Thai Red Ruby in Fresh Coconut Milk (Tub Tim Grob): If you love Thai desserts like Mango Sticky Rice, you will probably love this refreshing and and vibrantly coloured dessert with its ruby-hued crunchy water chestnuts coated in tapioca jelly, swimming in a soup of freshly squeezed coconut milk. We like to call this the Thai version of bubur cha cha!
Its the most wonderful THAI-me of the year……….
Yes… I know…. The Thai people don’t really celebrate Christmas… But with Christmas just around the corner, there’s just this contagious festive spirit and joy in the air. And so I really couldn’t resist, I just HAD to dress up our latest Thai Red Ruby recipe in Christmas theme to match the mood! Perfect for a Christmas Potluck if you’re the one assigned to bring desserts!
If you’ve not tried this best, I can only best describe it as Thailand’s answer to Bubur Cha Cha.The tapioca jelly is the same as what we use in bubur cha cha, except that it is wrapped around a crunchy cube of fresh water chestnut. This not only gives it a beautiful pomegranate appearance, but also gives a very satisfying crunch as you bite into each ‘ruby’.
And so its not at all surprising that the Thai name of Red Ruby is ‘Tub Tim Grob’, because ‘Tub Tim’ means ‘ruby’ and ‘Grob’ means ‘crunchy’ – literally, Crunchy Ruby. Other than Mango Sticky Rice, Red Ruby is probably the next most popular Thai dessert commonly served in most Thai restaurants or eateries.
The Making of A Ruby
The method for making Red Ruby however is different (and actually simpler) than for Bubur Cha Cha jelly. You simply have to dice the water chestnuts, soak them in red colouring, and then toss in a bag to coat it with tapioca flour.
If you prefer a thicker layer of jelly, you can always spritz the coated water chestnuts with a little water, and then repeat the process to form a second coating. No moulding and cutting needed at all!
The Unsung Hero: Fresh Coconut Milk
Yes, you can use ready-made coconut milk for this dessert. But I must warn you, the taste won’t be quite the same. Somehow, freshly squeezed coconut milk has a unique sweetness and fragrance that spells F-R-E-S-H. So if you are one of the finicky sorts, you’ll want to make this yourself. But if you can’t tell the difference, then just go with whichever option suits you!
When extracting coconut milk, you always need to add some warm water. Otherwise you can squeeze the grated coconut all you like and you won’t even get a single drop! You need to repeat the process twice to first extract the coconut cream (known as santan), and then the coconut milk.
If you are ready to give this a try, you can print out the full recipe below! And if you do try it, please would you leave me a comment below to let me know?
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Vegan: No modifications needed.
- Vegetarian: No modifications needed
If you love Thai desserts like Mango Sticky Rice, you will probably love this refreshing and and vibrantly coloured dessert with its ruby-hued crunchy water chestnuts coated in tapioca jelly. We call it this Thai version of bubur cha cha!
- 300 gm Water Chestnuts
- 3/4 Cup Tapioca Flour Another 1/4 cup for 2nd coating (Optional)
- 4 TBsp Water To be added to the red colouring
- 3/4-1 tsp Red Coloring
- 2.5 litre Water To boil the red ruby
- 250 gm Fresh Grated Coconut About 1 coconut
- 150 ml Warm Water To be added to the grated coconut
- 1.1 litre Boiled Cool Water
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 8-10 Pandan Leaves
- 80-90 gm Sugar
- 2 trays Ice Cubes
Wash the pandan leaves, twist them to break up the fibres and then tie a knot.
Use a brush to remove the mud from the water chestnut. Wash thoroughly and remove the skin by by cutting off both ends and removing the rest of the skin with a peeler. Remove any eyes with a knife tip.
Dice the water chestnut into 1 cm cubes.
Add the red colouring and 4 TBsp of water in a large bowl and mix well. Then add in the diced chestnuts and mix well until uniformly stained with the colouring, and let stand for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, add 150 ml of warm water into the grated coconut and squeeze it a few times. Then extracting the coconut milk on a sieve over a bowl. This first layer is called known as coconut cream (santan).
Add another 1.1. litre of warm water to the grated coconut. Squeeze the coconut a few times before extracting the 2nd layer of the coconut milk over a sieve into another bowl.
Drain and put the stained water chestnut into a plastic bag. Add the flour into the plastic bag and seal the opening by twisting the bag, leaving some air inside. Give the plastic bag a few hard shakes until all the water chestnuts are coated with flour.
Optional: If you prefer a thick layer of jelly, spritz the water chestnuts with a little water, and repeat the coating process.
Shake off excess flour and transfer the coated water chestnuts onto a plate.
Add the coconut milk (2nd layer), sugar, salt and pandan leaves to a pot, and let it simmer over medium heat until you can the smell of the pandan aroma and all the sugar is dissolved (about 10-15 min). Reduce the heat if it start to bubble.
Next, add in the santan (1st layer) and simmer over medium low heat stirring it constantly (about 5 min). Once it starts to bubble, turn off the heat.
Let the coconut milk cool completely before placing it in the fridge to chill.
In another pot, add 2.5 litre of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, quickly pour in all the water chestnuts and continue to boil, stirring constantly for about 5-7 mins (or until the red rubies turn red and float to the surface).
Once the red rubies are cooked, use a stainless steel slotted spoon to transfer them into a bowl of ice water to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Scoop the red ruby into individual bowls, and add the coconut milk and serve chilled.
- It is better to use fresh water chestnuts, as they are sweeter and crunchier. Alternatively, you can also use canned water chestnuts though they are not as sweet and crunchy.
- Do not smash the water chestnuts, just cut them into 2cm square otherwise the red rubies will lack a satisfying crunch.
- When cooking the coconut soup, add the coconut cream only in the last 5 minutes, and don't allow it the boil, otherwise it will tend to curdle. Instead, simmer it slowly and turn off the heat once it starts to bubble. The same principle applies when cooking curry.
- When cooking the red rubies, you need to keep stirring to prevent the red rubies from sticking to each other.
- Once the rubies start floating up, give it another minute or two before transferring them to the ice water.
- Don't worry if the red rubies look pale coloured after cooking. Once the rubies are dunked in the ice water, they should turn completely red.
- Add the coconut milk into the red rubies just before serving, otherwise the coconut milk may be stained pink.
- You can leave the red rubies in cold water in the fridge until ready to serve. Do not drain off the water, otherwise the red rubies will stick together in a big lump.
- It's best not to keep the red rubies overnight as they tend to turn soggy.
- If you still decide to keep the red rubies overnight, drain off the water and refrigerate. When it is ready to serve, just add in hot water enough to cover over the rubies and microwave for a few seconds. Drain off the water and plunge the rubies in iced water to cool before serving.
- As for the coconut milk, it is best to serve on the same day too. Though it can usually be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days provided the fridge is cold enough. Make sure to cling wrap the coconut milk before storing.