Friday, March 28, 2008

Tub Tim Grob


Wey came into the kitchen yesterday and pointed an accusing finger at the bowl of colorful jewels I was stirring, and said: "So, you are using artificial colors! Didn't you say not to eat anything with articifial colors??" Guilty as charged, son, but the colors mainly were for the photos. I abhor anything colored unnaturally, and at the wet market, the ladies who sell fresh 'oily' noodles know that I would only buy the light-color noodles. It is a very Asian thing to color most desserts, and colors can range from bright pastel pink (as in air bandung, which I'd sip with a lot of fear) to green-colored unripe mangoes to red sticky kueh kosuie). Most of these colors are not approved by the health authorities but are used rampantly.

Tub tim grob means red rubies in coconut milk, but I find the tapioca-covered water chestnuts to look very much like pomegranate seeds. This is a Thai dessert that my friend K of Ohio loves, and it's been years since I last made it. My jackfruit tree, given to me by K, has been producing a lot of fruits recently and so I decided to make this simple but very refreshing and addictive dessert. Tub tim grob is fantastic after a big barbie meal because the water chestnuts, shaved ice and coconut milk will cool your body. I think tub tim grob is a variation of the most famous (and yummy) Malaysian dessert, ais batu campur (acronym being ABC). Now ABC, that's another thing to blog about, another day.

Tub Tim Grob (6 servings)
300g peeled fresh water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups (approx) tapioca flour
4 pieces fresh pandan leaves
6 large red dates (optional)
150g palm sugar (gula melaka) or white sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh thick coconut milk (no substitute please)
1/2 t salt
3 to 4 cups shaved or crushed ice
A large bowl of ice water
2 cups jackfruit, sliced finely

1. Cut the water chestnuts into small cubes, about 0.5 mm square or slightly larger. Use liquid color if like. If you are like me, omit the colors or use natural plant colors like the pandan leaves. Toss the colored water chestnuts in lots of tapioca flour, the more flour sticking to the water chestnuts the better.


2. Put the thick coconut milk and salt into a small pot and heat it until just before it boils. Let cool completely and chill.

3. Boil about 3 litres of water in a medium-sized pot. Using a coarse sieve, shake off the excess flour and drop half the coated water chestnuts into the boiling water, using a fork to stir the water well so that the water chestnuts will not stick together. After about a minute, the water chestnuts will rise to the top. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the water chestnuts and put them into the bowl of ice water (so they won't stick and also maintain a good bite), stirring again so they won't stick together. Put into fridge. Repeat with the remaining water chestnuts.

For home consumption, do not color the water chestnuts (back).

4. Put the 1 1/2 cup water, the pandan leaves, red dates and sugar into a small pot and boil until the syrup is thickened, but not too thick because upon cooling the syrup will thicken further. The syrup should just coat the back of a metal spoon and run off immediately. Throw away the pandan leaves. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve to remove any residue if using palm sugar.

Remember to strain if using gula melaka.

5. To serve, put a bit of shaved ice into a bowl, add some water chestnuts, a red date, some jackfruit, lots of coconut milk and some syrup. Enjoy, and forget about the coconut oil that's running into your blood vessels.


Mandy said...

My first bite of this dessert was in Phuket years ago. I didn't know that the crunchy bites were actually watercrest nut until you mention! Oh, and I am so envious of your bundle of pandan leaves. Can't find it here. :(

triShie said...

...the name caught me off guard. sounded like a tongue twister..had to say it slowly twice... LOL!!

artificial coloring...HEY! it's got the greens, reds, orange and whites..what we're supposed to have for daily veggie intake!!

HEHEHE.. i know, sorry. i'm being bad. i noe what you mean, say TAK NAK to artificial food coloring, people!!

your pics so sharp!!!!!

red | hongyi said...


Mama! I've been searching high and low for this dessert whenever I go to Thai restaurants. The last time I ate it, I was probably around 9. I remember you used to make them in Na's kitchen. The other time was when we went to that Thai restaurant in Singapore.

We don't get jackfruits here, so make some for me when I go back, ok?

love love!

Hazza said...

Not familiar with this dessert but it looked nice. However, I cant attempt it as cannot easily get jackfruit. I wonde if the light coloured chinese made palm suger here is the same as gula melaka.

JOjo said...

The colours are so vibrant~ Pretty~

If only i have the time to make dessert. But i think it is blessing in disguise, cos i would over-eat on dessert and weighting scale will scream~

wmw said...

Aiyah, I love the jackfruit bits in this dessert :o)

Anonymous said...

aiyoooo...this really looks so good and bet it tastes as good. i think we should all stop blogging and looking at other ppl blogs if want to lost weight.

Anonymous said...

The desert looks so good and delicious, too bad i'm diabetic. It's always a struggle being tempted... Anyway, I enjoy watching your great pictures of food.

Anonymous said...

I really miss eating this dessert and it makes me think of K.

Anonymous said...

I really miss eating this dessert and it makes me think of K.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

mandy: like i'm envious of all those berries u habe there...surely there r Vietnamese or Thai grocery stores where pandan leaves r sold?

trishie: yes, i find it funny too. not exactly intelligent-sounding. in feact, down right silly :D but it tastes great.sssh! i want a nikon slr so don't let my hub know u think my pics r sharp.

yi:no jackfruit there? what kind of a place r u living in??

hazza: no jackfruit there either?? aiya, i shd export some overseas. i've seen pics of light color palm sugar n i don't think it's gula melaka.

jojo: i am suffering the effects of writing a food blog. i've put on 3 kgs in 2 months! my thighs rumble when i walk, so i'm in jeans most of the time, to make sure thighs are bounded.

wmw: yes, d jackfruits make this dessert extra yummy:)

nee: i think food blogging really is hazardous to our health. really. not just the increase in weight but also the lack of sleep.

anony: well, if u r type 2 diabetic, u would've eaten ur share of sugar all these years...

raina: :) this is to tempt her to come home, but she's not falling for it.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I really miss this dessert, haven't had it for a decade or so!! In fact, I remember I made it once so long...ago and it was so good with my so sweet jackfruit. Btw, are your jack fruits sweeter now compared to the earlier fruitings which you complained were not like my sweet ones! (original lah!). No fresh jackfruits and pandan leaves here, so can't attempt this! Would you make this dessert for me when I come home next year? K

Anonymous said...

Do you use natural colourings for both yellow and red too? MH

terri@adailyobsession said...

no i used food color n i feel uneasy when i eat it...i'm wondering who MH is...

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