This vegan Thai fried ice cream recipe is guaranteed to win friends. If it doesn’t, get new friends.
My first experience, like that of many Americans, of fried ice cream was at Chi-Chi’s, a now defunt (in the US, at least) chain of Tex-Mex restaurants that was a market leader in the 1980s. First vanilla ice cream was rolled in cinnamon sugar and then coated in crushed cornflakes. A few hours in the freezer solidified the balls, which were then flash fried and served on a crispy flour torilla with whipped cream. Easily veganised, I’ve made the Chi-Chi’s version a few times over the years.
My friend Imm, who lives in Northern Thailand, is forever teaching me about aspects of Thai food culture typically less accessible to foreigners. In one of our many conversations about food, she recalled snacks and drinks from her time at university. Mixed drinks made with beepo, a brand of carageenan jelly sweet, and Thai style fried ice cream stood out.
The concept is simple: cheap white bread, crusts cut off, wrapped around ice cream, refrozen, and fried. And like any ice cream sundae, there are all sorts of toppings to choose from, from fruit and sprinkles to candy and whipped cream. It beats Chi-Chi’s any day.
Vegan Thai Fried Ice Cream (ai tim tod – ไอติมทอด)
- Dairy free ice cream (any flavour) soft enough to scoop
- White bread crusts cut off
- Aluminium foil for wrapping
- Cooking oil for frying
- Chocolate hazelnut sauce
- Golden syrup
- Icing sugar
- For each sandwich you will need two pieces of bread. Place a scoop of ice cream on one slice of bread. The quantity depends on how large the slice is, but when you fold it upwards the tallest corners should come above the halfway height of the scoop.
- Use a piece of foil to help press the bread around the ice cream.
- Cover with another piece of bread, ensuring all of the ice cream is encapsulated in the slices. Some areas will overlap more than others. Carefully squeeze the foil around the icecream, pressing lightly to seal the overlaps. If there is any exposed ice cream, cover it with a little tear of additional bread.The bread doesn't need to be mashed flat. So long as the ice cream is unexposed the freezing process will hold the bread in place so no ice cream leaches out when it is fried.
- Freeze for at least 6 hours until very solid. Heat enough oil (medium high) to cover the frozen ice cream ball in a wok or saucepan (if you are a confident fryer you can use less oil and move the ball around while frying). Remove the ball from the freezer, unwrap from the foil, check there is no exposed ice cream (if there is cover with another tear of bread) and fry for a minute or two until crispy and golden.
- Shake some icing sugar over the fried ice cream and then drizzle with chocolate sauce and golden syrup. Eat immediately.