MOH and I have been on this quest to find pandan leaves. Pandan leaves originate from Asia and are often a flavoring component in many desserts (ever had Pandan waffles?). Every one of my dad's birthdays has featured a beautiful, tasty Pandan cake full of young coconut stuffing. It's the same cake every year, from the same bakery, but my tummy never complains.
|Pandan is a popular flavor for many cakes (especially paired with coconut)|
While you can put Pandan in several cakes and other types of baked desserts, MOH was craving a Thai custard, sangkhaya, that is often flavored with pandan. So when we finally found Pandan in a grocery store (our fourth effort), we were super excited to try to recreate a Thai favorite that is near and dear to MOH's heart.
The results were delicious, but a bit high on the coconut side. If you like a subtle coconut flavor, I would suggest doing a half-half mixture of coconut milk and almond milk (I'm going to definitely try it next time). If you LOVE coconut milk though, you're in luck - this recipe has the flavor of vanilla and pandan with a kick of coconut. Super creamy, and great to dip with any type of bread.
And with the weather being hot lately (at least for Southern California), I decided to make something light and simple - Vietnamese rice rolls, or banh cuon. Banh cuon is a type of rice roll that has different types of fillings (meat, vegetable, seafood), and is often eaten over a bed of hearty greens, with steamed meat and fish sauce. Banh cuon is one of my favorite dishes that my mother would make. She would make everything from scratch, even the rice rolls. This was a staple in our house and often was served for brunch during the weekend. It's also a fun dish to eat because you can customize how you want to eat it. If you're more into the rice rolls, you'd stuff your dish full of these little rolls. If you're more into the vegetables, then you could skimp back on the rolls and pack on the greens. For me, I'm super lazy and decided to just buy the rice rolls from the grocery store. If you choose this easy cheat route (totally fine, no shame), preparing the dish can take as little as 10 minutes... seriously.
Super simple, and really healthy (depending on how you make your plate). Either way, a great way for MOH and I to end our Sunday night.
Happy Valentine's to all! And happy eating, please!
Pandan sangkhaya recipe (modified from this awesome recipe):
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 pandan leaves, washed and wiped
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (although to get lighter coconut flavor, do half mixture with almond milk)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
1. Blend pandan leaves with 1 cup of coconut milk until pandan leaves blended thoroughly- strain the mixture and set aside
2. Mix yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt until mixed thoroughly - then add in pandan milk mixture
3. Over low heat, stir the mix (from #2) until thick - you are aiming for a consistency that's like yogurt. Don't overmix - as soon as it thickens, turn off heat and set mixture aside in bowl
4. Once cool - enjoy with bread, dipped!
Banh cuon recipe (this doesn't need a recipe, but ingredients are just listed)
- Package of banh cuon
- 3 cups beansprouts, blanched
- 1/2 head lettuce, shredded
- Herbs (mint or Vietnamese perilla), chopped
- Steamed fish cake (or Vietnamese ham, cha lua)
- Fish sauce (can be made using this recipe)
To make your banh cuon, customize your dish with as much greens or meat as you like - top off with some fish sauce and enjoy!!!