This Thai dish is a popular snack or dessert, requiring little time and just a few simple ingredients to prepare – pumpkin (known as “fag tong” ฟักทอง in Thai), freshly shredded coconut (known as “makhrao” มะพร้าว ), crushed Thai palm sugar, and salt. Requiring no artificial or processed ingredients, it is nourishing and satisfying.
It starts with a fresh, firm variety of pumpkin which would require a considerable effort to cut and the pumpkin should have a distinct sweet taste when cooked. Kabocha squash would be an example that fits these criteria. The pumpkin must be steamed until just cooked and firm, not soft and mushy.
Freshly shredded coconut is preferred not only for maximum taste but for nutrition as well.
Although some modern preparations use refined sugar, this recipe uses traditional Thai unrefined palm sugar, not only for its unique taste but also because unrefined palm sugar is generally accepted to be a more nutritious and healthier sweetener than refined sugar.
Preparation time: 20 – 30 minutes
Serves: 6-7 people
- 1 firm pumpkin such as kabocha squash
- Freshly shredded coconut as desired
- 2-3 tablespoons or as desired Thai palm sugar
- Pinch sea salt
Rinse the pumpkin thoroughly ensuring any dirt and grit is removed from the skin.
Using a sharp knife cut the pumpkin into wedges about 1-2 inches width at the base. If desired, peel off the skin.
Remove the seeds.
Steam the pumpkin wedges until the pumpkin is just sufficiently cooked but not overdone. The time to cook depends on the width and size of the pumpkin wedges. Insert a fork or knife and the flesh should feel firmly cooked but not soft.
Stop heat and keep covered until ready to serve. The pumpkin can be served warm or at room temperature.
When ready to serve, place the shredded coconut over the pumpkin wedges and sprinkle crushed palm sugar and salt over the pumpkin wedges. Alternatively, prepare a coconut topping. In a bowl, combine shredded coconut, crushed palm sugar and pinch of salt into the shredded coconut and mix well. Place the topping over the pumpkin wedges.