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What is Luk Chup? (Fruit Shaped Mung Bean Thai Dessert ลูกชุบ)

An eye-catching Thai dessert often in shapes of fruits and vegetables is Luk Chup. It’s made from unshelled mung beans, coconut cream, and sugar. These ingredients are blended together and then cooked until smooth to make mung bean paste. The paste is then carefully shaped, traditionally by hand and with a toothpick for indent. Food coloring can be painted on with a brush. Finally, it’s dipped several times in gelatin or agar-agar powder that’s been cooked in water and sugar to coat the mung bean for a glossy finish.

What are the shapes of Luk Chup?

Luk chup are commonly shaped into fruits and vegetables. Examples are orange, cherry, mangosteen, mango, star gooseberry, rose apple, chili, carrot, and papaya. There are also luk chup that are shaped into savory food such as grilled octopus, salted egg, or fried mackerel. A popular, cute animal is the rubber duck. One new trend has real fruits added into the filling.

What is Luk Chup’s origin?

Luk chup is inspired by Portuguese cuisine during the Ayutthaya era, and was first enjoyed by royals in Thailand. In Portugal, this dessert is called marzipan, where almond paste and sugar or honey are shaped into fruits and vegetables. However, the exact origin remains unknown as this dessert has spread worldwide with each country adapting the recipe based on local ingredients.

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