Khanom tako is a pudding that is enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. My sister told me that when we were in the refugee camp in Thailand, she would often blow her two-baht allowance on this dessert.
The pudding is easily customizable and can be made with any juice or flavor with any fruit as garnish or texture. Corn or water chestnuts are folded in for added texture, but most any other fruit would work. It is traditionally topped with a slightly salty coconut layer, which acts as a balance to the sweeter pudding layer. The pudding itself is made with rice flour, tapioca flour, and no dairy. So, it’s naturally, dairy-free and gluten free! While editing the video, I was imagining a vegan chocolate pudding with that coconut topping, and I might have to add that to the list of many things that I want to test this year! Imagine a chocolate tako.
I’ve tested this recipe a few times to get the textures and flavor that I like. If you watch the video and think the portion of rice flour and tapioca are off from what I am saying. You are correct. I started out with more rice flour than tapioca but found the pudding to be too gritty. After multiple attempts, I found a 1:1 ratio works well. See my other notes below!
• Sugar – adjust the sugar to your taste. Also adjust it to the juice that you are using. Pandan juice, which is made from blending pandan leaves and water, doesn’t have any sugar added and can take a bit more sugar. Whereas, coconut water, which contains sugar, doesn’t need as much sugar. At the end of the day, you can adjust the sugar to your taste.
• Juice – to make pandan juice use 6-8 pandan leaves and blend with water. Strain. You can use any juice or flavor that you like. For a traditional corn version, you can also reserve some of the water used to boil the ears of corn and use that for your pudding. I found a container of coconut water in the pantry, and I dare say that I like that version more than the pandan version.
• Coconut layer – don’t overcook this as it may curdle, and you will have a lumpy topping. However, if you do end up with a lumpy coconut layer, add that to a blender to smooth it out and strain it through a sieve. It will be ok!
• Cups – traditionally served in banana leaf cups or pandan leaf cups. However, for ease of use and not use my pandan leaves as mere vessels. Fresh pandan leaves are better saved for the dessert itself in my opinion. I have opted to use some 4 oz. mason jars and also 5.5 oz serving cups with lids. Both are great options, especially when you can stick a lid on the cup or jar for easy portion control, storage, and transport.
Yields: 12 (5.5oz) cups
Time: 45 minutes
4 cups (946ml) pandan juice or coconut water
2/3 cup sugar (130g) – adjust to taste – I used only ¼ cup (50g) in the coconut water version.
½ cup (70g) rice flour
½ cup (65g) tapioca flour
Pinch of salt (optional)
Food coloring (optional
3-4 ears of corn – 1 cup of kernels (leftover corn for snacking)
1 (5oz) can water chestnut – 1 cup of diced water chestnut
12-15 Banana leaf, pandan leaf, cups, or ramekin (depending on the sizes)
2 (13.5oz) cans coconut milk – 800ml
½ cup (70g) rice flour
½ cup (100g) sugar
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• Prepare the corn. Boil the ears of corn for 3-4 minutes or until cooked. Cut the kernels off the cob and set aside about 1 cup or more for added garnish.
• Prepare the water chestnut. Drain the can of water chestnuts. Dice into small pieces and boil for a couple of minutes to get rid of any canny taste. Drain and set aside.
• In a saucepan, add pandan juice or coconut water, sugar, pinch of salt (if using), rice flour and tapioca flour. Whisk together. Add a drop or two of food coloring (if using).
• Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly in one direction until the pudding is thick and translucent.
• Fold in the diced water chestnut and corn kernels.
• Divide into cups or ramekins.
• Prepare the topping. In a saucepan over medium-low to low heat, add coconut milk, sugar, salt, and rice flour. Whisk together. Cook, stirring constantly until the coconut mixture has thickened and coats a spoon. A line can be drawn on the back of the spoon.
• Pour the coconut topping on top of the pudding layer. Allow to set.
• Serve warm or chilled.