Jasmine flan recipe by Thai chef Ian Kittichai

Ian Kittichai is one of my Thai Food Heroes, and quite simply one of the finest Thai chefs I know. He and his wife Sarah are among my dearest pals in Bangkok. He began cooking with his mother for the family’s food cart every morning before school, and had no intention of cooking professionally until he came to London to study, working as a kitchen porter to make ends meet, and practising his English with the chefs in the kitchen. It was when he covered for a cook who hadn’t turned up for a shift that his talent was spotted, and the hotel sponsored him through catering college. From there, he trained classically in Sydney before embarking on a trail-blazing career. This simple recipe embodies his approach to Thai food, drawing inspiration from Thai cuisine and applying it to Western techniques. You can see this most clearly at his flagship Bangkok restaurant, Issaya Siamese Club. In this case, he takes the Royal Thai tradition of blooming jasmine blossom in water for cooking, and applies it to a classic Western dessert. Clever stuff.

Ingredients

  • 1 g/heaped 1⁄2 tsp agar-agar powder or 3 g/11⁄2 tsp agar-agar flakes
  • 275 ml/9 fl oz/scant 11⁄4 cups double (heavy) cream
  • 40 g/11⁄2 oz/3 heaped tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2–3 drops of jasmine essence
  • your choice of fruits for a fruit salad, to serve

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the agar-agar and the cream to the boil over a medium heat.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until it has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the jasmine essence. Divide equally between four ramekins and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until the flan has set.
  3. Gently turn out on to chilled plates (Ian says that to make the unmoulding easier, quickly dip the ramekins into hot water and then shake it upright at a 45° angle so that the air gets to the edges and they pull away from the sides) and serve with a fresh fruit salad on the side.

A recipe from Baan: Recipes and Stories from My Thai Home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge (Pavilion Books). Buy the book here.

Jasmine flan recipe by Thai chef Ian Kittichai