Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Fug Tong Gang Buad
Fug tong gang buad is a Thai dessert or side dish of squash cooked in coconut milk and palm sugar. Characteristic of most Thai sweets there is a lovely play of salty on sweet to mix up the substantial squash pieces. The recipe traditionally calls for pumpkins, which are available year round in Thailand, but a substitute of any yellow meat squash will suffice. I used a kabocha squash (yes I know, it's Japanese) and although I nearly lopped off a finger or two trying to peel the sucker it gave great flavor to the finished dish.
One of Mr. TA's favorite things to eat is Thai sticky rice and mangoes. It's a traditional Thai dessert of steamed glutinous rice soaked in sweetened coconut milk and served with sliced mangoes. He requests it on a near weekly basis, so I try to ration it out. Coconut milk isn't exactly a health food. So when my sister told me about this website and I found the recipe for squash cooked in coconut milk I thought it would be received equally well. He was a little disappointed after arriving home to the familiar scent of warmed coconut milk to not find sticky rice steaming, but after trying the squash I think he enjoyed it quite well. You know those people who you can read their emotions on their face like a book? Mr. TA is not one of those people. He'll give a mediocre reaction to a meal to only question weeks later why he haven't had that totally awesome blah-blah-blah. It's quite an interesting life... So I'll have to assume the grunt of approval coupled with the "Yeah, it's pretty good." means it gains approval for a repeat performance.
I would recommend that if attempting this with a kabocha instead of a pumpkin you halve, seed, quarter and then chop the skin off with a knife in controlled downward motions. Then to get the remaining stubborn green off use a sharp vegetable peeler. It's a bit of a chore, but I can't imagine anyone's going to want to cook some huge ass 15 lb. pumpkin in coconut milk. I also would not recommend using an acorn squash, you're peeling this sucker, you really want to attempt that with an acorn squash? Save your digits and don't even bother. Unless you can get someone else to do it for you, then by all means have at it.
One important part about this recipe is to ensure your coconut milk is not too creamy. When boiled coconut milk nearly always curdles, so you have to be careful while cooking. So, don't be tempted to use all coconut milk, it won't end well. Start it off at medium heat, when it really starts producing steam turn it down to medium low, then low when it starts to simmer. By that time it should be fully cooked through. It's really much easier than I made it sound. Just keep adjusting the heat level so it doesn't boil.
On a final note, squash is extremely good for you - you should eat as much as possible over the winter months. And..uh..just because this is filled with sugar and fat from the coconut milk doesn't mean it's not also healthy...right?
Just don't burst my bubble...
Fug Tong Gang Buad
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin, or other yellow meat squash
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Peel the squash, chop into 1/2 in. dice. Add all ingredients to 3 qt saucepan and heat over medium until steam rises rapidly. Do not allow to boil, the coconut milk will curdle. Turn heat down to medium low, stirring occasionally. When it starts to simmer turn to low heat. Remove from heat when squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately or cover with lid. Tastes equally good warm, room temp, or cold.