This is the final of four dishes that I learned to make during my 4-hour cooking class at BaiPai Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand. This is a mini-series that's part of a larger Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see all the posts in this series.
These changes in the weather lately are driving me crazy.The teasing few days of warm weather we had last week (high of 80° F!!) flipped a switch within me. All of a sudden, I was decidedly done with winter. Over the weekend, I grabbed all my down jackets and wool coats and put then into storage. Same with the boots and winter gear.
Yesterday morning I walked out in a thin jacket and a short sleeved shirt, only to turn right around after walking outside in order to grab a warmer jacket.
But warm days are coming very soon. And before we know it, we'll be longing for relief from the hot weather.
On that note, we end our Thai cooking school series with one of my favorites. It's a dessert that's perfect for times when it's really hot outside. Served over ice, Tab Tim Grob is extremely refreshing and cool. The bright colors also make me think of summer.
"Tab tim" means rubies or pomegranate and "grob" means crunchy.
These gorgeously colorful "jewels" do indeed resemble pomegranate seeds in some way. Water chestnuts are covered in an ever-so-thin dusting of tapioca flour and then boiled briefly. What results is a perfect "seed" with a slightly crunchy center and a soft, clear outer layer.
How to Make Rubies
Cut up water chestnuts into small cubes. If you are using the canned variety, soak them in water for 10 minutes first before soaking. Soak the water chestnut pieces in red grenadine or red cordial. You can also use dark red juices or red food coloring. [Please note that this step is merely for show. The color will not affect the flavor, and therefore if you don't want to use coloring, you can skip this step. [You can also use other colored cordials or food coloring, but then maybe you'll have to change the name to "emerald" or "sapphires" in coconut milk!].
While waiting for the water chestnuts to turn red, make your syrup and coconut mixture. Both are pretty easy to make. For the syrup, just bring sugar, water, and pandanus leaves to a boil over low heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes (no need to stir).Note: this syrup can last for up to one month in the refrigerator if you want to make a larger batch.
After the water chestnuts have been soaking for one hour, they should nicely bright and red. You are ready to cook the "rubies"! Toss the soaked water chestnuts in tapioca flour until they are completely covered. Remove the powdered water chestnuts from the tapioca flour, shaking to remove excess flour.
Bring a pot of about 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the water chestnuts and count to 10. Stir once and wait until the water returns to a boil and the water chestnuts float to the top (about 20 seconds). Using a slotted spoon, remove the water chestnuts and dunk them into an ice bath.
Once you're ready to serve, drain the water chestnuts well with a slotted spoon, and place them in the bottom of a dessert bowl. Add syrup, coconut mixture, and crushed ice.
I fell head over heels in love with this dessert. The water chestnuts have this really unique texture where they are soft and chewy on the outside yet slightly crunchy on the inside. The sweet-salty combo from the slightly salty coconut milk base and the sweet pandan-infused syrup is seriously addictive. Even though I was beyond stuffed from an afternoon of eating Golden Bags, Larb Gai, and Pad Thai, and I still polished off my entire bowl of this refreshingly delicious dessert.
Throughout the rest of my short trip in Thailand, I desperately sought this out at restaurants.
Tim Tab Grob (Rubies in Coconut Milk)
30g peeled water chestnuts, boiled and diced
2 T red grenadine or cordial (or food coloring)
2 T tapioca flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1-2 Pandanus leaves
(or 1-2 drops Pandan extract)
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
Soak water chestnuts in grenadine for 1 hour. If you are using canned water chestnuts, soak them in water for 10 minutes first before putting them in the red coloring liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the sugar, water, and pandanus leaves (torn to release flavor) into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, heat coconut milk and salt (and optionally torn pandanus leaves) to a boil. Continue stirring to prevent the coconut oil from separating out. Set aside.
After 1 hour, transfer red water chestnuts into tapioca flour and toss with flour until well covered. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the water chestnuts, cooking for 10 seconds. Stir and wait until the water boils again and the water chestnuts float to the top. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
To serve, combine water chestnuts, syrup, and coconut mixture in a bowl and add crush ice. The amounts are flexible. Taste it and add more or less depending on how sweet you want it to be.
This is the sixteenth post in the Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Other posts include:
Thip Samai, Best Pad Thai in Bangkok?
Raan Jay Fai, Best Drunken Noodle in Bangkok
Street Foods of Bangkok, Part I
Street Foods of Bangkok, Part II
Fun Fruits in Thailand
Maeklong Railway Market
Floating Markets (Damnoen Saduak)
Cooking Classes + Recipes
Somphong Thai Cooking School
Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
Thai Panaeng Curry Chicken
Bananas In Golden Syrup
BaiPai Thai Cooking School
Larb Gai (Laap Gai)
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