Whenever I am asked what I miss about
, my answer jumps out without a moment’s hesitation: my friends. No matter how wonderful the people I meet along my travels, there is a big part of my heart which is reserved for the friends with whom I have over a decade of shared history. We have seen one another at our best (celebrating graduating, weddings, new jobs) and our worst (monster hangovers, heartbreaks, wardrobe malfunctions). I spent the last night of my recent trip to London with one such gang. And what better way to show them how much I love them than with a Thai-inspired feast? London
Miang Kham is a Thai snack which is usually served on a betel leaf. The components (which include some but not all of those I have used here and usually dried shrimp) are assembled onto the leaf, wrapped up eaten in one go. The first time I tasted one, my heart skipped a beat. The flavours are so intense, exciting and unexpected. The more you chew, the more the different layers of flavour make themselves known – sweetness, sourness, salt, and spice. This is one of my favourite ever canapés and was a huge hit with the girls. Nothing says I love you like a Thai-inspired flavour bomb!
|The lovely Nat, Anna and Ailsa, about to tuck in|
12-16 baby gem lettuce leaves
1 stick lemongrass
2 small shallots or ¼ red onion
Small handful coriander leaves
Small handful mint leaves
1 inch knob ginger
2 small red chillies
3 tbsp grated or (unsweetened) dessicated coconut
3 tbsp peanuts
6 rashers bacon
For the sauce:
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
Juice 1 lime
Time: 30 mins
Rating: So easy
Serves: Makes 12-16 canapés
- Firstly prepare the sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients
- Then prepare the coconut. In a pan, dry roast the coconut until it is light brown. It can burn easily so stir constantly and don’t take your eyes off it. It will keep cooking once you take it off the heat, so take it off when it’s a little lighter than you want.
- Then dry roast the peanuts in the same way till a little darkened all over. Allow to cool and then finely grind in a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
- Dice the ginger and shallots into small chunks (but not minced).
- Finely slice the lime and then chop into small chunks – including the skin (really!). This needs to be chopped as finely as possible because big chunks of lime rind will taste bitter.
- Roughly chop the mint and coriander.
- Very thinly slice the lemongrass.
- Finely chop the chillies. Keep the seeds in if you want it spicy, remove them if not.
- Cut the bacon into thin slices width-ways (about half a centimetre). In a pan, cook the bacon over a high heat until crispy.
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and combine. Pour the sauce over and mix again.
- Spoon a little of the mixture into each of the lettuce leaves – don’t overload them, they should be small enough so they can be easily picked up as a canapé.