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Tub Tim Krob (Thai Red Rubies Dessert Recipe) ทับทิมกรอบ

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Tub tim krob, a delicious Thai red rubies dessert recipe, is ideal for sizzling hot summer days. Crunchy water chestnuts are coated in tapioca, with a subtle hint of fragrant pandan. In a bath of sweet coconut syrup topped with crushed ice, this dish isn’t just fun to whip up, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Tub tim krob Thai dessert in a glass bowl with coconut milk, water chestnuts, and jackfruit.

What is red ruby dessert

Red ruby dessert, or tub tim krob, is a classic Thai dessert featuring diced water chestnuts coated in tapioca starch, resembling rubies. Served in fragrant coconut milk, often with crushed ice, it’s a delightful and refreshing treat.

Tub tim krob recipe

This Thai dessert with tapioca flour is as fun to make as it is to eat.

Red-colored crunchy water chestnuts are coated in tapioca starch, and they turn out looking just like shiny rubies or juicy pomegranate seeds.

It’s vegan and dairy-free, but trust me, it’s still ridiculously creamy. Like, how is it even possible creamy!

A spoonful of Thai tub tim krob with crunchy water chestnuts, jackfruit strips, and coconut milk.

Got a party coming up? This is the kind of treat you have to serve. The crunch, the refreshing flavors, the authentic Thai ingredients, it’s all there.

And don’t stress; it’s way easier than it looks once you get the idea!

Whipping up tub tim grob is a blast, it’s perfect for a fun day in the kitchen with your kids. They’ll love seeing the ‘rubies’ floating in the creamy coconut milk. And rest assured, it looks amazing, but it tastes even better.

Tub tim grob Thai dessert with coconut milk, red rubies, and yellow jackfruit.

It’s a ‘one bowl just isn’t enough’ kind of dessert. Perfect for cooling down on a hot day or just treating yourself because you totally deserve it.

Tub tim grob history

The origins of tub tim krob are mysterious, yet it’s a Southeast Asian staple – on par with Thai mango sticky rice. Known for its jewel-like water chestnuts in coconut milk resembling rubies, this Thai dessert symbolizes prosperity in Thai culture.

Why is it called red rubies dessert

Wondering about the name tub tim krob?

“Tub tim krob” translates to “crunchy pomegranates” in Thai. In Thai, “tub tim” can either mean ruby or pomegranate and “krob” means crunchy.

The name of this dessert describes the appearance and texture, as the tapioca-coated water chestnuts resemble ruby-colored pomegranate seeds.

Some Thai people will say it’s named after the gemstone because of its sparkly, jewel-like appearance. Others think it’s because they resemble pomegranate seeds.

My hubby and me, we’re firmly on team pomegranate!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Top-view of ingredients for tub tim grob on banana leaves: water, chopped water chestnuts, tapioca starch, red food colring, pandan leaves, salt, sugar, and coconut milk.

Red rubies

  • Water chestnut – Water chestnuts provide a perfect crunchy texture. When coated with tapioca flour and cooked, they transform into the ‘red rubies’ that give this dessert its name. (fresh or canned in water)
  • Red food coloring – Red food coloring is key to creating the signature ruby-red hue of this Thai red ruby dessert recipe. Just a few drops can be enough, depending on the color you’d like to achieve.
  • Tapioca starch – Gives the water chestnuts a chewy coating, turning them into rich red rubies in coconut milk. It’s a staple in many traditional Thai desserts, like lod chong.
  • Water – The food coloring is added to water, in which the chestnuts are soaked until they turn red.

Syrup

  • White sugar
  • Water

Coconut milk

  • Coconut milk – Use full-fat coconut milk for a rich and creamy coconut sauce.
  • Pandan leaves – Elevates the aroma of tub tim krob’s coconut milk.
  • Salt – Enhances the dessert’s flavor.

For serving

  • Coconut meat (optional) – Adding fresh young coconut meat introduces an extra layer of texture and authentic Thai flair.
  • Jackfruit (optional) – Jackfruit slices bring a sweet, crunchy, and fruity note that complement the coconut and crunchy rubies.
  • Crushed ice – Crushed ice chills the dessert, making it refreshing and perfect for hot days.

Cooking instructions

Tub tim krob (rubies)

Sequential steps of making tub tim grob, showing red syrup, diced water chestnuts soaking and coated with tapioca flour, boiling, and the final glistening dessert ready to be served.

1. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water to cover the diced chestnuts. Add food coloring until the water is red to your liking.

2. Add the water chestnuts and leave them to soak until red, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup and coconut milk (see instructions under “sugar syrup and coconut milk”).

3. Drain the chestnuts and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

4. Add tapioca starch to the mixing bowl, mixing well using your hand until each piece of chestnut is coated with tapioca. Shake off extra starch in a strainer.

5. Cook the rubies by placing them into boiling water, stir gently to prevent sticking. After a short amount of time they will float to the top, at this moment cook for 2 more minutes. Make sure not to overcook.

6. Remove the rubies from your pan or pot and add them to a bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking. After 2 minutes, transfer them to the prepared coconut syrup.

Sugar syrup and coconut milk

Coconut milk simmering with pandan leaves, and coconut syrup in a pot.

Sugar syrup: Heat water in a pot over low heat and add sugar. Cook and stir until sugar has dissolved, then chill.

Coconut milk: In a pan or pot over low heat, boil coconut milk, pandan, and salt. Cook for 2–3 minutes and then chill.

Serve

Scoop some of the rubies into your serving bowl and add the optional jackfruit and/or young coconut strips. Pour on a generous amount of coconut milk and pile on some crushed ice, enjoy chilled!

Kitchen tools

  • Mixing bowls for mixing the chestnuts with tapioca starch, and one for the syrup and coconut milk mixture.
  • Sieve or colander to rinse and drain the water chestnuts and remove excess tapioca starch.
  • Saucepan for preparing the syrup and boiling the chestnuts.
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

How to serve

Fill the bottom of your serving bowl with crushed ice. Spoon a generous amount of the ruby-like water chestnuts over the ice. If you’re using ripe jackfruit or young coconut meat, add them now. Gently pour the coconut milk over the other ingredients and serve immediately.

Make sure not to add the rubies to the coconut milk until you’re serving.

How to store

Tub tim krob is a dessert best enjoyed fresh. It’s possible to store it in the fridge for a day or two, but the texture and consistency of the coconut milk will change over time.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this in advance?

This is not the best dessert to make in advance.

Should I use canned chestnuts in syrup or in water?

If you can’t get your hands on fresh water chestnuts, use canned chestnuts in water.

Do I have to use food coloring?

For a natural alternative, you can use beetroot juice or crushed raspberries to color the water chestnuts.

Is tub tim krob a healthy dessert?

Tub tim krub is relatively healthy as it contains water chestnuts and coconut milk. However, the sugar content in the syrup can be sometimes be quite high.

Authentic Thai dessert recipes

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Tub Tim Krob (Thai Red Rubies Dessert Recipe) ทับทิมกรอบ

Tub tim krob Thai dessert in a glass bowl with coconut milk, water chestnuts, and jackfruit.
Tub tim krob is where crunchy water chestnuts meet sweet coconut milk for a refreshing and visually stunning dessert that's perfect for summer.
Praew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Dessert
Serving Size 6 people

Ingredients

RED RUBIES

  • 8.8 ounces fresh water chestnut Diced into about 1/3-inch sized cubes - see notes
  • red food coloring
  • 7 ounces tapioca starch
  • 5 fluid ounces water

SYRUP

  • 7 ounces white sugar
  • 6.75 fluid ounces water

COCONUT MILK

  • 6.75 fluid ounces coconut milk
  • 3 pandan leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

SERVING

  • crushed ice
  • jackfruit
  • coconut meat

Instructions

TUB TIM KROB (RUBIES)

  • Fill a mixing bowl with enough water to cover the diced chestnuts. Add food coloring until the water is red to your liking.
  • Add the water chestnuts and leave them to soak until red, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup and coconut milk (see instructions under "sugar syrup and coconut milk").
  • Drain the chestnuts and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add tapioca starch to the mixing bowl, mixing well using your hand until each piece of chestnut is coated with tapioca. Shake off extra starch in a strainer.
  • Cook the rubies by placing them into boiling water, stir gently to prevent sticking. After a short amount of time they will float to the top, at this moment cook for 2 more minutes. Make sure not to overcook.
  • Remove the rubies from your pan or pot and add them to a bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking. After 2 minutes, transfer them to the prepared coconut syrup.

SUGAR SYRUP AND COCONUT MILK

  • Sugar syrup: Heat water in a pot over low heat and add sugar. Cook and stir until sugar has dissolved, then chill.
  • Coconut milk: In a pan or pot over low heat, boil coconut milk, pandan, and salt. Cook for 2–3 minutes and then chill.

SERVE

  • Scoop some of the rubies into your serving bowl and add the optional jackfruit and/or young coconut strips. Pour on a generous amount of coconut milk and pile on some crushed ice, enjoy chilled!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Water chestnut: If you can't get your hands on fresh water chestnuts, use canned chestnuts in water.

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