Thai cuisine is celebrated for its harmonious blend of sweet, salty, spicy, and aromatic flavors. Among its myriad of delightful desserts, Khanom Chan stands out as a traditional Thai steamed coconut-pandan cake. This elegant and visually captivating dessert showcases the essence of Thai culinary artistry. Made with the infusion of coconut milk and pandan leaves, Khanom Chan is a deliciously sweet treat often served at special occasions and celebrations. In this step-by-step guide to make Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake, we will unravel the secrets to crafting this exquisite Thai dessert in your own kitchen.
For the Batter:
– 1 1/2 cups rice flour
– 1 1/4 cups tapioca flour
– 2 cups coconut milk
– 2 cups pandan juice (made from pandan leaves)
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups sugar
– 2 pandan leaves (for color and flavor)
For the Coconut Topping:
– 2 cups coconut milk
– 2 tablespoons rice flour
– 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– Heat-resistant molds or a round cake pan
– Pandan leaves (for greasing molds)
– Mixing bowls
– Banana leaves (optional, for lining the molds)
– A ladle or a funnel
Step 1: Prepare Pandan Juice
1. Begin by washing and cutting the pandan leaves into small pieces. Pandan leaves are available in many Asian grocery stores. You can also use pandan extract if fresh leaves are not available.
2. Place the pandan leaves in a blender or food processor, add a little water, and blend until smooth.
3. Strain the pandan juice through a fine-mesh strainer, collecting the vibrant green liquid in a bowl. Set the pandan juice aside for later use.
Step 2: Prepare the Batter
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour and tapioca flour.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the pandan juice and coconut milk.
3. Slowly add the liquid mixture into the flour while stirring continuously. This will create a smooth batter with a green tint from the pandan juice.
4. In another bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
5. Add the sugar and salt mixture to the batter. Stir well to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and the batter is smooth.
Step 3: Prepare the Coconut Topping
1. In a saucepan, mix the coconut milk, rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and sugar. Stir well to combine.
2. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. This should take about 5-7 minutes. The resulting mixture should be thick, but still pourable. Set it aside to cool.
Step 4: Prepare the Molds
1. Grease the molds with pandan leaves or use a non-stick cooking spray. You can also line the molds with banana leaves for an authentic touch and to enhance the aroma.
2. Make sure your molds are heat-resistant and are the right size for your steamer.
Step 5: Steaming the First Layer
1. Pour a small amount of the batter into each greased mold, filling them about 1/4 of the way. This will be the first layer.
2. Steam the molds for about 10 minutes over high heat.
3. After 10 minutes, check the first layer. It should be set but not fully cooked. To test, touch the surface with a finger; it should not stick.
4. Carefully pour the next layer of batter over the first layer. Steam again for 10 minutes.
Step 6: Repeat the Layering Process
1. Continue to alternate between pouring batter and steaming until you’ve used up all the batter. This process should yield around 7-8 layers, creating a beautiful gradient effect.
2. Remember to gently tap the molds on the counter to remove air bubbles after each layer is added.
Step 7: Steam the Final Layer
1. The last layer should be the thickest one. Pour the remaining batter into the molds, and steam for about 20-25 minutes. The cake should be fully cooked and set.
2. To check if it’s done, insert a toothpick or a skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, the Khanom Chan is ready.
Step 8: Prepare the Coconut Topping
1. While the cake is steaming, reheat the coconut topping over low heat. Stir it to ensure it’s smooth and pourable.
2. When the Khanom Chan is fully cooked, remove it from the steamer, and let it cool for a few minutes.
Step 9: Add the Coconut Topping
1. Pour the warm coconut topping evenly over the surface of the Khanom Chan. Use a ladle or funnel to help spread it.
2. Allow the Khanom Chan to cool and set with the topping for at least 2 hours. It’s best when served at room temperature.
Step 10: Cut and Serve
1. Once the Khanom Chan is set and firm, carefully remove it from the molds. If you used banana leaves to line the molds, it will add a lovely aroma to your dessert.
2. Slice the Khanom Chan into squares or diamond shapes, following the layering pattern. The vibrant layers should be clearly visible.
3. Serve your homemade Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake (Khanom Chan) and enjoy the delightful combination of sweet coconut and pandan flavors.
Making Khanom Chan, the Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake, is a delightful culinary adventure that allows you to explore the flavors and traditions of Thai cuisine. This visually stunning dessert, with its exquisite layers and captivating green hue, is sure to impress your friends and family at special gatherings. While it may take a little practice to perfect the art of layering, the result is a delicious and visually striking dessert that pays homage to Thailand’s rich culinary heritage. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on the journey of creating this delectable masterpiece in your own kitchen.