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Have you seen this dessert?

It's a Filipino dish called tambo-tambong, which i can only assume is an approximation of the Tagalog pronounciation, since it's under Google's radar. i can only describe it as a hot soup dessert which is great since, like soup, you can make this dish with any old thing you have in the pantry (if your pantry happens to resemble the shelves from the local asian food market). When i was little, and we were living in the philippines for a short while, i remember my father and his brothers eating this out of coffee mugs, always late at night. it was too weird for me then, with its strange fruits floating, bobbing, in a milky sea. now it's a flavor intensity i can't find anywhere else.

Outside my home, I've never seen this dish anywhere else. Until recently, at a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, the meal ended with bowls of a soup-like dessert. But it was only a vague similarity to this dish. Has anyone seen this, or a version of it? Parts of it seem Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese to me. Curious to know if it's an offshoot of something else...




the soup base is coconut milk diluted with water and fortified by sugar. lots and lots of sugar.
the rice flour is for making a lot of tiny little balls. they turn into chewy balls of goodness in the soupy mix.




boil tapioca pearls first, since they take the longest.




shred the jackfruit




add root vegetables for textured carb-y goodness. we had yams and yuccas on hand.
(the parsimmon is unrelated)




ready for the big boil.. about 30 minutes




found a packet of anise! perfect, PERFECT complementary flavor.
throw in a handful of stars



the whole pot was gone before bedtime



Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
sheridankm
Dec. 7th, 2006 03:56 am (UTC)
I've had this! Twice, and it was different each time. I remember really liking it, and wondering how to make it -- and not having any luck with Google, either. Unfortunately, I can't remember where/at what kind of restaurant I had it. I'm pretty sure the second, inferior version was at a big Chinese restaurant, the good kind that has dim sum. The first time might have been home made...
silverfairy2
Dec. 7th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
That looks really good. I used to eat the cold iced dessert that has a purple root and pearls in it. I can't remember the name, but it is served over shaved ice with coconut milk and it has beans in it.
Very yummy!
dcpenguin
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Out of curiosity...
Might the purple root be Ube?

~T~
curare
Jun. 11th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
taro, probably. the purple root.
jonathan1945
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
I've had this dessert, and it's even available at Asian markets in packet form. The other time was at a Singaporean restaurant, but they stopped serving it -- unfortunately I can't remember what it was called.
dark_beloved
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Which province did you live in in the Philippines? Because that looks like ginataan to me, and I'm Tagalog...it's called sagobe in Batangas. :)
dcpenguin
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC)
Masarap!
Ginataan is what I know it as... (I was born @ Subic -- my mother is Kapampangan...)

Any way you call it... it looks goooood!

(Sorry for the double message in the inbox... my spelling seems to be shaky tonight...)
milkdropcoronet
Dec. 8th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU. you were the first to know! and an entire lifetime of curiosity is now sated. now i'm puzzled where the name tambo-tambong comes from, as that's how my family refers to it. they grew up in San Fernando, La Union.

thanks again- ginataan brings up a whole mess of great links on the interweb. not just recipes but everyone's childhood memories...
chokokat
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Never had it but it looks delicious. Some attempt at Googling tells me it might be called 'ginataan'.
jess_faraday
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
Now *that* looks really interesting.

I had a variation of it once at a Thai restaurant. It was basically sugared milk with lychee fruit and lime jello. It was nasty.

But that looks *good*.
dcpenguin
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
Similar, but not ginataan...
To a degree, Indian desserts like kheer remind me of ginataan, with it's souplike consistency and sweet, milky base. There are definite differences between the two though (the first of which being milk/yogurt used in such desserts (yogurt's in the first recipe, which isn't kheer...) rather than coconut milk...)

Those more familiar with Indian cuisine -- how often is coconut milk used in general?

~T~
galinusa
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
in singapore, we call this "bo bo cha cha". the dessert has coconut base, sweet potato and taro cubes, green jelly, tapioca balls, honeydew melon. very yummy!
jencallisto
Dec. 7th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
i've had a version of this called "bubor chacha" at Penang, a Malaysian restaurant in Cambridge, MA (and also the Boston location), though there it's made with just the coconut milk, sweet potato, and taro. one of my favorite desserts ever.
sheridankm
Dec. 7th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
That's where I had it! Now I remember.
milkdropcoronet
Dec. 8th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
ooh nice, i'll have to see if the Penang in NYC has bubor chacha. or i'll stop by that Penang next time i'm in boston ;)
jencallisto
Dec. 8th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
looking at the menus online, it looks like the Boston location has it more regularly than the Cambridge -- i think at the one in Harvard Square they alternate it with one of the other desserts. definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Boston anyway. :)
milkdropcoronet
Dec. 8th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
cool! i know a lot of people who crossover between manila and singapore, i can only assume the cuisine travels back and forth extensively as well. bo bo cha cha sounds yummy!
aimmyarrowshigh
Dec. 7th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)
I've never had it, but it looks JUST like a dessert served at a boba cafe near me -- they call it "halo halo" there.
dcpenguin
Dec. 7th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC)
What I know as Halo-Halo (which is what I think silverfairy2 was asking about earlier?) is similar to what is described in the original post, but also has some differences from ginataan.

Filipino Halo-halo is sweet and milky -- but often regular milk, condensed, or evaporated milk is used in preparation.

A whole range/mix of ingredients can be included in a Filipino halo-halo. Some of the same fruit/elements found in the ginataan are in there. Other fruits, sweet beans, ube (purple yam), gelatin, flan pieces, dried rice, coconut meat... the list goes on!

Halo-halo is served over ice (and sometimes topped with ice cream) and the milk, and as far as I can remember is not boiled.

The Boba Cafes might do something a little differently (there aren't any where I live, so I don't know exactly...)
dcpenguin
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
I forgot to include this late last night... my apologies!

It's crushed ice that's generally included with a halo-halo. :)

Serving it cold is a major differnce b/w halo-halo and ginataan (another yummy way to cool down when it gets hot!) It's often served in a tall glass - like a sundae.
pejabunnie
Dec. 7th, 2006 07:07 am (UTC)
I've seen this! I was served a bowlful of it at the end of a very filling Chinese meal at my local Chinese restaurant. My fiance and I were stumped by what was in it...just tapioca floating in sweet white goo and chunks of orangy stuff we now know to be yams...
elizagoth
Dec. 7th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
I've had that at my best friend in high school's house... She's Filipina. ;)
curare
Dec. 7th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
comfort food!
oh this reminds me of the tapioca dessert soup my grandma's friends made at their chinese restaurant... when i was a kid i always thought of it as "tapioca pudding" but later i was very disappointed to find out what real tapioca pudding was like. i got the recipe from them after their restaurant closed though, so i should make it! it had a base of coconut milk and taro flour, and there was some vanilla in it.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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