When it comes to packing flavour into every mouthful, Thai food never disappoints. Rich coconut curries, hot and spicy soups and Pad Thai noodles are all well known worldwide, however one remarkable snack seems almost to be hiding in plain sight from outside eyes.
Not only is this snack delicious, and the presentation divine, it is also remarkably healthy with almost zero fat or calories. Quite why this treat is kept a local secret remains a mystery.
A small handful of powerful, punchy ingredients wrapped in a leaf or large lotus petal and eaten together in a single bite, the dish is called Miang Kham, and its name literally translates to ‘one bite wrap’.
It was introduced to the Siamese court of King Rama V by Princess Dara Rasmi. King Rama Vs rule extended from the late 1800’s until 1910.
Since that time, the dish has travelled and settled in Laos as well as Malaysia where it is known as Sirih Kaduk. It is remarkably easy to make and it is totally adaptable to taste.
There are several basic ingredients, any of which can be left out if you don’t like them. All you need to do is finely cut up shallots, fresh red or green chili peppers, ginger, garlic, lime- keep the peel on !!- roasted coconut, peanuts or cashews, small dried shrimps. Some people add things like fried fish, or bits of chicken, perhaps some sausage or any protein, but that is a personal choice.
Traditionally, Betel leaves are used to make the wrap, and these are obviously eaten, or lotus petals if you can find them, they look spectacular and are edible with purported health benefits. If you don’t have these things, you can wrap the mixture in lettuce leaves, which works just as well, and is just as delicious.
A sauce of palm sugar- substitute for brown sugar, fish sauce, galangal- if you have it- and ginger will tie it all together. Pour a small amount over the ingredients inside the wrap, and shove the whole thing in your mouth for an explosion of flavour!
If you leave out the shrimps and substitute the fish sauce for, say, soy sauce, this dish is vegan.
So there it is, an amazingly simply, beautiful and scrumptious snack that will delight your tastebuds and your friends and will bring the warm rays of the Thai sun into your kitchen.