Use a sweet, dry-fleshed, small squash and allow one for every two servings. Or choose a larger squash and cut it into wedges to serve.
1 medium-sized turban squash
or 2 sweet dumpling or golden nugget squash
300 ml/10 fl oz canned coconut cream
4 eggs, beaten
220 g/7 oz palm sugar
4 tablespoons water
rose or jasmine essence (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cut top off squash neatly to enable seeds and membrane to be scooped out with a spoon. Combine coconut cream and eggs. Dissolve palm sugar with water over gentle heat, cool to room temperature and mix with the coconut cream, stir in flavouring essence and salt, and strain the custard into a jug.
Place squash in a steamer, or on a rack in a large pan of hot water. Pour custard into the hollow centre of the squash and place the top beside it to cook along with the squash. Cover pot and steam for 30-40 minutes or until custard is firm and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool. Remove squash from steamer and refrigerate before serving.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)