Coconut Custard Dessert | Khanom Krok | ขนมครกLast week, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of this blog.  This week, the boyfriend and I get to celebrate the anniversary of our first date, once upon a time many years ago!  When I asked him what he wanted me to make in celebration of our anniversary, I got a request for khanom krok without a moment’s hesitation.

Khanom krok is a coconut dessert that’s been described in many ways – as a coconut custard, pudding, pancake, hotcake, cupcake, and so on.  I think the reason it’s been described in so many ways is that there’s really nothing like it in American desserts.  Basically, khanom krok are little half moon shaped cups made of a thin, crispy outer layer with a super soft inner coconut layer.  

I have had the pan used to make khanom krok in my cupboards for a while now, but had never attempted to make this dessert because it looked pretty intimidating to get right.  But with the boyfriend’s eager request for our special day, I decided to give it a shot. 

Khanom krok is made with two separate batters, a thinner one that forms the crispy outer shell and a thicker one that forms the inner coconut custard.  In Thailand, it’s apparently common to use limestone paste to achieve the desired level of crispiness in the outer layer.  I started with this, trying to be as authentic as possible, but just couldn’t get it to taste right.  Then I tried baking soda and finally ended up using club soda, which worked like a charm.

The other secret to making these desserts has to do with the pan itself.  It’s crucial that you start with a well-seasoned khanom krok pan and heat a drop of oil in each well before adding your batter.  Once you add the outer batter to each well, you lift the pan off the stove and swirl it so that the batter coats the entire well as shown here.  Then you add the inner batter to fill the well. 

Coconut Custard Dessert | Khanom Krok | ขนมครกLike many Thai foods, there are an abundance of different toppings you can add to khanom krok.  I had only ever eaten khanom krok plain without any toppings, but it seems like green onions, corn, taro, and even pumpkin are pretty popular toppings in Thailand.  I tried the green onions and corn and both were absolutely delicious, albeit in very different ways!

Needless to say, the boyfriend is extremely pleased that I now know how to make these wonderful little desserts.  And although they’re eaten all throughout the day in Thailand, including for breakfast, this just seems like a dangerous precedent to set.  I think in my house, khanom krok will be saved for special occasions like this one!  

Coconut Custard Dessert | Khanom Krok | ขนมครก

 

Coconut Custard Dessert | Khanom Krok | ขนมครก

Makes 10 pairs

Coconut Custard Dessert | Khanom Krok | ขนมครก

Ingredients

    Outer Layer Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cooked jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup finely grated unsweetened coconut
  • 8 Tablespoons club soda
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Inner Layer Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • green onion, corn, taro, or pumpkin for toppings

Instructions

  1. Make the inner layer by combining all of the ingredients and mixing until smooth.
  2. Next make the outer layer. Mix all ingredients except the cooked jasmine rice, coconut flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the club soda. Pound or blend the rice and coconut flakes with the 2 tablespoons of club soda until they form a fine paste and then incorporate into the rest of the ingredients you just mixed.
  3. Heat your seasoned khanom krok pan over medium heat. If you're not able to find a khanom krok pan, an Ebelskiver pan apparently works just as well.
  4. Add a drop of canola oil (~1/8 teaspoon) to each well and let it get hot. It should be hot enough that when you add the batter it sizzles.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of the outer layer to each well and then lift the pan (using a pan holder - it's hot!) and swirl it until the batter forms a thin layer around the entire well.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of the inner layer to each well to fill it. If you want to add toppings, add them at this point. Then, cover the pan with a top and let it steam for about 5-6 minutes until the bottom layer is golden brown and the top layer is fairly solid.
  7. Using a butter knife, gently lift each custard from the pan. Serve the khanom krok in pairs of two.

Recipe adapted from Thai Food and Travel and Thai Street Food

More Thai Recipes:

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Shredded Chicken and Lemongrass Soup | Tom Yum Gai | ต้มยำไก่ thumbnail

Shredded Chicken and Lemongrass Soup | Tom Yum Gai | ต้มยำไก่

Rice Porridge with Pork | Jok | โจ๊ก thumbnail

Rice Porridge with Pork | Jok | โจ๊ก

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{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Mary October 30, 2011, 4:33 pm

    These look so yummy and are one of my mom’s favorite Thai childhood treats. I’ve had some pretty phenomenal ones from street vendors in Thailand as well but never considered making them myself. Yum!

    Reply
  • Rachel October 31, 2011, 7:43 am

    Thanks for your comment, Mary! It was definitely a labor of love to figure out a recipe that worked, but so worth it in the end…

    Reply
  • DiBella November 2, 2011, 1:52 pm

    Rachel, well its only 7am here in Sydney Australia and my mouth is watering looking at this dessert.
    Upon our first trip to Thailand nearly 15 yrs ago we tried these amazing road side desserts and now
    we have the whole kit and kaboodle to make them here in Australia. Only the other day my children were asking me to make some and after seeing your amazing posts / photos you have inspired me to make some. Keep up the amazing blog! We love Thailand and its foods and of course the people too!

    Reply
  • Twogrins November 2, 2011, 3:19 pm

    That looks great – could you tell me what “coconut cream” is? Is that what is found normally in can? Thanks:)

    Reply
  • Rachel November 2, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Thanks DiBella… I’m sure your children will be very happy for you to make some for them!

    Reply
  • Rachel November 2, 2011, 5:54 pm

    Hi Twogrins, you can find coconut cream labeled as such in a can. You can also just scoop the thicker, top part off of a can of coconut milk. I haven’t yet tried fresh coconut cream, but I can only imagine it would be even better than the canned stuff for desserts like this.

    Reply
  • sara November 3, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Oh these look amazing! I’ve had these at a brunch place near my house but never made them at home. I will have to try one of those pans!! :)

    Reply
  • Joy November 3, 2011, 7:43 pm

    Happy anniversaries LOL. These look so delish.

    Reply
  • Rachel November 5, 2011, 10:49 am

    Thanks Joy :)

    Reply
  • Lucy December 11, 2011, 9:01 pm

    I just had Khanom Krok for the first time today at a Thai temple(LOVED THEM), and I remembered I had seen a recipe on your blog recently, so I am super excited to try and make these myself! Do you know where I would get a pan?

    Reply
  • Rachel December 11, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Hi Lucy, they’re so good, aren’t they?! I found my pan at a local Thai market, but looks like Williams Sonoma carries the Ebelskiver pan which can also be used (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/ebelskiver-filled-pancake-pan/).

    Reply
  • Bonneekay March 17, 2012, 1:19 am

    These look really delicious but how many tbsp of the club soda did you use because you listed 8 tbsp in the ingredients but listed 2 tbsp in the instruction?

    Reply
  • Rachel March 17, 2012, 10:59 am

    Hi Bonnekay, you should use all 8 Tablespoons of the club soda – I mixed 2 Tablespoons with the rice and coconut flakes and 6 Tablespoons with the rest of the ingredients before mixing everything together. Sorry the instructions weren’t totally clear!

    Reply
  • Emily March 28, 2012, 8:26 pm

    Yum! As a Thai American in her 20′s who just came back from her first big-girl trip to Thailand by herself, I was feeling mad nostalgic for these yummy little bites of heaven! ขอบคุณมากๆ for the recipe, and keep up the great work with this blog!! :)

    Reply
  • Rachel March 29, 2012, 8:25 pm

    Thanks, Emily :)

    Reply
  • Christina July 19, 2012, 10:10 pm

    If you don’t know this already, here’s a little tip I learned from a nice woman. You can grease the pan with a tightly wound bundle of pandanus leaves (ใบเตย). It adds to the flavor na.

    Reply
  • Rachel July 19, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Christina! I can’t wait to try that next time!

    Reply
  • Mademoiselle in Sydney November 17, 2012, 8:11 am

    Oh these looks so good! I shall definitely get myself that special pan, have had a Khanom krok craving for quite a while! I’ve only had them served savoury style in France, with pork on top and fish sauce on the side, but this seems to be a dessert anywhere else! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

    Reply
  • Farakh December 22, 2012, 5:07 am

    Just made these for the first time!!! Thanks for putting this up. We had them in Thai Town in LA and loved them and have wanted to make them ever since. So we got the ingredients and tried it out. Worked awesome. Only issues I had were getting them out of the pan was a bit of a pain. Took a while to get them out of there in once piece. Also, the rice we used was not really smooth so I think I’ll use my hand blender next time.

    Again, many thanks! We’ll be making these on Christmas as well!

    Reply
    • Rachel December 23, 2012, 9:13 pm

      So glad they turned out for you, Farakh!

  • Mari April 23, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Rachel, thank you so much for this recipe! I haven’t found a Thai restaurant in my part of the U.S. that serves this dish, so I figured it was time for me to learn how after living/loving Thailand 13 years ago!

    Reply
  • Kira Kirk January 25, 2014, 4:44 am

    Hi! I just returned from a great time in Thailand. And…discovering thse amazing litlte things out at a market right when I arrived kept me serching each market and street vendor for more!!! SO delicious!! I decided I needed to buy a pan and get a recipe to make them when back in the USA. I found a few pans online to purchase. I will try your recipe. Thanks!!!

    Reply

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