Khanom Krok: Thai Coconut-Rice Pancakes

Khanom krok is the Thai version of pancakes made on a cast-iron griddle with small “cups” for each pancake. Khanom means “sweet” and krok means “griddle.” It is a popular street food, slightly sweet and coconut-ty. I found this recipe for khanom krok on the internet and decided to try it. The method was a bit vague so I experimented with it and made adjustments. The first batch was a terrible disaster because  the griddle was not properly seasoned and I did not use the correct amount of coconut milk. I was a can short so I substituted milk. Instead of the traditional khanom krok griddle which has 28 cups,  I used the aebelskiver griddle I bought from Amazon.com and which only has 7 cups.

Cooking Khanom Krok in the Aebelskiver Griddle

The first thing to do, and so you won’t regret it later, is to take the time to season the griddle properly before using it. I followed the directions for seasoning new cast-iron cookware at Temple of Thai.com. It was well worth the effort because the second batch of khanom krok came out perfect!

About the ingredients: You can find unsweetened coconut milk, tapioca flour, and glutinous rice flour at Asian markets. I reduced the salt from two teaspoons to one  because I thought two was too salty. As a rule, the Thai like the play of sweet, salty, and savory flavors so adjust the amount of sweet and salt to taste.

Khanom Krok

INGREDIENTS:

3×14 ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1⁄2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot flour (I used tapioca)
3 tablespoons uncooked white rice
1⁄4 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
 
Optional filling ingredients:
1⁄4 cup green onions, cut in thin rounds
1⁄4 cup fresh corn kernels
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

PREPARATION:

Make the coconut cream topping: Spoon 1 3/4 cups of the creamiest part from the top of three cans of coconut milk. Heat just enough to melt and smooth out the lumps. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool before mixing in 2 1⁄2 tablespoons of tapioca or arrowroot flour. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

Make the coconut-rice filling: In a large bowl, combine the remaining coconut milk from the cans and stir until smooth. It isn’t necessary to heat it to get out the lumps. A good brisk whisk helps. Grind the uncooked white rice in a food mill or clean coffee grinder as finely as possible.  Add the ground rice, dried coconut, the rice flour, and salt to the remaining coconut milk. Stir and mix until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

Make the pancakes: Heat a well-seasoned khanom krok griddle  on the stove over medium-high heat. When the griddle is hot or nearly smoking, brush the cups with peanut or corn oil. Wait a few seconds before spooning the filling mixture into each cup to about two-thirds full. The batter should sizzle when it hits the hot metal. [Tip: use a small soup or gravy ladle. In Thailand the cook uses a small teapot to pour the coconut-rice filling into the cups.] Before the batter sets, add a tablespoon of the sweet coconut cream mixture over the top to fill each cup. Sprinkle the center of each pancake with a little bit of one of the toppings, or leave plain. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a round lid and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the pancakes are firm and crispy brown on the bottom. Remove gently with a rounded spoon. Each pancake will slip out of the griddle if it has been well-seasoned before. Re-grease the griddle before making the next batch. Because rice flour tends to settle, stir the coconut-rice filling mixture well before pouring onto the griddle.

Cool slightly before eating because the pancake centers are very hot.  The bottoms will be crispy and the centers creamy. Serve warm.

Skimming coconut cream for Khanom Krok
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