In a small
saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar and the 16 fl oz / 500ml
water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Continue to cook until a light syrup forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from
the heat and let cool. Pour off half of the sugar syrup and set aside.
In a bowl or pitcher, combine the remaining sugar syrup and the coconut
milk and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate.
With a paring
knife, peel the water chestnuts. Rinse with cold water. Cut into 1/4
inch (6-mm) pieces and drop into a bowl of cold water. When all the
water chestnuts are cut, drain and divide evenly among 3 bowls. Add 2
tbsp of the remaining water to each bowl. Tint one bowl with a few drops
of red food coloring, tint the second bowl with a few drops of blue food
coloring, and leave the third bowl clear. Stir each bowl of water
chestnuts until the pieces are evenly colored. Divide the tapioca flour
evenly among another 3 bowls. Drain a bowl of the water chestnut beads
and toss them into a bowl of tapioca flour, then let stand for 10
minutes. Repeat the coating process with the two remaining batches of
water chestnuts and tapioca flour.
Bring a large
saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Using your fingers,
separate the water chestnut beads in the first bowl. With a slotted
spoon, scoop up the beads, shaking off the excess flour, and drop the
beads into the boiling water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beads
float to the top, about 3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon,
drain well, and place in a large bowl. Add cold water to cover. Repeat
with the remaining beads, boiling each color separately but combining
the cooled beads in the same bowl of cold water. Stir the beads
together, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
drain the beads and divide them evenly among 6 custard cups or, if
available, hollowed-out coconut shells. Cover the beads with ice, then
top with the prepared coconut milk. Serve at once. Pass the reserved
sugar syrup at the table.
zones in Thailand are often correctly described as hot, very hot, and
furnace hot. The heat is humid throughout most of the year, and after
strolling through the streets, the most welcome sight is that of a
vendor selling cold fresh fruit drinks. The only better sight is
Bangkok's Bussaracum restaurant. It serves a first-rate thab thim krob,
fresh water chestnuts dyed red and blue with natural colorings, rolled
in tapioca flour and served in chilled sweetened coconut milk in a
coconut shell. The red ones are said to resemble pomegranate pearls,
hence the name. It is important to serve the dessert well chilled in
lots of crushed ice.