Some of my fondest memories of Bangkok involve late night street dining, sweating in oppressive heat alongside a chef and his fiery wok. It feels unnatural at first, eating hot food in a hot climate, but it's part of the charm of the package, and it is a welcome treat after the sun has set and the air has dipped a few degrees in temperature. When I consider my dream meal, it always involves snacking from a selection of BKK street carts, followed by a big bowl of tub tim grob to cool me down.
So what is it? It's a ridiculously easy, refreshing, not at all heavy Thai street sweet made with water chestnuts, coconut, and sugar syrup. If you can't be bothered to wait overnight for the jasmine water, you can use jasmine essence (I've cheated and use jasmine tea brew too). Control the sweetness by how much syrup you add (feel free to mess with the coconut milk to sugar ratios to suit your own tastes), and there's always space for chunks of fruit and/or other common Thai dessert ingredients (corn, beans, palm fruit...)
Tub Tim Grob
- To make the jasmine water, place 12-15 dried jasmine flowers in 1 litre of just boiled water. Cover and leave overnight. Strain flowers out.
- Combine the sugar and jasmine water in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high for about five minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is syrupy. Allow to cool to at least room temperature (or refrigerate).
- Mix the diced water chestnut with the food colouring, stirring until the pieces are uniformly dye. Add the tapioca starch and continue to mix until the water chestnuts are completely coated. Sift away and excess flour, and boil the pieces until they float. Drain and submerge in cold water.
- Add a handful of crushed ice to a bowl, plus 3-4 tablespoons of the sugar syrup. Top with half of the chestnut rubies and drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk/cream on top. Add corn, jackfruit, lychee, or other tropical fruits if desire.