ta ko is a thai dessert that used to be pretty popular in singapore – we used to get it all the time in restaurants, but now it seems like its popularity is waning in the light of sweets like red ruby and mango-sticky-rice. this is still one of my favourites though – the slightly salty coconut layer and crisp kernels of corn in a soft jelly.
it’s not too difficult to make, but I find that as with other asian desserts, much of the recipe is about approximations such as how long you should cook a mixture for, and what result you have to get – not so great for an obsessive a detail-oriented chef.
but again, it’s pretty simple. no gelatin, no fuss – you cook up two starch mixtures, one of which is fortified with coconut milk, and you lay them in pandan leave boxes to set before chilling. easy-peasy ain’t it?
I’m giving you the directions I used – this is the first time I’ve tried making ta ko, and the only suggestion I have is you might likely want to cook it longer (even after the translucency happens with the first mixture) as mine turned out a little wet and soft while setting. it didn’t detract from the taste though – these tasted exactly the way I remembered, mildly sweet with a good crunch from the corn kernels, and that addictive salty layer on top.
ta ko kueh, or a coconut-corn layered dessert (adapted from table for 2… or more)
pandan leaves for wrapping
25g mung bean flour
250ml pandan juice
sweetcorn kernels, canned and drained
150g mung bean flour
125ml coconut milk
small pinch of salt
- create little boxes with the widest, most flexible pandan leaves you have. I did this by folding the leave into 5 sections (with each side the length of the box), snipping at each hold till the mid point and then folding them in so they overlap and form the base of a box. it is far easier to do than explain, really – here’s a good tutorial – and if you have gaps between your leaves at the bottom (not really a big problem) just place a snip of pandan leave at the bottom. place your pandan boxes onto a baking sheet or pan.
- mix the first group of ingredients together, and cook on medium low until it is transparent and thick – cook a little longer if you’re worried. ladle this mixture into the boxes scant midway, and then place the kernels of corn strategically into the mixture.
- cook the second group of ingredients together until thickened and no longer tastes floury – it will approximate the same consistency as the first mix. ladle this over the corn mixture to the top of the box.
- cool to room temperature, and chill until ready to serve.