Thai Pumpkin Custard, Sankaya

We travelled to Bangkok recently. As a matter of fact, Bangkok, didn't quite amaze me as much as before for the reason because I've traveled there more like twenty times during my younger days, where my interest, I believe ,like most early twenties, evolved around shopping, bar hopping, massages, having good food; generally a good time. Those were the weekends where the troop shutter back and forth, out afterwork on Fridays and the last flight back on Sundays, to get out of claustrophobia Hong Kong for a breather or maybe finding a new place to get wasted, so to speak. Bangkok is the perfect place for shopping, bar hopping (very beautiful bars) and food. Mind me, I'm not implying Bangkok is not interesting. Bangkok is beautiful in herself with all the rich cultures and history, the food especially. which is more like the main attraction to me now. Looking back, the twenties felt like a blur where everything passed so quickly.
Michael and I chose Bangkok because we need a quick getaway trip and had exhausted most neighboring getaways places. So, I was the big sister - plotting routes and where to go. We shopped, ate at roadsides, sipped coconuts, spent our evening at spas, went to a few cool bars (Maggie Choo, you should go there… It's like James Bond movies and gentlemen’s clubs). I took him to all places I loved and frequent many years ago. One place I always loved is Harmonique. I felt like I've stepped back in time, everything felt so nostalgia, the food tasted the same. The memories, the laughters felt like yesterday. I see myself, my sister, the troop, sobering up from the spicy Tom Yum Soup and more beers. That was a decade ago. Maybe when I return to this quaint little restaurant many years later, with many more wrinkles and laugh lines next time, we will remember this trip like yesterday.

There's this roadside stall where we stumbled upon. An old lady steaming pumpkin custard just outside our fabulous quirky Hotel Muse (fabulous hotel, by the way). Each day I passes her stall on the way back to the hotel, I would stop for a moment to watch her prep the pumpkins. I hush Michael to go to the far end to explore his mid-afternoon hunger pangs with barbecued snacks and also to fetch me two cold coconut drink; allowing me enough time to watch her mix the custard, figuring out her recipe a little.

Pumpkin was in my mind. It's the pumpkin season and there's pumpkin everywhere - soups, pasta, risottos, salads and of course the a fabulous pumpkin pies, cakes and cookies. I see everyone is cooking with pumpkins. Here's my version learning from the old pumpkin custard lady on the streets of Bangkok.

The whole pumpkin custard should serve 8, a wedge a person or you can indulge the whole pumpkin by your self cutting to halve and scooping all the goodness; to my utterly speechless surprise, that was what Michael did to my pumpkin custard. Gobbling the whole thing leaving a tiny wedge for me. Har! My secret to a men's heart is by feeding him well. Whichever way you wish to enjoy, they are rich, silky and delicious.
1 medium Japanese pumpkin
5 eggs
400ml coconut cream
80g sugar or palm sugar (Palm sugar is the best)
½ teaspoon salt
4 pandan leaves

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a small circular opening on the top (big enough for a tablespoon to get in). Scoop out all the insides and rinse well.

Warm the coconut milk in a sauce pan with the panda leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer and let the pandan leaves steep for 10 mins. Remove the panda leaves and stir in the sugar or palm sugar until it's dissolved.

Add the eggs to the coconut mixture and mix well. Strain the custard and pour into the hollowed pumpkin till the custard fill just below the opening.

Place in a steamer and steam for an hour on medium low heat. Let it cool and set the custard in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Serve sliced in wedges.

- till next post, ss. 

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