A new leaf – my miang goongNovember 25, 2009
As I passed the excellent Fiji Market in King St, Newtown today (on the way home from the gym, that was – insert praise here), I remembered that’s where I’d seen the betel leaves used to make miang kham, those little roll-up-and-stick-in-your-gob piles of Thai spicy goodness. So I popped in and snagged myself a pack of these fresh green heart-shaped lovelies (about 10 or 12 leaves for $2.50).
I have many times enjoyed the delectable Miang Goong at Thai Pothong described here but never attempted it myself till this evening. And I have to say, this is one of the zingiest new things I’ve tried in a long time. Tested these little babies not only on Senor but his two Wednesday piano students, adventurous primary-school gourmands Lulu and Riley and their caterer dad, and it got the thumbs up from all.
A quick Google search came up with a few recipes for Miang Khang (that’s without the goong – the prawns) and I chose this one to adapt.
The fiddly bit is the sauce – but I doubled the quantity of this one and had masses left over, now safely in the freezer for easy peasy quick Miang assembly for the next time or two.
My adaptation is here, but there must be lots of proper recipes about the place – I urge you to make this, because even though the sauce is fiddly, it’s much easier than you might think and very very good.
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 60g fresh galangal, julienned or just grated (I started julienning but it’s a bugger to do, so ended up with a bit of both)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut – I used the nice stuff with bigger bits, easier to toast
- 100g dried shrimp
- 100g French shallots, peeled
- 1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 150g brown & white sugar mixed, more if needed – be careful here, cos the original recipe had heaps of sugar, some palm (which I didn’t have handy so didn’t use), and I used only about half of it. Think this is about what I used but probably best to add in stages so as not to get too sweet.
Method – sauce
- In a low oven, dry-roast coconut (with the extra coconut for below) till golden brown & galangal shreds till fragrant – keep checking, but around 10 minutes each.
- Put shrimp paste into the centre of a square of aluminium foil, fold to make a packet and then turn up the heat and roast the packet in the oven or stick it under a grill until the paste is fragrant – times may vary; mine took about 15-20 minutes.
- While this is happening throw shallots and roasted galangal into the food processor and whiz until fine.
- Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and whiz again till smooth – I added a little water to help it turn into a paste.
- Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Add sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 1 cup or a bit less.
- Taste, and adjust by adding a little salt, then cool.
The easy bits & pieces – ingredients
- 10 or 12 betel leaves – I know these are hard to find. Perhaps small soft lettuce leaves would do at a pinch?
- 100g green shelled prawns
- 1/2 cup grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
- 1/2 a lime, unpeeled, cut into tiny bits
- 1 small red chilli, ditto
- 1 or 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped finely
- 1 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
- Quickly fry or steam prawns – only a minute, and they’ll be done.
- Take your leaf as a base, and then make a little pile of all in whatever order you think works, with the proportions of chilli etc as you like, but leave the sauce & coconut till last.
- Add a good dollop of sauce, then the coconut.
- Serve the leaf & pile flat on a plate, then roll up however you can manage – you’ll need two hands – and pop in the mouth.
- Stand by for flavour bomb, and enjoy.