Thursday, 12 March 2009

Miang!

Ok, in my (humble) opinion Miang are a hidden gem of Thai cuisine. They are basically mad little leaf-wrapped flavor explosions, i think they're great. You rarely see them on Thai restaurant menus and yet they are the perfect starter / palate tickler and can look really slick on the plate. I first read about them in David Thompson's amazing book 'Thai Food', which I cant recommend enough to anyone who's really interested in Thai cuisine...some of the recipes are complex and ingredients required are hard to source, even in London, but i think it's one of best recipe books ever written. p.s you can eat David Thompson's food at Nahm in London...if you can afford it (& perhaps even if you cant!) then you wont regret it! Below I'm gonna stick down a few snaps of some Miang i made for friends recently + the recipe for them, I'll follow that with few snaps of them i took in Thailand then give you couple of links for different varieties. Give them a whirl! Ok so a recipe for Miang Kam (tis a lot of ingredients i know): Filling:

  • A handful of grated coconut (*see note below) - toasted in dry frying pan until dry & golden

  • 2 small limes - diced v.finely, skin and all if you like a bitter twang, otherwise just the flesh.

  • 5 small shallots - diced small

  • A handful of roasted roughly crushed peanuts (buy skinned unsalted peanuts & toast in oven until just lightly colored)

  • 4 tablespoons of dried shrimp (available at all Asian stores & some supermarkets)

  • 4 birds eye chillies, chopped small (seeds in if you like it hot)

  • 4 tablespoons of finely diced fresh ginger

  • The leaves from one bunch of fresh coriander
* coconut - either shred fresh using a course zester, or my fav option: buy fresh fresh (non dried) from Asian store or supermarket...or use non sweetened dessicated. Sauce:

  • 1 large teaspoon of shrimp paste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped galangal (use ginger if you really cant get)

  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut (*see below)

  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot

  • 1 small cup of palm sugar (if you've got the hard stuff then dissolve in little water)

  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons tamarind water (tamarind pulp dissolved in warm water, solids removed)
Wrapping leaves: about 30 leaves - ideally betel leaves (see pics) which are hard to find but Thai & Vietnamese supermarkets do sometimes stock (i buy mine on Mare St in London - see link on RHS!). If you cant get betel then baby spinach leaves or little gem will work. Method: To make the sauce

  1. pestle and mortar (or blend in hand blender cup) the shallots and galangal together, add the rest of the sauce ingredients except the liquids and pound / whizz again.

  2. Add to small pan on medium heat with 1.5 cups of water and the sugar, bring to simmer and bubble well for 3 minutes or so, or until beginning to thicken nicely

  3. add the fish sauce and tamarind water, bring back to boil and transfer to small bowl
To serve: either mix all the filling ingredients with the sauce and divide the contents between the leaves, or arrange everything in piles on a platter with sauce in middle and let people make their own parcels...like this: To eat them you just wrap up ...pop the whole package in the mouth and enjoy the flavor sensation! N.B the decent pic's above were taken by my brother Daniel (AKA 'Gandhi') - who came round to take some snaps (& eat the vast majority of the food), he has his own photography website...see here. Some Miang i came across on Thailand this year... DIY Miang packs with everything ready, sold in stores in Bangkok with all you need - if only Tesco's did these! AMAZING flavor sensation this one - pomelo and sweet-spicy garlic shallot peanut and lime leaf paste, with betel leaves for wrapping below. One of the most memorable things i ate on my trip. Miang Lao i think - made in bitter tea leaves, accompanied by chillies and crispy rice crackers. Below - Miang with spicy sausage, sweet rice flour powder, limes and chillies. & finally here's a couple of links to other interesting Miang recipes online... http://gourmettraveller.com.au/hotsmoked_red_emperor_and_pink_pomelo_miang.htm http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2006/09/11/200502/gla-bon-round-salmon-with-deep-fried-shallots-sugar-and-watermelon-by-david-thompson.html

1 comment:

Michelle Peters said...

I am going to try these out when I get to India. My grandparents farm grows betel leaves :-)