custom cakes/cookies

Monday, September 3, 2012

Khanom Krok (grilled coconut rice cakes)

photo credit: D. Harrison

The grilled coconut rice cakes (Khanom Krok) from Marnee Thai were the most memorable thing I ate during my summer vacation in San Francisco. It's a seasonal appetizer (occasionally offered at the restaurant) that is delivered to your table with quite a lot of flair. The cakes arrive still sizzling in the special cast iron griddle in which they were cooked. You watch as the wait-person loosens each cake from the pan and divvies them among your plates. They're fluffy yet glutinous and sweet. I was completely curious (and baffled) about how the texture of the pancakes was achieved, so I asked for the recipe. A day later the chef, Chai Siriyarn, emailed me a word document with complete instructions! He mentioned that Khanom Krok is a favorite street food in Thailand that is normally served for breakfast or as a snack. It's quite sweet, like coconut pudding, and depending on how you decorate with toppings, could also be considered a dessert. I topped mine with a salad made from corn and okra in my farm share and the broccoli growing (and flowering) in my garden.

Khanom Krok (Grilled Coconut Rice Cakes) 


8 oz. rice flour (½ pound)
2 teaspoons tempura flour or all purpose flour
½ cup steamed rice (cooked very soggy until clumped)
1¼ cups coconut milk 
1½ cups water 
½ teaspoons salt
oil for brushing the griddle 

For the topping 

1¼ cups coconut milk 
¼ cup honey (or less depending on your sweetness preference) 
½ teaspoon salt 

Combine rice flour, tempura flour and water, stir to mix and let soak overnight. Soaking the flour for the rice batter overnight is recommended in order to allow it to ferment a little. This is what makes the cake texture  soft and fluffy. 

The next day, purée cooked rice with salt and coconut milk in a blender until the texture is smooth. Add the soaked flour and pulse a few times to mix well. If you'd like some texture to your cakes stir in a bit of extra  steamed rice. Set aside. 

Combine the ingredients for the topping in a sauce pan over medium heat and stir to dissolve honey and salt.

photo credit: D. Harrison
Heat a well-seasoned khanom krok griddle on the stove over medium heat. Test that the griddle is hot enough by flicking a bit of water onto the pan. It should instantly sizzle. When the griddle is hot, lightly but thoroughly brush each dimple in the griddle with a little oil. Pour the rice batter directly from the blender canister into each dimple to about ⅔rds full. The batter should sizzle when it hits the hot metal otherwise the cake will not be fluffy. Swirl the rice batter by rotating the grill with your hands. This will coat the rim of each dimple to form a crispy edge. Then add a dab (about 1-1½ teaspoons) of the topping mixture over top each cake. Cover with a domed lid and cook for a few minutes over medium low heat or until the cakes are firm and crispy brown on the bottom. When the hotcakes are firm and a little crispy, remove gently with a butter knife or a spoon and transfer to a plate or serving platter. 

Re-grease the griddle before making the next batch. Stir the batter well each time before making each batch because the batter tends to settle. Repeat the process until all the rice batter is finished. Decorate with finely sliced green onions or chives or cooked match-stick size slices of pumpkin or cooked corn-kernels or cooked taro. 

Coconut Corn and Broccoli Salad 

adapted from 101cookbooks 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 ears of corn, shucked 
2 okra, sliced 
fine grain sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips 
1 cup coconut flakes, toasted 
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted 
one half of a red onion, chopped 
2 cups broccoli florets 

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and okra, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat the corn kernels evenly. Cook for a few minutes, until the corn looses its raw edge, and then transfer to a large serving bowl. Stir in the coconut flakes, almonds, onion, and broccoli florets.