Thai ice-cream with candied ginger topping (12/8/96)
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.
This I suppose is what everybody wants when most of the web is
situated in lands where winter is starting, and there is probably
snow on the ground... Still I had to wear winter clothing the
morning - the temperature was down to 24C (75F) when I left for
work and my teeth were positively chattering.
In order to get the correct effect in the ginger it is
'distressed' a little first. We do this by rolling it through a
heavy roller designed to tenderize dried squid. However you
should be able to get a similar effect with a pasta roller or
even a rolling pin. The slices should be of uniform thickness so
I suggest a sharp kitchen slicer rather than a hand held knife.
For restaurant presentation the slices of ginger are cut to
uniform pretty shapes using small confectioners' biscuit cutters,
or the type used to cut out cake decorations.
so: first preparation of the candied ginger.
1 cup of sliced ginger
2 cups of water
one and half cups palm sugar
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
If you are using tender young ginger you may leave the skin on.
Older ginger should be peeled. This may be easier after it has
slice the ginger into uniform roundels about an eighth of an inch
thick, and then roll them until they are half the original
thickness. Dust the ginger lightly with the baking soda, and
leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
Remove the baking soda by vigorously brushing with a stiff
bristled brush to produce a slightly matte texture to the
surface, and then immerse in lime juice for an hour. This has the
effect of heightening the flavor, and also giving the ginger a
delicate pink color.
Bring the water to a boil, and stirring continuously add the
sugar a little at a time until all is dissolved and forms a
sticky, syrupy consistency. If necessary add a touch more water
to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to very
low and add the ginger slices and simmer, very gently, for 10
minutes, then turn off the stove and allow the ginger to cool
naturally. Remove the ginger from the liquid and drain it (you
don't have to be overly enthusiastic about this, but it shouldn't
be too wet either), and put it in a sterile preserving jar, and
keep in the refrigerator for at least a week before use. Reserve
the ginger syrup in another sterilized jar, to pour over the ice
Ice cream is clearly not "authentically Thai" in the sense that
it has been served for hundreds of years (Thailand is a tropical
country and without modern refrigerators it is very difficult to
make ice cream), but it is now widely available and very popular.
However two things are uniquely Thai:
firstly it isn't made with animal milk, but with coconut milk,
and secondly it is not usually flavored with fruit, but rather
with savories such as corn, sweet potato, or herbs.
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup corn kernels, pureed
1 teaspoon of vanilla or rosewater (optional)
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of shredded coconut (see below)
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar.
You also need 1 pineapple
In a dry wok or skillet, over medium heat, toast the coconut
'meat' until golden brown, and set aside to cool.
Split the coconut (pineapple, actually -gn see note) in half
lengthwise, and scoop out the woody heart of the fruit and then
place the two halves in the refrigerator to cool.
Combine the coconut milk and water, and warm it, then stir in the
sugar, and stir until dissolved.
In a liquidiser/blender, puree the corn kernels (or use a can of
creamed corn), and then stir it into the coconut milk, combining
thoroughly. Add the rosewater if you are using it, and a dash of
salt and taste for flavor balance. Transfer to a mixing bowl and,
with a hand beater, whisk to thoroughly to incorporate air. Pour
the mixture into the two hollows in the pineapples and transfer
to the ice box, and chill until set. Any extra ice cream can be
cooled in ramekin dishes or similar.
Slice the coconuts into horizontal slices, and serve to the
diners with any excess ice-cream also shared out, decorating each
slice with pieces of candied ginger. Fold the fried coconut into
the reserved ginger syrup, and pour over the slices of ice cream,
decorate with mint and lime leaves.
correction -- the references to splitting the coconut in half and
slicing it, should of course read 'pineapple'.
sorry about that.
Colonel Ian F. Khuntilanont-Philpott