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Thai coconut-egg custard (sangkaya)

Thai coconut-egg custard (sangkaya)
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

When the weekly food fest at Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood was closed down almost two years ago because of neighbors' complaints about crowds and parking, the culinary blogosphere went wild with texted groans lamenting the loss of its ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes, plus cooling time for the cream | Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 cup thick coconut cream
  • 1 cup palm sugar or coconut sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon bai dteuy (pandanus leaf essence), optional

Step 1In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut cream and sugar over medium heat just long enough to dissolve the sugar and blend with the cream, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a medium bowl to cool to room temperature.

Step 2In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Whisk in the essence if using, then whisk in the cooled coconut cream mixture until thoroughly incorporated.

Step 3Strain the mixture through a dampened muslin cloth or fine wire mesh strainer into an oiled 8-inch square baking dish.

Step 4Place the dish in an Asian steamer set over simmering water and cover. Alternatively, place the custard on a rack set over simmering water in a large roasting pan and cover. Steam over medium-high heat until the custard is set (a knife inserted near the center should come out clean), about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 5Serve custard in serving bowls or cut into slices, 3 inches by about one-half inch thick, on top of sticky rice with coconut milk (see accompanying recipe).

Note: Adapted from "It Rains Fishes," by San Diego author and cooking teacher Kasma Loha-Unchit. One traditional way to serve this is cooked in the center of a kabocha squash. Coconut cream, palm sugar and coconut sugar can be found at Thai and most Asian markets. Coconut cream will also rise to the top of good-quality chilled coconut milk; skim the thick cream from the top and reserve the milk for another use. Bai dteuy can be found at Thai markets.


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