Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ขนมชั้นka-nom chan

The other day, I was having a conversation with one of the teachers in the lift. As usual, she had bought some Thai desserts from the market to share with her fellow teachers. She asked what my favourites were and I had to admit that I had only eaten a few. What sprang to mind, were the delicious desserts khanom mor gaeng and also the equally delicious khao nieow dtut. Now, most people at the school know I am writing Thai Food blogs, so she immediately volunteered to educate me in Thai desserts! And so today, she came up to me with a bag full of Thai desserts for me to photograph and taste! She explained which ones I had to eat straight away and which ones I could save for a later day by putting in the refrigerator. I can tell you, I was really stuffed today. But, it was a really good introduction.

Today I am going to introduce you to khanom chun, or layered dessert. It is named like this because it has nine layers. As you may know, this is an auspicious number. So, it is often used for important ceremonies such as job promotion (representing going up levels) and at weddings. In the above example, each layer is a shade of green. I have seen ones before where it was green/white stripes. If you have read my previous blog about khanom thuay you might be able to guess where the green comes from. Yes, it is from the pandanus leaf. You make the liquid by putting it in a blender and then straining it though muslin.

To make this dessert, mix the coconut milk and sugar. Bring to boil and then set aside. Mix the topioca flour with the plain flour and add coconut milk. Knead the mixture. Add the coconut milk and sugar which you had set aside. Now separate them into two containers. in one add the green water from the pandanus leaves. Leave the other white. (In the case above, some pandanus water was added to the coconut milk before boiling. Then later, more was added to the second container to make a darker shade of green.) Grease the mould with some coconut milk and then heat it in a steamer. First, add some of the white mixture and steam for 5–10 minutes. Then repeat this with the green mixture, white mixture etc. Finish with a green layer. Leave in the mould for 3–4 hours before removing it. Sounds quite labour intensive, especially as they only sell for 10 baht! The result is quite tasty. I would eat it again for sure.

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