KUALA LUMPUR — Winter is coming.
Maybe not in Malaysia. But if you’re a big fan of Game of Thrones (based on A Song of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin’s series of fantasy novels), you might have been hosting your own Game of Thrones viewing party every week as a new episode was released.
(And now that the latest season is over, there’s always the option of marathon binge-watching weekends of earlier seasons. Count how many times a character says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” It’s fun.)
While the cuisine of the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos might be less than palatable (a pie made from the traitorous Freys comes to mind), Game of Thrones fans have found creative ways to dish up some delicacies that would delight whoever ends up on the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.
(If your derrière is resting on a throne made from a thousand swords and knives taken from the vanquished enemies of Aegon the Conqueror, you’d want something tasty to take your mind off your terrible seating decision too.)
In case the pseudo-medieval setting of the show is worrying about the historical accuracy of your recipe, fret not. For every Lannister Lemon Pie (possibly spiked with the Tears of Lys) and Stark Steak (the choice of Direwolves in Winterfell, when they can get it), there can be Asian-inspired Game of Thrones dishes such as a Baratheon Biryani and a Greyjoy Gado-Gado. A Targaryen Tom Yum ought to be appropriately hot and fiery, like the Mother of Dragons herself.
Now I’ve never hosted such a party myself, but a recent trip to a bakery-café in Bangkok called Baker Gonna Bake gave me the inspiration I needed. They had a dessert called Dragon Bowl that basically involved putting together dragon fruit, yoghurt, strawberries, nata de coco and granola. No cooking involved — easy-peasy!
The dragon fruit made me think of the Targaryens, of course, given their sigil is the fire-breathing dragon. The fruit’s leathery, pink-hued skin is certainly both reptilian and flame-coloured enough. Biting into one of the black seeds is not unlike the dragons crunching on some bones, no?
Strawberries have the bloom of the Tyrell rose. Yoghurt has the wintry look of snow-covered Winterfell, home to the noble Starks. Cubes of chewy, translucent nata de coco resemble blocks of ice, a chilling nod to the White Walkers.
Of course no Game of Thrones-inspired dish would be complete without an homage to the cunning Lannisters. The golden brown colour of granola — here a selection of rolled oats, flax seeds, dried cranberries and dark chocolate nibs baked with honey — represents the Lannister gold.
(I’m not particularly fond of any of the departed Baratheon brothers or the Sand Snakes so we’ll leave them out. A scattering of black sesame seeds could represent the Night’s Watch though, in a pinch, if you like.)
Ice and snow from the nata de coco and yoghurt. Fire from the dragon fruit and strawberries. Now this is truly a bowl of ice and fire!
A bowl of ice and fire
Look for a dragon fruit that’s ripe but not too ripe as you want the flesh to be sweet and crunchy. I’ve used a white dragon fruit here, partly because its slightly more elongated shape looks dragon-like, but feel free to use a red dragon fruit too, especially if you and your guests are viewing an especially bloodthirsty episode. (Which, where Game of Thrones is concerned, is nearly every episode.)
Another tip is not to try and refill the hollowed-out dragon fruit shell with all the flesh you’ve scooped out with a melon baller. Leave enough space for the other ingredients. You can always top it off with more dragon fruit balls later if it doesn’t look full enough.
I’ve used Greek yoghurt here rather than the ordinary variety because it holds up better. Greek yoghurt is simply yoghurt that has been strained to remove its whey. The result is thicker without losing any of the yoghurt’s slightly sour flavour that’s a nice contrast to the sweetness of the dragon fruit.
To add an element of aroma to this otherwise chilled dish — best served cold, just like revenge, Arya Stark-style — you can always lightly toast the granola on a non-stick pan (faster than preheating the oven) before garnishing the Dragon Bowl with it.
Half a white dragon fruit
3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of nata de coco
3-4 strawberries, halved
A handful of granola
Cut a white dragon fruit in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out the flesh from one of the halves. Set aside the dragon fruit balls. Refill the hollowed-out dragon fruit shell with Greek yoghurt and nata de coco. Top with dragon fruit balls and the halved strawberries. Garnish with granola (lightly toasted, if desired) and serve immediately.
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