lychees but milder and with no pit, or old fruits, which are harder and less juicy. It is this toddy palm pulp that these cakes are made of, along with rice flour, yeast, palm sugar, coconut cream and coconut milk. Toddy Palm Cake they're kind of like sponge cake, a little sweet and different tasting than regular sugar.
With the simple Sangkhaya Fakhthong recipe you no longer need to worry about what to make for dessert. Sangkhaya Fakhthong to put it simply is a great tasting custard with a difference. It is a healthy easy to make dessert that is fit for your special occasion. Enjoy!!