Saturday, 22 March 2014


faux cheese - ( Sangkhaya ) Thai coconut custard with Strawberry gelee rind , faux grapes - ( Look choop ) Kaffir lime flavoured mung bean paste desserts.

                    Its time to play with food again this time the dish is designed to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking they're about eat cheese and grapes only to discover the grapes is flavoured mung bean paste and the cheese is really a silky smooth delicate thai coconut custard, both traditional Thai desserts. Look choop was designed to impress the palace royals with all its vibrant colours of hand painted portions of mung bean paste shaped into tiny fruits and vegetables and dipped in an agar syrup to give shine and life. Is it art, with food as the medium or just cooking.
                   I started preparing this dish a week ago starting with the look choop. To make this I first soaked 125 g of yellow split mung bean in cold water for 2 hours before steaming for a further half an hour. I then mixed the mung beans with a quarter cup of caster sugar, and half a cup of kaffir lime leaf steeped and drained coconut milk into a blender to make a puree. This was then transferred to a medium pot over a low heat and cooked while stirring until the paste became thick and wouldn't stick to my hands. The paste was then removed from the heat and wrapped in plastic film before being placed in to the fridge for an hour. This recipe is for about 30 pieces, so once the paste was chilled I shaped pieces of the paste into grape shapes and using a tooth pick I skewered the grape and with the other end I placed standing in a piece of foam ready to be painted. Once I finished shaping all the grapes I mixed together some blue and red food colouring to achieve a dark purple colour to which I then painted all the grapes, I ended up applying more coats to some to try and achieve different tones. In a small saucepan I added one cup of water, two table spoons of caster sugar and one table spoon of agar, this was brought to a simmer whisking to dissolve the agar and sugar before removing from the heat. Once cooled a little I dipped the look choop in the agar glazing and allowed them to dry before repeating this process another two times giving the grape a three coat layer of shinny jelly syrup. The look choop were then allowed to fully dry before being placed between layers of silicon paper in an air tight container in the fridge until plating.
The sangkhaya or custard was made by heating coconut cream with grated palm sugar and egg yolks over a medium heat until thick and creamy to which the custard is then traditionally steamed, but for this purpose I wanted a bit more structure and less aeration so I set the custard with a little agar agar. This was added at 1% and whisked while simmering the custard until the agar had dissolved and then removed from the heat and poured into a round mould. To make the strawberry flavoured cheese rind I placed some strawberry coulis, water, red colouring and agar agar at 1% into a small saucepan and brought the mixture to a simmer while whisking to combine and dissolve the agar agar, this was then removed from the heat and poured onto a flat tray and put aside to set. Once the gelee had set I cut a strip the same thickness as the custard and secured the gelee around the circumference of the un-moulded custard round. To plate I cut a wedge of the custard from the round and accompanied the wedge of custard with the kaffir lime flavoured look choop.

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