Thai cuisine may be best known for its aromatic savoury dishes, yet, there are a plethora of desserts that are equally unique and varied
In Thailand, some desserts are eaten throughout the day, in fact starting at breakfast. Kha-nom khrog, a coconut milk pudding, and khao-dtom mud, steamed banana-filled sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, are typically eaten in the morning. Khao Neow Ma Muang or sticky rice with mango is one dessert everyone is most familiar with and is eaten all day through. Most of the desserts here are high on flavours and texture.
Interestingly, most desserts in Thailand make use of coconut in some form or the other, apart from fresh fruits like rambutan, durian, bananas, as well as flour, beans, eggs, palm sugar or molasses and rice. Flowers like jasmine, ylang-ylang and rose provide beautiful fragrances and are used directly in desserts or added to the syrups used to flavour them.
Chef Rungtiwa Sorlae, Thai Chef, JW Café, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar agrees, claiming, “Thai desserts largely use coconuts – be it coconut milk, its cream or in grated form.” “We also make use of rice flour and Pandan leaves,” Sorlae adds.
Teeb Tim Krrob or boiled water chestnut cooked in tapioca and Sago nam krati sai karum or boiled tapioca seed flour with jackfruit, are desserts which make use of coconut milk. Sticky rice in bamboo, another popular sweet delicacy incorporates coconut in the cream form. This melt-in-the-mouth dessert combines, sticky rice, red beans along with coconut cream.
Coconut ice cream, uses coconut as the base along with milk and cream and is topped with nuts, syrups and
Eggs as an ingredient for desserts like Foy thong, is something the Portuguese taught the Thai natives in the 17th century. Look choop or the miniature mung bean paste fruit-shaped colourful sweets, too have been adapted from
Simple methods of cooking such as steaming and baking are generally used to make the light but delicious desserts. Traditionally, they were boiled or baked till the Chinese introduced steaming to the locals in Thailand. Several Thai desserts are served wrapped in banana leaf or Bai tong, pandan leaf or Bai teoy, Nipa Palm or Bai jaak, as these impart a special aroma and flavour to the desserts.
Chef Rungtiwa adds, “Khanom jark (cream of coconut, rice flour, sugar and salt grilled in a palm leaf), Tong yord (sweet made from egg yolk), Woon ma plow (hardened coconut jelly), Bua loy nam king (sweet made by stuffing rice dumplings with black sesame seed paste, served in sweet ginger soup), are some unique desserts easily available in Thailand.”
Make sure you are hungry enough after a local meal to relish some of the creamy, but light desserts too.
Words: Mini Ribeiro