I’m on a mission to get people to make and enjoy mussels at home. Mussels are sustainable, economical, and an effortless way to add drama and sophistication to any gathering. There’s no reason to save these for a special restaurant meal. These Vietnamese Mussels are read more
Coconut Flan is one of the most popular desserts on our menu. And while it is a nod to the enduring love Miamians have for Latin American flan (you can seriously get flan even at our gas stations), the addition of coconut makes it closer to the iconic Vietnamese dessert Báhn Flan. Our Coconut Flan is a rich and creamy make-ahead dream of a dessert. The individual servings feel really special and make a beautiful presentation. It’s naturally gluten free, and it makes 10 servings, making it ideal for a dinner party. Or, since it lasts about a week or so in the fridge, I won’t tell if you make it and eat the whole batch whenever you’re craving a little something sweet.
Coconut Flan Starts with Caramel
Making caramel is easier than you might think. It just requires patience and a watchful eye. I make what’s called a wet caramel-meaning that there is water along with sugar in the pan. I think it’s more fool proof and I’ve never had to start over because I’ve burned the caramel. And if you’ve ever watched The Great British Baking Show, you know that making caramel can stump even the best amateur cooks. Because the water has to cook off before the sugar can start to caramelize, wet caramels do take a bit longer. But I figure, what’s a couple minutes compared to having to start the whole process over again.
And before I start, I get a large bowl of cold water ready in the sink, so that when the caramel is the desired color, I can quickly stop the cooking process by dipping the bottom of the pan in the cool water. Once caramel gets to the right color, it can quickly start to burn from the accumulated heat in the pan.
Let me give you an obvious tip that will ease your anxiety: use white granulated sugar. As you can see in my photos, I only had natural sugar, which is why it already looks a little brown before I even started to cook. The light brown color can be difficult for cooks who don’t often make caramel since the white sugar turning a deep amber color is the sign that your caramel is ready. The taste is the same, but I suggest using regular granulated white sugar, especially if you’ve never made caramel before, so you can carefully watch it as starts to brown.
When it’s a nice golden brown, I take it off the and carefully stir it. It is still cooking at this point, and stirring it helps to make the caramelization uniform. When it’s the color I want, I quickly put it in the bowl of cold water.
Baking the Coconut Flan
I can never really decide which part is best-the caramel or the velvety coconut custard. Luckily, we don’t have to. Yes, 12 egg yolks are a lot. Save the whites and make a healthy egg white omelet. That’s called balance!
This flan is more similar in texture to the French creme caramel than Latin flan which is often very dense. It’s ultra creamy and just sweet enough. I would suggest making it the way the recipe is written, but if you want to cut some of the fat and calories, you can substitute coconut milk instead of cream or use whole milk instead of the half and half. I would not suggest using low fat milk or fat free condensed milk. It’s just not worth it.
Once the mixture is velvety smooth, it’s time to bake the coconut flan. I make a water bath to insure that they cook very gently and evenly.
Bake the flan for about 45-55 minutes, until just set. The center shouldn’t look wet, but it should jiggle slightly when tapped. I turn off the oven, keep the door open, and let them cool for 20 minutes in the oven.
The flan need to chill in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. Which makes this so convenient for entertaining. Then all you have do on the day of is to plate them right before serving.
Prepare for oohs and ahhs when everyone sees your caramel gloriously bathe the coconut flan.
Honestly this is perfection just like this. But if you’re feeling fancy a sprig of fresh mint provides a nice pop of color, and a sprinkling of toasted coconut chips add a nice crunch.
Give this crowd pleasing dessert a try and let me know what you think. Please take a second to rate and comment on the recipe below, and show off your coconut flan by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 19 oz can coconut cream
- 1 cup half and half
- 14 oz can condensed milk
- 12 eggs
- Mint sprigs
- Crunchy coconut strips
- Set 10 (1 cup size) aluminum cups on a rimmed baking tray.
- Set a bowl larger than the diameter of the pan you will be using in the sink and fill it with water.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water. Turn the heat to medium high and stir the sugar just until it melts. Let the sugar water boil. It will start to thicken and bubble more slowly as it reaches the candy stage.
- Continue cooking until the sugar turns a light amber color. This whole process will take about 8-10 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and gently and carefully use a spoon and continue mixing as the sugar will continue to darken.
- As soon as the caramel is the right color, stop the cooking process by dipping the pot into the bowl of cold water. (Do this in the sink as the water may hiss and spit.)
- Pour or spoon the caramel evenly into the containers. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and set the oven rack to the middle.
- In a large bowl separate the egg yolks, saving the whites for another purpose. Add the coconut cream, condensed milk, and half and half.
- Whisk until the mixture is well combined. Pour the mixture through a mesh to eliminate any unmixed egg.
- Pour the mixture into the aluminum tins.
- Put the tray into the oven and then carefully pour about 3 cups of water into the baking tray (the water should come up to near the edge of the tray, about ⅓ of the way up the aluminum tins).
- Bake for 45-55 mins until just set. If you tap the side of one, it should jiggle loosely but the center should not be wet.
- Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Let cool for 20 minutes before moving the tray out of the oven. Transfer the aluminum tins to a dry tray. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, run a pairing (or steak) knife along the edge of the flan. Gently flip the tin over onto a small plate and then pierce the middle of the tin. This will create an air pocket allowing the flan to plop onto the plate.
- Garnish with a little mint or some coconut chips as desired.
*This is a rich and creamy flan. You can substitute the half and half for whole milk or substitute coconut milk for the coconut cream if you prefer a lighter flavor.
*If you do not have aluminum tins, you can use any 8 oz (1 Cup) size oven safe bowls. Once the flans are baked and cooled, run a knife along the outer edge and push gently along the edge of the flan when turning it out to break the seal. If you’re having problems turning out the flan, just eat it out of the bowl itself. It’s perfectly fine and you save yourself from having to wash an additional dish!
Keywords: flan, coconut, dessert, sweets, holiday, party
Every country has its own version of meatballs, and Vietnam is no exception. Made with juicy pork, these Vietnamese Meatballs feed a crowd! I like to serve them as an appetizer with a spicy dipping sauce, but they are equally at home on top of rice noodles, or stuffed in a bahn mi sandwich. They are packed with characteristic flavors of Southeast Asia, like lemongrass and fish sauce. Best of all, they are baked so there is no stove top mess and they are ready in less than a half hour!
The Not So Secret Sauce
I like to serve these Vietnamese Meatballs with a spicy, creamy sauce. It has just 3 ingredients, and can be whipped up beforehand and kept in the fridge. A little spicy, sweet, and creamy, this sauce also makes an excellent condiment for burgers.
Vietnamese Meatballs can be made with chicken and beef too, but I really love the richness from pork. Vietnamese Meatballs don’t have any binders-no breadcrumbs and no egg, so the texture is fun and springy. And no fillers mean that the funk of the fish sauce and the brightness of the lemongrass really shines through.
The longer you mix, the chewier and springier the meat will be. Asians love chewy meatballs and often work the meat well or put in some more more texture with bits like beef tendon, but you do you. Mix gently for tender ones or give it some rough slapping treatment for extra chew.
When I am serving these as a starter, I shape them into pretty big meatballs- that way people have a couple before the main event. Plus it keeps the meatballs from drying out in the oven. If you want to enjoy these with noodles, you can shape them smaller.
If using a 2 tablespoons scoop, you should have a dozen meatballs.
I bake them on a parchment lined sheet in the oven. This is a lot less messy than panfrying, and preserves their wonderful texture. It should only take about 20 minutes for them to be cooked through. I used a fairly fatty pork grind, which I recommend for both meatballs and sausages, so I didn’t use any oil for baking. In order to have moist and tender meatballs, I feel a certain amount of fat is necessary. However, if you prefer to use leaner pork, spray the tops of the meatballs with some oil before baking to ensure a golden color and better flavor.
If you really want to earn a gold star, try serving these with the nuoc cham sauce from my Lemongrass Chicken Bowls. That way there’s one spicy sauce, and one citrusy sauce so people can choose. These Vietnamese Meatballs are so versatile you can add them to pho, or serve them with other small plates like Sriracha Chicken Wings, Thai Corn Fritters, and Spring Rolls for a fun mix and match meal. Make them tonight and let me know what you think! Rate the recipe below and leave a comment- we love hearing from you. And show off your gorgeous platter of Vietnamese Meatballs by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen.
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground pork (not lean)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 3 Tablespoons chopped lemongrass
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha or other garlic chile sauce
- 4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
- Mix the sriracha, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Combine the ground pork, sugar, fish sauce, lemongrass, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and garlic in a bowl. Mix to thoroughly combine.
- Next add the oil and mix again to combine.
- Scoop the mixture into 2 Tablespoon portions. You should yield 12. With clean hands roll the balls in your palms to smooth the surface.
- Place the meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425. Roast the meatballs for 18-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through (break one open to check or take a temperature test. It should be 165 degrees).
- Serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.
*If you are using a lean ground pork mixture, you may want to spray or brush some oil on the meatballs before they go into the oven. This will ensure better flavor, more moisture, and an even golden crust.
Keywords: vietnamese meatballs, bun cha, appetizers