The food of Thailand is renowned the world over, revered for its balance of flavours and invigorating spiciness. But what do we know of Thai desserts beyond restaurant staples such as Khao Neeo Mamuang (Mango with Sticky Rice) and Tup Tim Grob (Red Rubies in Coconut Milk)?
Here are some lesser known Thai desserts that are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Woon Bai Toey (Coconut Pandan Jelly)
Throughout Southeast Asia, pandan, or screwpine leaves are used to delicately flavor and fragrance; from dishes like Nasi Lemak and Pandan Fried Chicken, to desserts such as chiffon cakes, fruit salads and jellies. In the Thai kitchen, the use of pandan is particularly skilled, its delicate perfume permeating a myriad of dishes savoury and sweet.
A refreshing, light treat, Woon Bai Toey comprises of firm layers of pandan and creamy coconut milk jellies, presented in small and intricate shapes such as flowers, all smaller than the palm of the hand. They are a treat not just on the palate but also on the eyes and a perfect dessert on a hot day!
They can be easily made or bought at street vendors and markets across Thailand.
Khanom Krok (Griddled Coconut Pudding)
Sweet with a tinge of savoury, Khanom Kroks are a griddled hotcake made of coconut cream, grated coconut, rice and rice flour. There a two batters, one that forms the thin, crispy outer layer, while the second yields and moist custardy interior. These are then cooked in a cast iron pan before being served hot, plain or topped with corn, pumpkin, taro or spring onions.
Khanom Krok can be bought at markets, street vendors and even hot off the boats at floating markets across Thailand.
Luk Chup (Fruit Shaped Desserts)
Cute, tiny and intricate, Luk Chup are miniature fruit-shaped desserts made of mung bean flour, coconut cream, sugar and clear gelatin. They are then painted with natural colourings.
Harder to find because of the intricacy involved in making them, they are now presented at special occasions such as New Year’s, birthdays and other celebrations.
Khao Tom Mud (Steamed Banana & Sticky Rice Pudding)
A humble dessert that is often enjoyed at home, Khao Tom Mud consists of glutinous rice, banana, sugar and coconut milk. The rice is first soaked, then mixed with the other ingredients, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed till cooked and tender. The result is comfort food that has been handed down through generations by Thai grandmothers to their grandkids; sweet, unctuous and fragrant. Making them is a skill handed down from the olden days, when they were prepared as after-meal sweetmeats for the King of Siam.
Try Khao Tom at simple Thai restaurants, street stalls or secure yourself an invitation to a traditional Thai kitchen.