A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.



How To Make: Khao som & yam thua

Posted date:  February 10, 2009
10 Comments


Khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato and served with a French bean 'salad', Mae Hong Son

I’m in very good culinary company here in Mae Hong Son. As soon the owner of the house I’m renting learned that I have an interest in the local food, she started bringing me local sweets and snacks on a daily basis. This morning she went out of her way to bring me a local dish of sticky rice steamed with coconut milk and turmeric and served with local-style meatballs (more on this later), something that I had mentioned the previous day. My next-door neighbour, Phii Laa, is equally generous, and possibly even more enthusiastic. Once she learned that I was interested in the local eats she’s been in my kitchen every morning since, sharing a new recipe.

The first recipe Phii Laa shared is one I only came across recently. Khao som literally means  ‘sour rice’, and is local a dish of balls of rice made sour by the addition of tomato and tamarind. The dish is traditionally served with yam thua, ‘bean salad’, the recipe for which can also be adapted to make any sort of local salad where the main ingredient, which here can range from tender fern shoots (a popular local ingredient) to sour leaves, is first par-boiled. In my next blog I’ll demonstrate how to make a saa, another type of local salad centred around fresh (as opposed to par-boiled) greens or veggies.

The ingredients required for khao som and yam thua are pretty basic and I imagine all are generally available even in the west, except for nam phrik phong:

Nam phrik phong, a combination of dried soybeans, chilies and salt, a popular condiment in the local cuisine of Mae Hong Son

a mixture of thua nao (disks of dried soybean), dried chili, salt and MSG, all ground to a fine powder. If you’re determined, I’d suggest just substituting a pinch of finely ground dried chili flakes and some salt, although the dish will be missing a truly local flavour in thua nao.

And if you haven’t done it before, making crispy deep-fried garlic and garlic oil is a snap:

Crispy deep-fried garlic and chilies, Mae Hong Son

Simply get your hands the smallest cloves of garlic you can find, chop them up coarsely (skin and all), and simmer in a generous amount of oil over medium heat until the garlic is just beginning to become crispy. When this happens remove mixture to a heatproof container and allow to cool.

And as always, ingredient measurements below are estimated; Phii Laa, like most Thai cooks, doesn’t use measuring utensils, instead cooking by taste and feel.

Khao som & yam thua (Sour Shan-style rice and bean salad)

Uncooked rice, 2 cups
Strained tamarind pulp, 1 cup
Chopped tomatoes, 2 cups
Salt, 1 tsp
Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
Sugar, 1 Tbsp

French beans
Shrimp paste, 1 Tbsp
Nam phrik phong, 2 Tbsps
Ground roasted white sesame seeds, 4 Tbsp
Shallots, sliced, 4
Garlic oil & crispy deep-fried garlic
Deep-fried dried chilies

Cook rice with at least three cups of water (the rice is supposed to have a soft consistency). When cooked, allow to cool slightly.

Combine tamarind pulp, tomatoes, salt, turmeric and sugar in a wok over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick paste:

Making the sauce for khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato, Mae Hong Son

about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare beans by removing the strings and chopping:

Chopping beans for khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato, Mae Hong Son

Par-boil beans until just cooked, about a minute, and shock in cold water. Set aside.

In a wok over medium heat, dissolve shrimp paste in ¼ cup of water. When shrimp paste is fully incorporated, add nam phrik phong and sesame. Combine thoroughly and turn off heat. Allow to cool slightly, add sliced shallots and beans and mix thoroughly. Remove to a serving dish and top with crispy fried garlic and garlic oil.

When rice is cool enough to handle, combine ¾ of the tamarind mixture with cooked rice.

Phii Laa making khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato, Mae Hong Son

Taste and season with remaining tamarind mixture and/or salt if necessary.

Coating hands in a bit of the garlic oil, shape rice mixture into golf ball-sized balls:

Making khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato, Mae Hong Son

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with plenty of crispy garlic, oil and deep-fried chilies.

Phii Laa making khao som, a local dish of rice flavoured with tamarind and tomato, Mae Hong Son

Serve dish, as illustrated at the top of this post, on individual plates with a generous serving of the bean salad.


10 Comments for How To Make: Khao som & yam thua


Is the 2c rice cooked or uncooked?

Yes, it says so in the recipe

If you could point me to where it says that, I’d appreciate it. All I see is Rice, 2 cups, and instructions on how much water to use. I don’t see any indication as to whether the 2c measurement is pre-cooking or post.

Thanks.

Can we trade neighbors? The dish looks yummy.

Looks like a variant of my favourite Shan dish “htamin jin” – also meaning “sour rice” (in Burmese) – which is presented in the same way ie fat balls 🙂

“Htamin jin” at Inle Lake, Shan State, Burma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IMG_Inle-dish.JPG

Mike: Uncooked.
Michelle: Agree.
von: No way, man. Am enjoying this neighbour immensely.
meemalee & Wagaung: Very cool, thanks for the tip and link. The Burmese/Shan version looks very similar indeed, although I must stay the description on the Wikipedia page is vastly different.

Nah, it’s basically the same – rice, tomato, tamarind and “be bohk” (the Burmese name for thua nao).

We’re just greedy and add fish and/or potato as well, heh.

Check This Out…

[…]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…

Check This Out…

[…]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…



Wanna say something?









 

*