color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy

Tasty Tuesday – ทับทิมกรอบ

Another full month of travelling has come and gone, and I’ve been wanting to write about this treat the whole time!  Finally, a chance to bring you all into the world of yet another form of Thai sweetness –  ทับทิมกรอบ (Tub Tim Grob).

I mentioned this particular dessert in my last post about the jackfruit tree in our yard.  This juicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, smooth dessert could almost be considered a soup – just look at the photo below.

So, what is it?  The little red balls (also known as “rubies” on many menus) are actually bits of water chestnut that have been tossed in red food coloring, coated in tapioca flour, then boiled immediately to create a sort of chewy ball with that distinct juicy chestnut crunch inside.  Check out this recipe here, to see just how this process works.

The chestnuts need not be red every time, though.  I’ve eaten them pink, blue, green, purple, orange, and even yellow!  It can be quite the colorful, fun dish if you want it to be.  Check it out – this one is called “ruam mit,” which means there are a variety of colored chestnuts, as well as some fruit bits mixed in as well.  See the yellow strips?  Those are the jackfruit.

Now, what’s the white milky looking stuff that the fruit and rubies are floating in?  It is usually sweetened coconut milk that has been heated up and added to the cooked chestnuts just before serving.  However, I have also had it served up with sweetened soy milk, and I like it just as much.In this bowl, we have even more – both red and green chestnuts, black jelly cubes, yellow cubes of both mango and jackfruit, and bits of white lychee fruit.  But, what’s that there on the spoon – ice.  Why ice?  When serving fresh ทับทิมกรอบ – Tub Tim Grob, everything is pretty warm, and what fun would it be to eat a hot dessert in hot weather?  Not much fun at all.  So, as means of cooling the mixture down, as well as thinning the milk a bit, shaved ice is always the last thing to be put in your bowl.  Being shaved, it melts down quickly, and prevents having to gnaw on an unpleasant hunk of ice every now and then.

I know, I know… I can see some of you back home shaking your heads at me once again for showing you something that is so completely weird and opposite from what you’re used to in the States, then even go so far as to say I like it.  But, seriously, I do – and so do millions of Thai people.  It’s just another thing to add to the list of goodies you get try to try if any of you ever make it over to our side of the world.  It’s sweet, it’s creamy, and it’s cool – what’s not to like about that in a tropical climate?


February 22, 2011 - Posted by | Food, Tasty Tuesdays, Thailand


  1. I live in said tropical climate and I am NOT a fan of this Tasty Tuesday! While many (most) people love this sweet (bland) dessert, I just can’t get into it… I’ve tried it and each time I grimace/pucker so harshly that The Grinch would be proud…. Not my favorite dish here in Thailand….

    Comment by Brook Sarver | February 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. i think they all look very pretty! i wonder if you could flavor it with vanilla, like tapioca? i love tapioca and i love it with fruit in it. it sounds a lot like it. makes a very nice presentation. (i’m sorry mistah book doesn’t like it much)

    Comment by mom | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. …actually, they look very ‘summery’ and Easter-y too. would be pretty on an Easter sunrise brunch table!

    Comment by mom | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. Sara – Hi neighbor! Thank you for the note about other Bangkok bloggers. I just spent some time going through your site and love your stories from the past couple years – lots for us to learn from! It took me a while to get on board with this Thai dessert, but it seems to have finally won me over.

    Comment by Jessica | March 1, 2011 | Reply

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