A look at I conducted myself (sample length: me) proves there is no such component as feeling too full for dessert. So, as your night of festivities come to an end on July 4th, wonder your guests with the sweetest of grand finales. Whether they’re treated that boast crimson, white, and blue colors, or simply taste summery AF (self-made popsicles, all of us?), these fourth of July cakes are well worth making an Independence Day tradition. Thai cuisine is famous for its intriguing delicacy and spiciness. However, Thai desserts have been overlooked. The three Thai desserts famous outside of Thailand are mango with sticky rice, deep-fried bananas, and coconut ice cream. There is a broad tradition of desserts in Thailand over the centuries which offers many ideas and choices.
Thai desserts have long been with the Thai people, certainly back to the Sukhothai period (1238-1350). This had long traded with China and India, which helped in exchanging cultures and traditions as well, including food. In the Ayuthaya period (1350-1767), Thais started trading with Western countries. The Portuguese were the first westerners to introduce the use of eggs and the oven. Thai desserts like Thong Yip (Pinched Gold), Thong Yod (Drop of Gold) and Foi Thong (Golden Threads) originate from Portugal, not Thailand as most people would guess, including Thais.
Thai desserts are renowned for intricacy and elaborateness, their organization, and the punctilious and patient care with which they are created. Characteristic of Thai desserts are not only a range of sweetness but also other elements such as a good fragrance achieved starting delicately and exquisitely from the ingredient preparation to the final product. There are many methods to make Thai desserts, varying from steaming, baking, boiling, or deep frying, to complex processes like cooking egg yolks in syrup. The main ingredients for most Thai desserts include coconut milk, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, food coloring, and fragrance.
To make high-quality Thai desserts, fresh coconut is a must. Back in the old days, only fresh coconut was used in making Thai desserts. And at present, to make coconut milk, finely grated coconut meat is still steeped in warm water, not hot water. It is then squeezed until dry. The white fluid from the first press is called “Hua Ka Ti”. Warm water is then added again to make the second and third pressed coconut milk, which is called “Hang Ka Ti.” Finely grated coconut meat is generally used about 3 times and then discarded. Freshly pressed coconut milk has a better taste and aroma than commercial coconut milk in a can. However, with a fast pace of life, or the focus more on other elements of life, it becomes more common for a family to use commercial coconut milk.
Sugar is one of the main ingredients in Thai desserts. The two common sugars used in Thai desserts are Coconut Palm Sugar and Palm Sugar. Coconut palm sugar is made from the coconut palm, whereas palm sugar is made from the sap of the sugar palm or palmyra palm, called Taan in Thai. Palm sugar is often used interchangeably with coconut palm sugar but they are different in many ways. For instance, palm sugar is dryer and more solid than coconut palm sugar. It is also more expensive than coconut palm sugar. In some dessert recipes, coconut palm sugar is often replaced with palm sugar. The replacement may lend the same general look to the dessert but the dessert will be different in taste and aroma.
Thai desserts are well known for their intriguing light tones. Generally, the colors used to attract people are made from natural flowers or plants. The following are examples of the most common color sources used in Thai desserts: