Miang Kham

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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. is a recommended supplier in Saveur Magazine.

Ingredients: Filling

3/4 cup grated coconut (this is often available in the baking section of most supermarkets)
2 small limes, unpeeled (try to get limes with thin skin), cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons shallots, peeled and cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons roasted peanuts
6 tablespoons small dried shrimps
4-5 fresh Thai chile peppers, cut into small slivers
4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes

Ingredients: Sauce

1 tablespoon shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
2 oz fresh galangal, cut into slivers and roasted until fragrant (see note below)
1/4 cup grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
4 oz small dried shrimps
2 oz shallots, peeled and coarsely cut
1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
8 oz palm sugar (broken into small chunks)
2 tablespoons cane sugar
salt for seasoning

Method: Sauce

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)
The choice of what leaves to use is up to you. Some use lettuce or spinach leaves due to ready availability, but to get an authentic flavor you should use the fresh cha-phloo leaves offered by These leaves are also known in English as Betel Leaves, or Piper Sermentosum. In Vietnamese language, these leaves are labeled as La Lop.


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!

Click here to see a Bangkok sidewalk vendor making miang kham.

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December 13th, 2008
9:17 PM
This is my favorite! YUMMY!
February 25th, 2009
10:08 AM
i like it. it look good
June 3rd, 2009
10:47 PM
When we ordered this dish in Bangkok we had know idea what it was.It was so delecious ,we make it all the time at home and serve it as an entree to our friends when we are having a thai dinner party.
August 4th, 2010
1:28 PM
I first ate this at the great Baan Khanitha restaurant behind Asoke, in Bangkok. It was a free welcome dish, and I was astonished by how simple, yet tasty it was. I have made it for friends since, and everyone loves it.
September 28th, 2011
5:13 AM
Lovely...authenthic Thai salad. Like it very...very much. Even I've already addicted to this Meng Kham...huhuhuhu
October 25th, 2011
10:21 PM
this is a fantastic recipe - sheer sampling of a slice of heaven
May 16th, 2012
6:55 PM
Love this dish & so healthy for everyone.
May 16th, 2012
7:46 PM
Aren't betel leaves like a drug and can cause addiction?
May 16th, 2012
7:53 PM
Dear Carolynn, there is an old tradition in SE Asia of using betel leaves together with betel nut and other ingredients to create a stimulant. We have described that in detail here in our feature story about betel nut chew. The betel leaves in miang kham are in no way like a drug, but the recipe is a heavenly flavor.
May 29th, 2012
9:48 PM
I also use coriander leaves and pickled garlic in the filling. It give 9 fillings and 9 being an auspicious number in Thailand it works for me.
January 11th, 2013
3:00 PM
I love adding fresh pink grapefruit chunks for an additional filling option, gives you that POW in your mouth sensation! Yummy
Linda E.
January 15th, 2013
7:09 PM
Grapefruit sounds very interesting. Hard to find Miang Kham in Indiana, but Thai Taste in Indianapolis has it on their menu - my absolute favorite. (Well worth the two hour drive.)
April 9th, 2014
1:34 PM
For a Mardi Gras party, I served Miang Kham in food colored buns to resemble a Mardi Gras king cake. I had this on a trip to Thailand and could hardly wait to serve it to our supper club group. I added broken pig skins as an extra ingredient just in case some could not eat shrimp. I could not get betal leaves so I used large spinach leaves which tasted great also. Now that I know I can order betel leaves from, I will be set to serve this again. This appetizer was a great hit.
jorge rodriguez
May 26th, 2014
4:12 PM
I was in Bangkok last week and was served the delicious Betel leaf as an appetizer. I was so impressed that I took a picture and cant wait to make it at home and impress my wife and guests. This is where I had this plate plus 6 other authentic Thai dishes: Baan Khanitha Thai Restaurant at 69 south sathorn rd . I was fortunate to remember to get one of their match boxes to remember their name/address. I strongly recommend this restaurant by far the best one I visited in my entire week at Bangkok.
February 8th, 2015
5:50 PM
How many servings does this recipe make?

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