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Thai Pumpkin Custard – Authentic Sangkaya Phak Tong Recipe

This post is about a traditional Thai coconut egg custard called sangkaya phak tong that has a sweet blend of egg, sugar, and coconut cream that is steamed inside of a pumpkin gourd. In this post, I share all about this dessert and how to make this Thai pumkin custard right at home.

Thai Pumpkin Custard is visually appealing as well as absolutely a delicious dish. While mango sticky rice is the infamous dessert that hails out of Thailand, Thai Pumpkin Custard could rank pretty much in second place.

thai pumpkin custard

All About Thai Pumpkin Custard

What is Thai Pumpkin Custard?

Thai Pumpkin Custard, sangakya phak tong, is a traditional Thai dessert for a steamed pumpkin filled with a custard made from creamy coconut, sugar, and eggs. It is a popular street vendor dish that is often sold in the streets of Thailand food markets.

Thai Pumpkin Custard is renowned for its texture and its sweetness. While the western name given to it may say different, this dish is not made with pumpkin traditionally. Instead, kabocha squash is used to hold the sweet custard filling that is steam-baked.

What does Thai Pumpkin Custard taste like?

Thai coconut egg custard is tastes like steamed sweet potatoes with a chilled creme brûlée on top. The pumpkin provides the texture to this amazing dish, the coconut cream gives the sweetness that makes it a dessert, and the eggs provide the heartiness to the dish.

Other Names for Thai Pumpkin Custard – Sangakya Phak Tong

Other names that Thai Pumpkin Custard can be referred to are:

  • Thai pumpkin custard
  • Thai traditional squash custard
  • Thai coconut custard with pumpkin
  • Pumpkin coconut custard
  • Sweet Coconut Egg Custard
  • Sankaya Phak Tong
  • Sangkaya Fak Tong
  • Santakaya Fuk Tong
  • Sankaya Fuak Tong
  • Sangkhaya Fuak Tong
  • San ka ya Fuk Tong
  • Sang Ka Ya Fak Tong
  • Sangkaya Fak Thong
  • สังขยาฟักทอง

Regional Variations of Thai Pumpkin Custard

Cambodia has a version of a pumpkin custard called ipov sankya that is similar to that of Thai Pumpkin Custard.

Asian Grocery Store List for Thai Pumpkin Custard

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash is the squash that is traditionally used to make this dish because the flesh slices easier than that of other pumpkins and squashes once steamed. You can also eat not only the flesh, but the skin after it’s been steamed and cooked. There are some American grocers that carry it, but I wouldn’t count on it. Keep this on your list for the Asian market. You’ll identify them by the blue-green skin that are short and plumpy.

The green outer shell can be hard to cut through, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, delicate, smooth orange flesh.

thai pumpkin custard

Pandan Flavoring or Frozen Pandan Leaf

The leaf can be cleaned and mixed in with the egg for flavoring. However, you can also purchase pandan flavoring extract to make this process easier as well. If you can’t find it, you can substitute vanilla extract.

pandan leaves and extract

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream provides the texture and sweetness for this custard. This is the brand I normally veer towards for coconut cream. When choosing a cream, make sure you use a thick coconut cream, or else the sweet custard could split and not allow to let it firm up when cooled. 

coconut cream for thai pumpkin custard

Steamer Basket

You are going to need a steamer basket that will fit the squash. Often, Asian steamer baskets come in layers, and the top layer normally has a lid that has room at the top big enough to hold a small kabocha squash.

thai custard with coconut sticky rice steamer

Tips For This Recipe for Thai Pumpkin Custard

This recipe is truly authentic, ensuring that you use a kabocha squash. You can certainly try using Japanese pumpkin, regular pumpkin, or acorn squash, but the textures may be a little off. The custard is steamed directly inside of the small squash and sets while cooking inside of it.

When the custard mixture is all mixed together, you can choose to strain it through a fine strainer to ensure a smoother custard. I don’t normally do this extra tip, but for those if you who want to go the extra mile for presentation, this is a great extra step!

You can choose to cook over a high heat which may cause the custard to split or you can do medium heat which will make for a longer cooking time. It just depends on how hungry you are.

If you can’t find a pumpkin, try this recipe that doesn’t have a need for this special pumpkin and you can go straight for the custard – Thai Custard.

The internal custard temperature after steaming should be 170F (75C), which allows the squash to be firm and sliced cleanly, rather than being under and overcooked. Thai Pumpkin Custard is meant to be served chilled, so ensure that you allow it to cool to room temperature before slicing.

thai pumpkin custard

Authentic Thai Pumpkin Custard Recipe

I’m sharing with you what you’ll need to do to make this delicious pumpkin custard recipe, Sangakya Phak Tong.

Ingredients for Thai Pumpkin Custard

  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ coconut cream
  • ⅓ palm sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pandan flavoring 

Directions for Thai Pumpkin Custard

  1. Bring water to a boil in the steamer.
  2. Fully clean the kabocha squash on the outside.
  3. Hollow out the kabocha squash by cutting out a small part at the top, and removing all the seeds and strings inside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut cream, palm sugar, cinnamon, and pandan flavoring. Mix well.
  5. Pour the custard mixture into the squash. Do not replace the squash top back.
  6. Put the squash into a steaming basket and lay the squash top next to it to allow it to steam.
  7. Allow the squash to steam for 45 minutes or until cooked. Use a toothpick to check. If the toothpick is runny, allow it to cook until done. The internal custard temperature should be 170F (75C).
  8. Once cooked, allow the pumpkin to chill preferably in the refrigerator.
  9. To serve, use a knife to cut a wedge to serve.

Preserving Thai Pumpkin Squash

Thai Pumpkin Squash after steaming should remain edible when stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can be substituted for pandan leaves or extract for Thai Pumpkin Custard?

Vanilla extract can be used as a substitute for pandan leaves.

Can you use coconut milk for this instead of coconut cream?

While coconut milk can be used, it may be harder to have the custard set. Coconut cream has higher fat, which will allow the custard to set and form.

What is a substitute for kabocha for Thai Pumpkin Custard?

Japanese pumpkins are similar in taste and texture to kabocha and can be used as a substitute.

Is Thai Pumpkin Custard healthy?

Thai pumpkin custard’s use of kabocha squash has a good source of nutrients with Vitamin A, iron, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B. The eggs provide protein. However, the cream and sugar definitely adds to the calorie count of this dish.

Summary of Making Thai Pumpkin Custard – Sangkaya Phak Tong

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Thai Pumpkin Custard. With only a handful of ingredients, it’s pretty easy to make. It’s the cutting of the gourd along with the the steaming and chilling time that causes the most angst when trying this recipe.

More Easy Thai Recipes That You’ll Love

If you love this Thai Pumpkin Custard as much as our family does, see below for some other recipes. Please write a five star review and help me share on Facebook and Pinterest!

thai pumpkin custard

Thai Pumpkin Custard - Authentic Sangkaya Phak Tong Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Traditional Thai coconut egg custard called sangkaya phak tong that has a sweet blend of egg, sugar, and coconut cream that is steamed inside of a pumpkin gourd.

Ingredients

  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ coconut cream
  • ⅓ palm sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pandan flavoring

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in the steamer.
  2. Fully clean the kabocha squash on the outside.
  3. Hollow out the kabocha squash by cutting out a small part at the top, and removing all the seeds and strings inside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut cream, palm sugar, cinnamon, and pandan flavoring. Mix well.
  5. Pour the custard mixture into the squash. Do not replace the squash top back.
  6. Put the squash into a steaming basket and lay the squash top next to it to allow it to steam.
  7. Allow the squash to steam for 45 minutes or until cooked. Use a toothpick to check. If the toothpick is runny, allow it to cook until done. The internal custard temperature should be 170F (75C).
  8. Once cooked, allow the pumpkin to chill preferably in the refrigerator.
  9. To serve, use a knife to cut a wedge to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g
Sweet Thai pumpkin custard-1 Sweet Thai pumpkin custard-1 Sweet Thai pumpkin custard-1

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