If you're on this page, chances are you've already had Thapthim Krop and are looking for a recipe to make it yourself. But even if you haven't tried it, I'd still recommend you to read on...because you are missing out.
Trust me, you want this red rubies dessert in your life. Served with shaved ice, it's a perfect treat for any hot summer day (which is just about any day in Thailand). If you have plans to visit Thailand for a holiday, make sure you add this dessert to your must-eat list! Once you know how good it is, you'll definitely want to make it at home.
Oh, and it's so easy to make, too.
In case you're wondering, "thapthim krop," (sometimes spelled tab tim grop, tub tim grob, or tub tim krob...the list goes on) the Thai name for this dessert literally means crunchy rubies...or crunchy pomegranate seeds. Thapthim in Thai can either mean ruby or pomegranate. While many Thai people, including me, think that thapthim in the name refers to pomegranate because those beautiful coated water chestnut cubes resemble pomegranate seeds, others argue it's thapthim the gem because the fruit actually got its name from the gem.
It doesn't get any more confusing than that, I know. But since the name red rubies has already spread around, it's probably hard to get people on the same page with you if you called this dessert pomegranate seeds in coconut cream. I think I'll just leave this one here.
Let's talk ingredients.
If there's one thing I can tell you to take my word for, it is that you always get shredded coconut to make your own coconut cream whenever possible. Whether you're cooking savory or sweet, this is so much better than canned or carton coconut cream. If you live in Thailand, ask them to get you the plain white coconut for this recipe because that's for desserts. The type that comes with brown bits (shells) is cheaper but they are for savory dishes like curries.
Thai Dessert Scented Candle
This one isn't really an ingredient but it's so important. You either use the Thai dessert scented candle to scent your coconut cream or you don't make this dessert at all! Okay, I'm just exaggerating there but really it makes such a huge difference. I personally don't enjoy thapthim krop in non-candle-scented coconut cream. Any food scented with this candle smells divine, so it's a good idea to get one. It lasts a long time!
You'll want to use pandan leaves because they make the syrup smell amazing. Just remember to bruise them before throwing them into the pot or they won't do much. This time I actually used the ones my mom grew. YAY to homegrown food!
You can either make red rubies with jicama or water chestnuts, but everyone I know (and have talked to about this super serious business obviously) and I myself prefer the sweet and nutty flavor of water chestnuts to the bland flavor of jicama.
If you're using water chestnuts, see if you can get the raw ones because they make crunchier rubies. If you can't find them, boiled or canned will be fine. This time I wasn't able to get the raw ones myself so I went with boiled, too.
It's a shame that this dessert is traditionally made with synthetic food coloring, but you can use any natural food coloring you can find. I personally don't really like using artificial food products, but I wasn't able to get beet roots this time. To achieve the "original" color of this dessert for you to see, I went with some orange-red organic food coloring. However, I made sure to set some water chestnuts aside to soak in the concentrated butterfly pea flower water I made using my neighbor's flowers as well. Normally I wouldn't bother with the color so much unless I happen to have a natural source on hand.
Now you might be wondering why I don't have even a single piece of thapthim the color of butterfly pea flowers. Well, as with most things in (my) life, this went wrong! First, I picked too few flowers so the color wasn't vivid enough. Then after sifting the first batch of thapthim, I used the already-red-tinted sifted flour to make the second batch. So I ended up with a brownish color instead but I quite liked it.
To make this dessert even more glorious than it already is, you can add the optional Thai kopyor coconut (maprao kathi) which is probably the best mutant to ever have occurred on this planet! ? Shhh, don't be put off by the word mutant. You're actually more than okay to eat it, and it’s chewy and fun to eat!
I'm not sure if you have it in your country or not because these bad boys can be rare even in Thailand. If you can't find it, just do the rubies. In Thailand you can get whole kopyor coconuts for ฿100-150 in Thap Sakae, Prachub Khiri Khan when they're in season. If you're in Bangkok, then you can definitely get the flesh cooked in syrup from Or Tor Kor market, but I'm not sure about the whole ones.
I hope you will actually try this red rubies recipe at home. Despite the looks, I can assure you that this dessert is really easy to make and you will not fail even if it's your first time. 😉
Thapthim Krop | Thai Red Rubies in Coconut Cream Recipe
For the Coconut Cream
- 1 cup coconut cream or ½ kg shredded coconut with 1 cup warm water
- 1½ cups water
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 6 pandan leaves bruised
- 1 pinch salt
- Thai dessert scented candle
For the Rubies
- 2½ cups water chestnuts or jicama diced in 1cm pieces
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 3 drops red food coloring
For the Kopyor Coconut (Optional)
- 1 kopyor coconut around 550 g cut into 1.5 cm pieces
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
For the Coconut Cream (Skip 1 and 2 if using canned or carton coconut cream)
- In a large bowl, add the shredded coconut and warm water over the coconut. Squeeze the coconut in the water until there isn't a lot of fat coming out.
- Put a strainer over another large bowl. Strain and squeeze the coconut until dry. Set the coconut cream aside.
- In a pan, add 1½ cups of water and bruised pandan leaves over medium-low heat. Dissolve 1¼ cups of sugar in the water.
- Add the coconut cream and a pinch of salt to the mixture and stir. Turn off the heat when mixed well. (Failing to keep stirring or letting the mixture boil will result in coconut cream separating. That is to be avoided in Thai desserts.)
- Light the Thai scented candle and put it out, making sure the wax has melted. Put the candle out and put the candle in a small bowl and let it float on the mixture with the pan lid on for about 1 hour.
- Open the lid and stir the mixture. Repeat step 5 one or two times.
For the Rubies
- Tint the water chestnuts with red food coloring.
- Add the tapioca flour to a large bowl. Toss the water chestnuts in and coat them with the flour evenly on every side.
- Use a sifter to sift the excess flour from the water chestnuts.
- Prepare some iced or cold water.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the coated chestnuts to cook.
- When the chestnuts float (it means they are done), transfer them to the iced water with a slotted spoon right away to set.
For Kopyor Coconut (Optional)
- Over medium low heat, dissolve the ¾ cup of sugar in ½ cup of water.
- Add the coconut and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a dessert bowl, take enough cooked rubies and kopyor coconut and pour the coconut cream mixture over them. Top with shaved ice and serve!
- The rubies should be eaten within the day of making. Stored in light syrup in the fridge, they will keep for about 2 days but will not taste as good, and the tapioca layer will start to fall off.
- Kopyor coconut in syrup can be enjoyed on its own and will keep for about a week in the fridge.
All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.