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Miang Kham apparently started out as a peasant food, just bits of various ingredients wrapped in the distinctive betel leaf, then topped with a sweet and salty sauce. Today you can see independent people throughout Thailand offering these ingredients in a little kit that you take home.
Miang Kham requires a great deal of preparation time, but it's well worth it--especially if you've eaten a tasty miang kham before and have a craving. There's nothing like it. The blend of coconut, ginger, fresh bitter leaves, peanut, lime and chile is a fantastic flavor and one that goes very well with the American palate. While the easiest way to enjoy miang kham is to have it at your local Thai restaurant, it takes so much effort to make that many restaurants are not likely to offer it. ImportFood.com is a recommended supplier in Saveur Magazine.
3/4 cup grated coconut (this is often available in the baking section of most supermarkets)
1 tablespoon shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
In a mortar and pestle, pound together the shallots and galangal until fine (note about galangal: it's ok to use dried galangal as long as it's placed in a dish of lukewarm water for a few minutes to reconstitute). Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and continue pounding until smooth. Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add palm sugar and table sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 1 cup or a bit less. Taste, and adjust by adding a bit of salt. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
Wrapping Leaves (click here to see a photo)
Roast the coconut in a low-heat oven until lightly brown. Spoon the roasted coconut into a serving plate. In separate small bowls, arrange each filling ingredient listed above. With a fresh wrapping leaf in hand, fold it once across the bottom then sideways to form a pocket. Place about 1 teaspoon roasted coconut in the leaf together with a small amount of each filling to create a bite-sized quantity. Spoon the sauce on top, pop in your mouth and enjoy!
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Miang Kham Peel and cut ginger into little cubes Toast coconut flakes in oven Ingredients ready Roasting sliced galangal Roast shrimp paste Pound shallots and galangal Add ginger, coconut, dried shrimp, shrimp paste Pound into paste Move to a pot with water Serving Miang Kham Fold betel leaf Fold again, to make a pocket Coconut into the pocket Add other bits, pour sauce on top