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Snack attack: miang kham

Susan Jung

 

Pack a punch The northern Thai dish known as miang kham (with many variations on the spelling) is everything a snack should be: delicious, compact, not too filling, easy to eat out of hand and palate-whetting. The only problem is - in Hong Kong, at least - it's not the easiest snack to find, even in Thai restaurants, so chances are you'll have to make it yourself.

Miang kham has all the flavours you'd expect from a Thai dish: hot, sour, salty and sweet. It's not hard to make, although you'll probably have to go to a good Thai grocer to source the ingredients, including the wild pepper leaves, which you might need to order in advance.

The ingredients can vary slightly but the version I've tried most has toasted coconut, dried shrimp (the kind used are somewhat pliable and chewy, rather than being completely desiccated), roasted peanuts, sliced shallots, cubes of peeled young ginger, sliced Thai chillies and cubed skin-on Thai limes (don't use Persian limes because the skin is too bitter). Add a stack of fresh wild pepper leaves (you can also use spinach leaves) and a bowl of the sweet, thick sauce that accompanies the dish. If the Thai shop doesn't carry the sauce, make it yourself by simmering palm sugar with water, fish sauce, a small amount of shrimp paste and some toasted coconut until thick but spoonable.

To prepare, shape the wild pepper leaf into a cup, add a small amount of each ingredient, top it with sauce, then pop the parcel into your mouth.

 

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