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