I have known Leela at She Simmers for a few years now. Even though we have never met in person, we connected through our blogs and our email exchanges. I admire Leela’s beautifully written blog She Simmers; more importantly, I love her many authentic Thai recipes. In fact, I perfected my Thai Tom Yum recipe through her blog post and the secrets she shared. She Simmers is one of my to go blogs when it comes to authentic Thai cooking.
I am so psyched when I learned about her new cookbook Simple Thai Food. I got in touch with Leela and her publisher’s PR because I wanted to share a few of her amazing recipes in her gorgeously photographed and well-written cookbook. The first recipe I wanted to showcase is Miang Kham, or betel leaf-wrapped salad bites, one of my favorite Thai recipes.
My great grandmother was from Thailand…as a result, my grandmother spoke Thai and Thai influences were evident in her cooking and some of our family recipes. Through my grandmother and my aunt—whom I spent most of my childhood and teenage years with—I was introduced to Miang Kham, an iconic Thai concoction that I consider a flavor explosion in a bite! Who would have thought that random raw ingredients of cut ginger, bird’s eye chilies, toasted coconut, roasted peanuts, shallots, dried shrimp wrapped in betel leaves with a sticky, sweet and savory sauce would be such a delicacy? Well, that’s basically the premise of Thai food, the perfect balance of flavors with the most unassuming—and humble—ingredients.
When I was growing up, my aunt would travel to the border town of Hatyai not that far away from Penang, and she would always bring back Miang Kham, all wrapped up in plastic bags. Our family would be so happy savoring all the foods she brought back for us from Hatyai, and Miang Kham was always one of them. We would quickly wrap up the salad bites, and reveled in the wonderful great taste of the dainty package.
Anyway, here is Leela’s recipe of Miang Kham. Simple Thai Food is a wonderful compilation of some of the most popular and delicious Thai recipes, all made with easy-to-get and store-bought ingredients. If you want to learn how to make Thai food, and to learn the fundamentals of Thai cuisine, for example: making the curry pastes from scratch, pick up a copy of Simple Thai Cooking when it releases in May. You can also pre-order the cookbook now at Amazon. I can assure you that you will love Leela’s book, I know I do.