Wednesday, April 22, 2009

STI: Diet chendol

April 23, 2009

Eat to live

Diet chendol

A new trim coconut milk product has half the fat but all the flavour. SYLVIA TAN found it creamy enough to make a chendol custard


I never thought I would see the day when I would be able to enjoy coconut milk without qualms. There is a new product now in the market, which cuts down the saturated fat in coconut milk by nearly half.


Produced by the well-established Ayam Brand, it has reduced the amount of saturated fat in its coconut milk by 45 per cent, yet it retains all the flavour. You get a fragrant milk which is ideal for adding to curries, laksa and the like.


Of course, soya milk, rice milk and nut milks could also add creaminess without the sin, but if you are a fan of the coconut fragrance, this new product would work for you.


Unlike other skimmed coconut milks on the market, this one is creamy, thanks to the addition of xantham gum often used by food manufacturers to achieve a thicker consistency in foods.


Xantham gum is found, for example, in salad dressings, gluten-free baked products and even toothpaste to obtain the desired viscosity. It does not change the colour or flavour of foods or beverages.


I decided to try out the skimmed coconut milk in a dessert and used it in a chendol custard.


The idea was to make a dessert retaining all the flavours of chendol but presented as a soft coconut custard instead of a milk.


To be honest, I was worried about whether the trim milk would be full-tasting enough for chendol, hence the custard idea. Eggs would do the trick, I thought.


The result was a soft velvety custard, fragrant with coconut, enhanced by a rich sweet palm sugar (gula melaka) syrup. Further textural delight came in the slippery flour strips and the squishy red bean topping.


If you are serious about cholesterol control, use just egg whites; if not, whole eggs would ensure a full-bodied flavour to this healthier version of a classic dessert.


As with all chendols, skinny or otherwise, a lot of the flavour comes from the gula melaka syrup. So be sure to obtain the best available. It should deliver a full rich sweetness.


The other components of chendol can now be easily found in supermarkets. The green chendol strips are in the refrigerated section while the sweetened red beans are available in tins and dinky little packets, perfect for smaller servings.


So all you really need to do is to make the custard, which takes all of 15 minutes.


In case you get carried away by this new trim coconut milk, be warned that there is still saturated fat in the product, albeit in lower amounts.


If you care to read the label further, there is 11g of saturated fat for every 100g of milk in the packet. The daily allowance of saturated fat is 11 per cent of your caloric intake, so do not overdo it.


Sylvia Tan is a freelance writer




(For four)

2 medium whole eggs or just egg whites

200ml trim coconut milk

2 tsp sugar

Green chendol strips (available at supermarkets)

Packaged or canned red beans (available at Japanese supermarkets)

1 banana, sliced

Gula melaka syrup, made by melting a cup of palm sugar shavings, cut from a block, into a cup of water.




Break eggs into a large mixing bowl, add sugar and stir till sugar has melted and mixture thickens. Do not beat as you do not want to incorporate too much air into the custard mixture or it will not turn silky. Add coconut milk and stir again.


Pour custard mixture into four ramekins and steam in a wok half filled with water over a low fire for 15 minutes or until the mixture sets.


Cool. Chill ramekins, covered with cling film, in the fridge.


When ready to serve, drizzle a spoonful of gula melaka syrup over the custard, top with a dollop of red beans, a spoonful of chendol strips and a few slices of banana. Serve immediately.

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