We know Christmas time is when things get hectic, and we also know you want to try out some refreshing desserts to counter Australia’s hot summer weather. Our solution? Easy Asian desserts with lots of ice involved.
Our Christmas menu so far includes grilled meat, fried spring rolls, skewers and salad.
To complement the meal, we recommend an Asian dessert platter of Thai Sticky Rice with Mango, Thai Red Rubies, Thai shaved ice and Japanese mochi ice cream. It’s a winning combination that will complete your Christmas feast and also shine on its own.
Does it sound mouth-watering enough? Check out our recipes now!
Desserts are the fairy tales of the kitchen, a happily-ever-after to supper.
1. Thai Sticky Rice With Mango
Sticky rice has been around for more than 40,000 years in Southeast Asia and is a staple of our culture and cuisine. Thai people, especially from the Northern areas, adore sticky rice so much that you can find them having sticky rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and yes, even dessert! Thais are also famous for their mangoes and coconut, so it is no surprise that when these 3 items blend, they make a sensational combination of sweet, sour and creamy.
Our cooking tips:
- When you rinse the glutinous rice, make sure you wash off the excess starch by lightly brushing them together using both of your hands. This step saves you a lot of time and water when washing the rice.
- There are multiple ways to cook glutinous rice: on the stove, in a rice cooker or steamer. We are certain you have already read from other blogs about these conventional ways of cooking glutinous rice. Do you know that we have an even faster, easier way for you? Drum roll please.... microwave! The instructions are included below.
Okay, we know you are sceptical but hear us out and test it for yourself.
Storage suggestions: On hot summer days like this, the fridge is our hero when it comes to storing food. While sticky rice can last up to 7 days in the fridge and coconut cream, up to 5 days, we recommend you finish the sticky rice within 3 days because it will harden and dry out if it is left in the fridge for any longer.
Before you reheat the sticky rice in the microwave, break up the rice lumps using a fork, splash some water on top and cover the bowl or plate with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until it is heated through.
|For the sticky rice||
For the mango and topping
For the coconut cream
- Rinse the glutinous (sticky) rice with cold water for a few times until the water looks clear. Soak the rice in water for at least 6 hours, you can also soak it overnight. A quick tip: The longer it’s soaked, the softer the sticky rice will be.
- Drain the water from the glutinous rice and transfer the rice into a large ceramic bowl. Pour in the boiling water until the rice submerges. Cling wrap the bowl and microwave for 6 minutes.
- Once the glutinous rice is cooked through, transfer to a big bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to retain the moisture. If you leave it uncovered, the sticky rice will dry out and harden.
- Combine the 600 ml coconut cream, 100 g sugar and 1 tbsp salt in a small pot. Stir the ingredients over medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove the coconut sauce from heat, and gradually mix in with the glutinous rice. A quick tip: You can wear a glove to blend the 2 ingredients evenly. Alternatively, use a rice spoon. When the coconut cream is blended with the glutinous rice, you will have a nice creamy soft texture and you can taste both the sweetness and saltiness.
- In a small saucepan, mix the 150 ml coconut cream with the salt over medium heat. Allow the sauce to boil and thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer coconut cream into a small bowl or a gravy boat.
- On a frying pan or wok, lightly roast the peeled mung beans over medium heat until they turn golden and brown on the edges.
- To serve, place the sticky rice on the plate, followed by the mango cubes, coconut cream and finally roasted mung beans are sprinkled on top.
I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert
2. Thai Red Rubies Dessert
You may have heard of it or you may have never tried it before. But trust us, Thai Red Rubies is one of the most mouth-watering, refreshing and dazzling desserts of Southeast Asia. It is simple and easy to make. Your guests are guaranteed to ask you for the recipe!
- We don’t recommend keeping the red rubies for more than 2 days because they might turn soggy when staying in the fridge for too long.
- The taste is best when you serve the coconut milk on the same day it is opened, though it can usually be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Remember to wrap the coconut milk before storing.
Coconut milk (optional)
- Soak the cut water chestnuts in red syrup for 20-30 minutes allowing the chestnuts to absorb the sweetness and colour.
- If you want to make the pandan leaf coconut milk: Boil water, coconut milk and pandan leaf for 7-10 minutes. Stir in the salt until dissolved and allow the syrup to cool down. This step is optional.
- Use the strainer to sieve the water chestnuts and set aside the excess syrup. Coat the strained water chestnuts with tapioca starch. Make sure the pieces are evenly coated. Shake off the excess corn starch with the strainer. They should now be looking like tiny red rubies!
- In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil. Stir in half of the rubies and wait for them to cook. Once the rubies float, transfer them into a bowl of iced water. Repeat with the rest of the rubies.
- Strain the rubies from the iced water and toss them into the bowl of red syrup. Add the toddy palm jackfruit and ice in. Your summer dessert, Thai Red Rubies, is ready!
There is no better way to bring people together than with desserts.
3. Thai Shaved Ice (Nam Kang Sai)
Who doesn’t like some ice-cold dessert in summer - literally! Originating from East Asia during the 7th century AD, shaved ice has spread to almost every country in the world. The variations may differ (syrups and toppings) but we all have to agree that it is the best food invention for hot summer days like this!
- 1 tbsp dried basil seeds
- 1 cup (230 g) shaved ice
- 10 g croutons or bread
- 3 tbsp Hale’s red syrup
- 1 tsp sweetened condensed milk
- Soak dried basil seeds in ½ cup of warm water for 30 minutes or overnight
- Combine the dessert in a bowl by layering soaked basil seeds, shaved ice, and croutons
- Pour as much syrup as you want over the ice and drizzle with condensed milk
I love dessert. I can’t be guilty about it because I have to taste everything. I experiment.
4. Japanese Mochi Ice Cream
You know what we’re talking about - soft, chewy mochi ice cream. Invented back in the 1980s, mochi ice cream has transformed from a traditional dessert to a snack the whole world loves especially when summer comes!
First time making mochi ice cream? Here are some helpful tips for best results:
- Be generous with the cornstarch on the surface you use for rolling the mochi dough, on your hands and on the rolling pin. You can always brush off the excess powder later.
- Use plastic wrap to wrap the mochi balls in perfect round shapes
- Standard rice flour won't work for this dessert. You will need to use sticky (glutinous) rice flour.
- Please read the cooking instructions before you start making the mochi. Be warned, you will go through some trial and error while crafting these Japanese delicacies and it might take longer than expected - but don’t be discouraged, it will all be worth it! Remember, practice makes perfect.
Storage suggestions: when being stored in the freezer, mochi ice cream can last up to 2 weeks. You can either use the excess cornstarch to cover the mochi or wrap it with plastic wrap to prevent them from sticking together. Carefully stack them into an air-tight container and store in the freezer. Before you dig in, allow the mochi ice cream to sit at room temperature for 2-3 minutes to soften.
- ¾ cup (180 g) Shiratamako; substitute for Shiratamako is Erawan glutinous rice flour
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- ¼ cup (60 g) sugar. We recommend using sugar since it helps to soften the mochi
- ½ cup (120 g) Knorr Kingford cornstarch
- Ice cream of your choice
- Scoop out the ice cream and place it on the muffin tray. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
- In a medium size bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour and sugar.
- Slowly whisk in water until the mixture is nicely blended.
- Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 1 minute.
- Stir the dough using a wet spatula (prevents it from sticking). Put back the plastic wrap and microwave for another 1 minute. Repeat this step and microwave for 30 seconds to finish cooking, best to try for 1 minute and repeat this step until the mixture turns almost translucent)
- Allow the dough to cool down at room temperature.
Using the steamer:
- A 3 tier steamer set is best. Alternatively, you can use either bamboo steamer or steamer insert for a large pot. Pour the water into the pot (about 2 finger knuckles high), followed by the bamboo steamer or steamer insert. Place the bowl of mochi dough on top and cover with the lid
- Boil the water and allow the dough to cook through for 30 minutes. When you see the dough turn from clear white to translucent, remove the bowl from the steamer. Stir the dough using a wet spatula. Allow the dough to cool down at room temperature.
- Generously sprinkle the corn starch on a clean, flat surface (kitchen bench, large chopping board or non-stick pastry mat). Pour out the cooked mochi dough on top and coat with more cornstarch. Spread the dough into a thin pretty mochi blanket (about 0.5 cm thick) with the rolling pin and cut out the circles using the cookie cutter.
- Scoop out the ice cream from the muffin tray and gently place it in the middle of the mochi dough. Wrap the dough by pinching the edges together and gently roll it between the palms of your hand to form a ball shape. A quick tip: Wear a pair of plastic kitchen gloves when you roll the mochi ball. If you are not comfortable with rolling by hand, use the plastic wrap as a mochi wrapper.
- Place all the mochi balls back into the muffin tray. Freeze for 30 minutes and dig in after.
All I wanted for Christmas is dessert for every meal of the day.
We hope our special Christmas blog series inspires you to whip up some creative dishes this year. Our last class will be next Wednesday, 16th December from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. Join our foodie community Asian Nom Nom to attend the class and interact with other foodies!