Thai Pumpkin Custard – Sankaya Dessert


Thai pumpkin custard (Sankaya, สังขยา) is a popular Thai dessert which is often sold in fresh-food markets and as street food. To prepare this dessert, we stuff a whole pumpkin or kabocha (Asian winter squash) with a sweet coconut milk and egg custard which is then steamed. This is a very beautiful and aesthetic dessert with balanced textures which also show the influence of the Portuguese on Thai food.

In fact, due to Portuguese influence in the 1600s, eggs were added to Thai desserts and sweets. In Thai, this dessert is also called ‘Sankaya Fak Thong’, ‘Fak Thong’ referring to ‘golden squash’ (ฟักทอง). This dessert is also known in Cambodia where it is called ‘Sankhya lapov’. The Khmer word for pumpkin is ‘lapov’.

Thai Pumpkin Custard

Thai pumpkin custard (photo credit:

Thai pumpkin custard (photo credit:


Ingredients for 4-5 portions:

  • 1 pumpkin (400-600g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 300g palm sugar
  • 2 TSP rice flour
  • 1/s TSP salt
  • 1000ml limewater
  • 3-4 pandan leaves or pandanus flavour


First prepare the pumpkin: wash it and cut out the top, then remove all the seeds and stringy insides from the pumpkin. In the next step, soak the pumpkin in 1 litre of limewater for 20-30 minutes.

Then prepare the custard: put the four eggs in a large mixing bowl, add salt, coconut milk, rice flour and palm sugar. Add also your pandan leaves or pandanus flavour and mix everything well by hand. It is important that the palm sugar is completely dissolved. Then stain the mixture with cheesecloth and afterwards fill your pumpkin with this custard mixture and put it in a steamer with boiling water. That is to say, place the pumpkin inside the steamer basket and steam for about 40-45 minutes.

Finally take the pumpkin out, let it cool down and you’re ready to serve! Your pumpkin is now like a pie, simply cut a piece out 🙂

Thai pumpkin custard like pie (photo credit: Takeaway,

‘Sankaya’ dessert like pie (photo credit: Takeaway,

This recipe for steamed pumpkin custard comes from the marvellous cooking channel In the following video, you can easily learn how to make this dessert.

I think Thai pumpkin custard is an amazing dessert that may also be a nice exotic pie for Halloween 🙂

Hope you’ll give this a try!

Yours, Sirinya

(P.S. for more information, check out my Thai Food Dictionary)

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