Tako used to be regarded as the “prima donna” of the Asian dessert. Its glistening appearance, while snugly ensconced in a hand-crafted pandan leaf container, seems to give it an air of snootiness.
Tako is said to have Thai roots. Years back I used to see tako served in many a Thai restaurants.
Learning to make the tako became quite fashionable back then and for quite a while tako ruled the Malay dessert kingdom until it was, of course, displaced by the cupcake. Yet another snoot – the over glorified sponge! And at $4 a cup. Yikes!
Like many other Asian dessert, the basic ingredients are rice flour, sugar and coconut milk. In the tako, hoon kueh flour (green bean) is added. The combination of two different flours give the dessert its special taste.
There are two layers to the tako. Traditionally the tako is placed in the pandan leaf container. But the pandan leaf container is quite fragile and then there is just so much tako that it can hold.
Fortunately tako has been touched by innovation. The pandan leaf container has given way to the mini containers. I think in a way, it is a change for the better. Placing tako in a mini container is just much more convenient!
So if you like to try your hand at making the tako, here is a convenient guide.
For the bottom layer – mix about 80 gm of hoon kueh flour, 350 gm of sugar and about 1200 ml of coconut milk in a pot. I like my coconut milk watery for this one. Add a teaspoon of salt and desired colouring. Put the pot on the stove. Stir the mixture gently until it coagulates. Add in the water chestnuts and switch off the stove. Scoop the mixture and put them in your mini containers.
For the top layer – mix about 20 gm of hoon kueh flour with about 20 gm of rice flour and 600 ml of coconut milk. You might need a bit more coconut milk here but go with your feel. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt for taste. Stir until the mixture bubbles. Switch off the stove. Scoop the mixture and put them over your first layer.
There. Your tako is ready. Put them in the fridge until you are ready to eat them. Meanwhile those pots need attending to … Happy cleaning but you have your reward waiting for you.
Now scoop your tako gently, feel the crunchiness of the water chestnut in your mouth and slowly savour the sweetness of the tako …