Thai Desserts

As we wait patiently for updates as to the flooding risk in Bangkok…

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It has been a while since I’ve done an entry about food, so I thought I would share with you the plate full of Thai desserts that Tawn brought for me a few weeks ago when I was slaving away all afternoon on the computer.

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The full plate – from left: rae rai, khanom tuay, khanom khii nuu (in the cup), and gluay bing.   First off, the term “khanom” is an all-purpose word used for snacks or sweets.  

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Item 1:This is khanom khii nuu.  I’m not sure you want me to translate the name as the literal meaning is pretty unappetizing.  This dessert is almost like a sweet cous cous made of rice flour instead of wheat flour.  The rice flour is mixed with jasmine water to make a paste, then it is pressed through a screen to make small granules.  These are then wrapped in a cloth and weighted to press out any extra liquid, then steamed until cooked. 

A simple syrup is made with more jasmine water, sugar, and (if desired) food coloring, which is then mixed into the cooked flour granules.  Finally, the whole thing is placed in a container along with a jasmine candle, which is allowed to burn to impart additional aroma.  It is served with a little bit of shredded mature coconut.  The flavor and texture are delicate, almost a bit too delicate.

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Item 2: Rae rai are basically rice flour noodles.  They are made by mixing two types of rice flour (regular and glutinous) with coconut cream and jasmine water until it forms a dough.  The dough is stirred over medium heat for about ten minutes until the flour is cooked.  Food coloring is added and the dough is separated into small balls (about the size of ping pong balls) and then extruded through a device that looks a bit like a garlic press.  The resulting noodles are steamed and then served with a combination of sugar and sesame seeds and a little bit of salted coconut cream.  Also a delicate flavor but a bit more substantial than khanom khii nuu.

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Item 3: Gluay bing, grilled bananas.  A semi-ripe starchy type of banana is grilled at a low temperature and then flattened.  It is then soaked in a mixture of coconut milk and palm sugar.  I’m not a big banana fan, so this wasn’t a particular favorite of mine.

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Item 4: Khanom tuay, literally a “cup snack”.  The dough is made of rice flour, flavored and colored with pandanus leaf.  These are steamed in small cup molds and, after being removed, are served with a palm sugar caramel with sesame seeds.

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Inside view of the khanom tuay, which has a consistent texture throughout, something similar to mochi, the pounded sticky rice that is common in Japanese cuisine.  This was my favorite, especially because of the texture.  I like the chewy texture of mochi, caramel, taffy, etc.

So there you have it – Thai desserts to tide you over while we wait for news about the flooding.  “The water is coming tonight,” said one of our guards as he inspected the wall of sandbags in front of our condo.  Let’s hope when I wake up tomorrow, everything is still dry.

0 thoughts on “Thai Desserts

  1. So if you want to know what the name of the first dessert, khanom khii nuu, means in English, it translates as “mouse shit snack” because of the appearance of the grains. There is also a very spicy small chili known as the “mouse shit chili” because it has a similar small size.

  2. BBC has a great map detailing the flood situation complete with Shinawatra’s unfortunate dire warnings.I don’t eat sh*t, ever. One wonders if Thai desserts fare better than chinese desserts, which speaking of sh*t … well, you get my point. The chinese do many billions of things very well, desserts – sadly – are not on that list.We’re setting out to make croissants here at the moment.

  3. So delicous looking! I don’t care how shitty they named these dishes, anything with coconut in it, I’ll love! Flood in the Big Mango? Well, at least you guys are in the upper floor, not so much to worry. How about Tawn’s parents’ house? Some Thai houses are built with stilts, sitting one level above just for this purpose.

  4. Sweets from your sweet… Tawn is so nice. Did he slave away in the kitchen while you were slaving away in the office?? I’m thinking that they all looked so pretty almost too pretty to eat. I like mochi. What flavor is pandanus? As for the flooding, it was even mentioned on the local radio station yesterday so I know it must be bad. Hope you two are able to stay dry and have enough drinking water and food stuffs to last awhile. Please keep us informed.

  5. I must admit that I have been enjoying Far too many Thai desserts and sweets in the past 10 days while we’ve been in Thailand. I find them to be not too sweet, especially the jelly varieties. We are in Bangkok at the moment but leave for Australia tomorrow afternoon (Sun)….. they have sandbagged the lower entrance to the hotel (Intercontinental) but no-one has been able to give any info as to when the flood will occur.

  6. Fascinating! I’ve always wondered what kind of desserts are unique to Thailand. Here, we’re only accustomed to seeing the savory “main” dishes, and I’m still not even sure how authentic those are compared to what you actually have there.

  7. yum, those sound delicious! it seems like a lot of asian desserts tend to be more on the delicate side and not overwhelmingly sweet like they are in the u.s., and these thai desserts seem to follow in that same vein. i should probably try to make more asian desserts!hope you all fare ok in the flood!

  8. Our local Thai Restaurant severs some of these desserts. I have not tried all of them. I did have the bananas – delicious. Most of the time I am too full from the entree to eat dessert – Meow.

  9. @beowulf222 –  It is entirely possible that that dessert traces its origins to Malaysia. Many Thai foods (if not most of them!) have their roots in other cultures and countries.@Fatcat723 – @kunhuo42 – I’ve always wondered if the reason that Thai desserts aren’t overly sweet (for the most part) is because Thai dishes are usually built with a balance of flavors: salty, spicy, sour, and sweet. This way, your palate is already satisfied by meal’s end and the need for something sweet isn’t there. Just a theory.@mizz_chan – @The_Eyes_Of_A_Painter – Being on the fourth flood of a condo, we’re not worried about water in our building, but the car park is all subterranean so that could be a problem. Worse, still, would be an extended period without water. While the weather is cooler than in, say, April, it is still hitting about 85 F with 60% humidity. Air con would be nice…@arenadi – I would think that the Thai food in HI is probably more authentic than the Thai food on the mainland.@awoolham – Thank you – dryness, please!@fauquet – Isn’t that the truth? Trying times call for desserts! =D@venice – They can’t give you information because they government keeps saying “the next 2-3 days will be critical” and have said that for the last week. Sigh… Anyhow, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here and have a safe return.@murisopsis – Thanks for your concern. Tawn received news last night that his uncle up in the countryside passed away so he has to find a way to get out of the city, across the flooded areas, and to the funeral. As for the pandan leaf question, it is tough to describe but an approximation is that of herbal vanilla. It is very pleasant and lends itself well both to savory and sweet applications.

  10. As usual, delicious looking food porn :)Wit and I hope that you and all are friends in Thailand are weathering the storms okay and that the flooding is affecting you minimally. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay dry.

  11. @stepaside_loser – I’m glad that you are following various interests. I recall that you expressed a lot of frustration that you were not going anywhere and hopefully these explorations will lead you to something you find more rewarding.

  12. @brooklyn2028 – Yeah, coconut and palm sugar rarely disappoint, right? I’m glad we’re starting to see more of you on Xanga, Sheldon.@marc11864 – Thanks for your concern, Marc. Several of our friends who live on the north side of Bangkok have a half-meter or more of water and have had to evacuate their houses. Our area is still dry and there has been this strange tension the last four or five days as I think everyone is expecting that the waters will come but the gov’t is unable to tell us what is actually happening. I’ll share some pictures today.@grannykaren – Thank you! =D

  13. At least the dessert is not called boogers! haha! Yup, there is a Filipino snack/candy type food called boogers in Tagalog.You don’t like bananas??!! That’s bananas.

  14. There’s a lot of similarities to the Vietnamese desserts. (Hey… Bengozen said the same thing!). We also go to this Malaysian restaurant where they have a dessert made from pandan leaves. J just loves it.

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