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.
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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.
How Many Calories per Serving?
This recipe is only 427 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with This Recipe?
For a wholesome meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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Leaf-Wrapped Salad Bites (Miang Kham)
- 1 tablespoon meaty dried shrimp
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- ½ cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes (plus 2 tablespoons )
- 1 shallot (about 1 oz. (28 g), peeled and sliced thinly against the grain)
- 2 galangal, coarsely chopped (1/4-inch slices )
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peeled ginger
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- ½ cup packed grated palm sugar (plus 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar or substitute 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted peanuts
- 1 lime
- 1 3- inch piece fresh ginger (peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice)
- 2 shallots (about 1 oz. (28 g) each, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice)
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 5-6 fresh bird’s-eye chilies (sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick)
- 1/3 cup meaty dried shrimp
- 20 to 30 cha-plu leaves (or 3-inch squares collard green or Chinese broccoli leaves)
- To make the sauce, soak the dried shrimp in hot water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, trim off and discard the leafy parts of the lemongrass stalk, remove the tough outer leaves of the bulb portion until the smooth, pale green core is exposed, and trim off the root end.
- Working from the root end, cut the bulb crosswise into paper-thin slices, stopping once you reach the point at which the purple rings disappear. Set the slices aside and discard the remainder.
- Put the dried coconut flakes in a wok or 14-inch skillet and toast them on medium heat, stirring constantly, until medium brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the toasted coconut flakes for the sauce and set the remainder aside for the salad. Wipe out any toasted coconut sediment from the wok.
- Add the lemongrass slices, shallot, galangal, and ginger to the clean wok, then toast over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the shallot slices are dry to the touch, about 5 minutes. Place the toasted mixture, drained dried shrimp, and shrimp paste in a mortar or a mini chopper and grind to a smooth paste.
- Put the prepared paste, sugars, fish sauce, and water in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, after 2 to 3 minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. Let the sauce cool completely. Once the dressing is cooled, stir in the chopped peanuts and the reserved 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes and transfer to a small serving bowl.
- To prepare the salad, quarter the lime lengthwise and trim away the core. Cut the quarters into 1⁄4-inch dice, leaving the rind intact. Alternatively, for those who are sensitive to the bitterness of the lime rind, cut the lime into wedges (as shown in the photograph) and invite diners to squeeze about 1⁄2 teaspoon lime juice onto each composed salad bite.
- Arrange the lime, ginger, shallots, peanuts, chiles, dried shrimp, cha-phlu leaves, and the dressing on a large serving platter.
- To eat, put a leaf on your palm, add a bit of each component to the center of the leaf, top with a small spoonful of dressing, gather up the corners of the leaf to form a bag, and eat the whole thing in one bite.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Good morning Bee, Thank you and grateful for your sharing the receipt with us… I have been searching Miang Kham in Singapore since my family returned from Thailand years ago… we will try to make Miang Kham… ?
Thanks for your support.
The leaves are LALOP or Cha-plu as Thai. The ingredients represent all produce that grows fresh in South Eastern Asia. I love this Idea and Thank you, Bee to spread the love!
The leaf is called ‘daun kadok’ in malay.it looks like suruh but it’s not exactly a sirih.
The photos remind of Rojak!
What kind of shrimp paste do you or do they use? What country of origin should I look for?
I love this dish. In Penang, we used to be able to get it from the Yellow Light restaurant at Fettes Park or Hillside? It has since relocated or closed. Recently when I was in Penang, I think they serve this at Spice Garden or Monkey Tree. Thanks, Bee, for all your recipes. My husband and I are great fans of yours, we got your book and also subscribe to your blog. I think almost all Malaysian Americans that we know reference your site. Thanks again.
Hi Har Lui, yes, I know Yellow Light and their miang kham. Too bad they closed many years ago. Yes Tree Monkey has it and it’s such a lovely place to have a good Thai meal. Thanks for your support and I appreciate your readership. :)
Are these leaves the same leaves that the Indian and Malay munch with betel fruits (sirih Pinang)?
No its not, its Daun Kaduk@Kadok, scientific name is Piper sarmentosum.
I want to know where to find the cha-plu leaves. Or is there a name other than cha-plu that we may know them by, here in the US? I don’t recognize the leaves. I may be able to grow these myself. I will be waiting for your prompt response. Thank you so much.
Cheers, Deb D.
The leaves are called wild betel leaves.
Its not betel leaves, its “Daun Kadok”..check it out, i know coz it looks like Betel leaves.
They do sell them in Pasar Tani, in Shah Alam.