You've no doubt eaten cheesecake, well this is a Thai cheese jelly, a jelly made from curdled milk instead of water. For this I used orange gelatin with added vitamin C, you need the acidity of the vitamin C to make the milk curdle to make the cheese. If you can't find a suitable gelatin, add tablespoons of orange juice as you heat the milk until it separates.
I wanted to show you some of the properties of agar, so I made this very simple dessert. In Thailand we use agar rather than gelatine. It's very much stiffer than gelatine and made from seaweed, rather than cow, so it's suitable for vegetarians. It sets very very quickly, the moulds you use for agar should withstand hot liquids, since it needs to be poured in hot.
A Thai jelly made from agar and Bi Tua leaves. The Bi Tua gives the jelly a bubble gum like taste and green colour while the agar gives it a very firm texture.
500 ml Soya Milk
100 gms Sugar
2 Drops Vanilla Essence
5 gms Agar Powder
Ingredients for Caramel Sauce
200 gms Sugar
100 ml Water
1 Drop Vanilla Essence
1. Put the soya milk into a saucepan, add the agar powder and warm through until the agar has dissolved. Don't let the soya boil. Add the sugar and stir until that has dissolved too, then pour into a mould and leave to cool in the fridge.
2. To make the caramel, place the sugar and water into a saucepan and boil hard until the sugar has burnt to the brown colour shown in the photograph.
3. Then take it off the heat, and add a little extra water to thin the caramel down and keep it liquid. Be careful when you add the water it will boil vigorously as the sugar is hotter than the boiling point of water.
4. Add a drop of vanilla essence to the caramel to enhance the vanilla taste.
5. Leave to cool.
6. To serve, simply pour the caramel over the false tofu!
Ingredients for Jelly
5 gms Agar
200 ml Water
50 gms Sugar
Ingredients for Eyes
20 gms Yellow Soya Beans
100 ml Coconut Milk
50 gms Sugar
1. Soak the yellow bean in warm water for 2 hours, then steam them for 20 minutes by placing them in bowl inside a Chinese steamer.
2. Pound or blend until the beans are ground up.
3. In a small saucepan, place the ground beans, sugar and the coconut milk, then stir over the heat to reduce the mixture to a thick paste, and leave to cool.
4. When the bean paste is cool, take small pieces of it and roll it into balls.
5. Mix the agar with the water in a saucepan and heat until the agar has dissolved. Add a drop or two of food colouring. Then leave to cool, but don't leave it too long or the agar will set.
6. Pour the agar into the mould as it's just getting thick, put two eyes in the correct place, then leave to set.
Rhubard is a European sour vegetable, and isn't a common ingredient in Thai cooking but my friend Jom grows it in abundance and she often wonders what to do with it.
Aliens regularly come eat lunch in Thailand on holiday in their flying saucers. Their favorite dish is this egg spawn dish. You can see the little aliens hatching in the spawn, but don't get too close or they'll leap out and run up your nose! Happy halloween.
Ingredients (Small Amount)
4 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
4 Tablespoons Ground Coconut
4 Tablespoons Rice Flour
4 Tablespoons Water
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Mung Bean
1 Drop of Blue Color
1. Soak the tapioca overnight in water.
2. Boil the tapioca pearls in water until they are cooked through and transparent.
3. Mix all the ingredients (except for tapioca) together, heat over a low heat, stirring continuously until the flour forms a sticky blue paste.
4. Mix in the tapioca and serve.
When I was a child we bought these jelly (jello) eggs, 1 baht for 2. We would crack open the egg and eat the jelly contents inside as a treat. They are eggs with the white and yolk removed, filled with jelly and coconut milk.
Thai jelly uses agar in place of gelatin and the jelly is very strong, more like a gum than a jelly. For this recipe we are using twice the amount of gelatin than is usual in order to simulate this strength. In the photograph we've removed the shell but they should be served still inside the shell with the hole hidden at the bottom in an egg cup, so that your guests can have the surprise of cracking open the egg and revealing the jelly inside.
6 Large Eggs
400 mls Water
100 mls Coconut Milk
100 gms Sugar
3 Drops Vanilla Essence
6 Drops Food Colouring
1. Mix the gelatin with the sugar and water in a boiling pan.
2. Heat until it just boils, then turn off the heat and leave to cool, the gelatin should be fully dissolved.
3. Take each egg, cut off the top to form a small hole using a sharp knife with a sawing action.
4. Empty the contents of the egg into a bowl you may have to break the yolk to get it out - we can use these to make an omelette later.
5. Fill and empty the eggs with water several times to clean them.
6. Boil some water in a kettle or pan and pour the boiling water into each egg and leave for a few minutes to sterilize the inside of the eggs.
7. When the gelatin mixture is cooler we can add the coconut milk and food colouring.
8. Add the coconut milk to the gelatin.
9. Separate the mixture into 3 bowls and colour each bowl with different food colourings. If you prefer you can make a clear jelly and a coconut jelly and make more layers.
10. It is then a simple matter of layering, pour a small layer of coloured jelly into the egg, place in a very cold fridge to set it quickly. Repeat for each layer in the egg until the egg is full of jelly.
11. Leave it in the fridge to set thoroughly.
These are ideal treats for easter in place of easter eggs.
The western tradition is that the dessert is sweet. The Thai tradition is slightly different, the Thai word for dessert is 'kanom' and covers all types of post main course dishes & snacks. This leads to some very strange desserts and this is one of them. The top layer is whiter and made from coconut milk and is very salty, the lower layer is very sweet and contains corn. The idea is that the two layers balance out, when eating this dessert you should take some from both layers with your spoon - a little sweet and a little salt.
Ingredients for Sweet Part
100 gms Rice flour
150 gms Sugar
150 ml Rose Water
30 gms Corn Flour
Ingredient for Salty Topping
100 mls Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Rice Flour
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
Preparation for Sweet Part
1. Mix the sugar and the with rice flour.
2. Add the rose water and stir until the flour is well mixed.
3. Place on a medium heat and keep stirring until the flour is cooked - it will lose its whiteness and become more transparent.
4. Add the corn and stir to mix it in.
5. Spoon it into the base of the serving dishes and leave to cool.
Preparation for the Topping
1. Mix the sugar, flour and salt together.
2. Add the coconut milk and stir it until well mixed.
3. Put it on low heat and stir it until the flour is cooked.
4. Spoon it out ontop of the sweet mixture and place in the fridge.
5. Put sesame seed in a small frying pan, heat the pan and brown the seeds for the rich nut fragrance to develop. This takes only 30 seconds or so.
6. Drop a few sesame seeds onto each serving.
Corn is typical for this dish, however pear can be used too if corn does not appeal to you. You can serve this dessert still warm if you prefer.
We love jelly (jello for our American readers) and this one is a favorite. It is a jelly softened with soya milk and flavoured with pineapple. We moulded it in plastic heart boxes which are also very typical Thai products, but you can use regular jelly moulds. You can make a vegetarian jelly by substituting agar (made from seaweed) for the gelatin (made from meat collagen).
Ingredients for Family Portion
230 ml Soya Milk
75 ml Water
60 ml Milk
115 ml Pineapple Juice
1 Tablespoon Gelatin (5gms)
100 gms Sugar
70 gms Pineapple
1. Mix the water and gelatin in a boiling and heat until the gelatin dissolves.
2. Add the soya milk, milk, pineapple juice, and sugar, into the pan and heat until nearly boiling.
3. Leave to cool then put it in the jelly moulds and add the pineapple.
4. Leave in the fridge for 4-5 hours to set.
This is a two layer dessert, a jelly bottom layer and a top creamy layer that comes from mashed pumpkin. It's the combination of the two textures that make this a nice dessert. The flavouring for the green one is Bi-Tuoy (the bubblegum flavouring made from Pandan leaves). You can also buy pandan essence in shops if you can't get the leaves.
Ingredients For Lower Layer
20 gms Bi Tuoy (Pandan) Leaves
300 ml Water
100 gms Sugar
5 gms Agar Agar Jelly Powder
Ingredients for Pumpkin Layer
230 ml Coconut Milk
100 gms Pumpkin
20 gms Sugar
A Pinch of Salt
5 gms Agar Agar Jelly
1. Lower Layer: Blend the bituoy leaves with water, bring the mix to the boil and simmer for a minute. Strain into a second pan you keep the green liquid and throw away the leaf pulp.
2. Add the sugar and agar to the hot green liquid and stir until dissolved. Pour into a tray and leave to cool and set with the tray at a slant, it makes for a prettier effect.
3. Pumpkin Layer: Cut the pumpkin into large cubes and boil in water until soft. Drain and mash.
4. Mix the mashed cooked pumpkin, coconut milk, sugar, agar, and salt and heat while stirring till the sugar has dissolved and the mix is smooth.
5. Leave to cool a little and pour over the bituoy layer, but be careful, agar sets very quickly, you want it to be cool enough to pour on the bituoy layer, but not to let it set. If you are more use to using gelatin as the setting agent agar can be a surprise - it sets above room temperature.
The famouse Japanese sweet dumpling, 'Daifuku' is similar to our Thai rice ball, a sweet filling contained in a wrapper made from glutinous rice flour. There is one that has a nice variation on this theme, and that's Ichigo Daifuku, a three part Daifuku, with a whole strawberry at its center. I'm using the recipe of 'Cooking with Dog', the video blog for Japanese cooking.
She makes it look easy, but I find the hardest part is wrapping the center with the glutinous rice dough. The trick is to pinch out the pastry into a circular disc first, using plenty of starch to avoid it sticking. That made it easier to pull the pastry around the strawberry and end up with something even and thin. Don't make the outer layer too think, it will be unpleasantly chewy and spoiled the effect of the daifuku, if you have too much glutinous dough when you pinch the edges together, pinch off any excess. The other thing is, use a small slightly sour strawberry for this. The strawberry sourness is the contrast for the sweet red bean paste. If it's too ripe and sweet you lose the effect.
Perhaps I'll try marzipan instead of red bean paste. You need sweetness, and firmness in that layer, but it strikes me that marzipan is the perfect layer there. Or even the sweet yellow bean paste, the Chinese use for in sweet pies.
I made Strawberry Daifuku, only a few days ago. The Japanese dumpling with the strawberry in it. But if you've read my blog, you'll know by now I want to bring Thai flavours to these dishes, and here I'm filling a Daifuku with a Coconut Sticky Rice and a Mango center.
Instead of strawberry, we have the mango, instead of the sweet bean paste, I have the sweet/salty coconut sticky rice.
Even if I say so myself, this really worked well. The resulting dumpling had an extra texture from the sticky rice, and the coconut flavour is far more interesting than the sweet bean paste, which made it better than the strawberry original. I think with a little more practice I could keep the mango in the center, but nothing is perfect.