Why are stir-fries one of the most popular Asian dishes made at home? Because they are versatile, economical, and fast. No matter what you have (or don’t have) in the fridge, a stir-fry can generally be had. So today, we’re going to introduce one that 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
I’m not really one to do New Year’s Resolutions. They don’t have a very high success rate anyway. I prefer to be mindful of including lots of healthful ingredients year round. But to start us off on the right path both mentally and physically, we’ve decided to dedicate the month of January to wellness through food. There is a definite mind and body connection that we can engage by eating delicious, nutritious food prepared with love and care. So as these last days of December wind down, and we all look towards a brighter 2021, I want to share a quick and easy recipe for a Bitter Melon Scramble, which features one of the darlings of the Asian health scene.
Bitter melon may be new to you because it has yet to really catch on in the states; however, it is prized around the world for its many health benefits. With more Vitamin C than an orange, and micronutrients proven to help control blood sugar levels, it should be peak your curiosity! Throughout Asia, bitter melon is used to help manage and prevent diabetes. You can find lots of bitter melon extracts, supplements, and teas, but I prefer to get all those nutrients from the source. This Bitter Melon Scramble is a good introduction to enjoying bitter melon.
Breakfast For Dinner, Lunch, or Any Time
Eggs scrambles are familiar, and the richness of the eggs helps to offset the bitterness of the melon. And while you may think of egg scrambles as a breakfast dish, they also make an easy and satisfying supper as well. Sometimes when my husband and I come home late at night after a long day in a restaurant kitchen, a quick egg scramble is all we have the energy to tackle. For a comforting and filling meatless meal, try pairing the bitter melon scramble with Wild Mushroom Salad.
Let’s Get Cooking!
Prep the Bitter Melon First
Bitter Melon is bitter, as advertised. It can be an acquired taste. But with so many amazing health benefits, it’s worth acquiring. And there are ways to tame that bitterness. Before incorporating bitter melon into recipes, I salt it. The salt helps to draw out the liquid, where much of the bitterness is contained. Don’t worry, after salting, it is parboiled, which continues diluting that bitter flavor and washes away much of the saltiness.
To start, slice the melon in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds by scraping them out with a spoon. Then slice into thin crescent moons, about a quarter of an inch thick. Place in a colander and toss with the tablespoon of salt. Leave the colander to drain in the sink, or with a bowl underneath, as it will create quite a bit of liquid.
Let it drain for at least 10 minutes. While it’s draining, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Parboiling the bitter melon will both remove the salt and soften it a bit. When the water is boiling, just add the melon and cook for 1-2 minutes, and then drain and set aside.
Time to Scramble!
After salting and parboiling the bitter melon, the rest of the scramble recipe is pretty straightforward. Lightly scramble the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Dice your other veggies; I used tomatoes and onions, though red peppers and mushrooms would be at home here as well. Using a nonstick fry pan, or a well seasoned cast iron one, heat the oil and sauté the onions. When they are beginning to soften, add the minced garlic. Then stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes until they release some liquid. Now it’s time to add the bitter melon and stir to combine all the veggies. Generously season with pepper.
Pour the eggs over, and allow it to set for a minute. Then gently flip it over, and continue cooking until it’s set to your liking. I like a loose, softly scrambled egg so I take it off the heat quickly. But since you’re the short order cook, the eggs can be done however you like. Serve immediately because there’s nothing worse than cold scrambled eggs!
I hope you learn to love bitter melon and begin incorporating into your diet so you can reap all of its amazing health benefits. If you make this bitter melon scramble, let us know! Drop a comment, rate the recipe, and tag us in your pics on Instagram @funkyasiankitchen, show us the goods!
- 1 large bitter melon (about 8 ounces)
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- ½ large onion, sliced fine
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Wash and cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a small spoon. Slice the melon into thin ¼ inch pieces. Put the melon in a colander and salt with 1 tablespoon salt. Toss to combine and set aside for 10 mins. in the sink or over a larger bowl.
- Dice the tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, then into thin slices, and finally across the slices into cubes. Set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the bitter melon and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly scramble with a fork.
- Heat a large nonstick or well seasoned skillet over medium high heat. Pour in the oil and swirl to coat the surface of the pan.
- Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion has begun to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften and give off some liquid.
- Add the bitter melon and stir to combine.
- Add the egg and let cook for 1 minute undisturbed. Flip the egg gently with a spatula and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until the egg is cooked to your liking.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately.
Keywords: bitter melon, meatless, eggs