Khanohm jeen yee poon is an appetizer consisting of a small roll of fermented rice noodles laid on a green lettuce leaf and topped with a slice of cucumber and cooked shrimp and pork belly, dressed with sour-sweet and salty fried chili jam, sprinkled with roasted peanuts and decorated with coriander leaf and a thin julienne of fresh red chili pepper. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is applied just before eating the dish.
For the khanohm jeen saao naam version that we present today, we turn again to the writing of Thanpuying (Lady) Gleep Mahithaawn for her unique take on the dish. Her version is quite similar to the common recipe encountered nowadays, but Lady Gleep enhances it with more ingredients, elevating the dish yet another notch to the level of a majestic masterpiece.
Khanohm jeen (ขนมจีน) are noodles made from rice starch. Their strands are long, round, thin and elastic, with a beautiful white sheen and a pleasant chewy texture.
It is unclear exactly when khanohm jeen production arrived in Thailand; however, it is likely that production was already active during the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767), in communities along the Khanohm Jeen canal, a main water artery in Ayutthaya’s Senna district (คลองขนมจีน อ.เสนา จ.พระนครศรีอยุธยา).
This dish (Khao Soi Recipe) takes us back in time to the mid-19th century. The trade caravans were trailing the jungles of northern Thailand along the ancient routes between India and China. Those long caravans were carrying wealth of exotic goods, leaving rich aroma of spices and the sweet scent of opium as they passed.
The men on this long line of between fifty and one hundred mules would be Yunnanese Muslim Chinese, who dominated the trade routes and began to settle in Chiang Mai and the main towns of north Thailand at that time.
The sweet leading sour coconut cream based sauce, enriched and thickened with fragrant freshly roasted peanuts and golden beans are a wonderful coat to dress the sweet shrimp meat. The aromatics are being extracted in every possible way, by roasting, and frying, boiling and reducing, pounding and grounding. All the culinary methods are being fully employed to guarantee an absolute real first class dish.
If you want to start some real Thai cooking going at your home, have the time and access to all the ingredients, than I really want you to try this dish. The building blocks of flavors work so well here and it will open you a great window to see the beginning of what is possible in Thai cuisine.
Cured pork is made by fermenting a mixture pork meat, cooked pork skin julienne, salt, garlic and cooked sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. During the summer we leave the wraps unrefrigerated until a rich savory and slightly sour flavor develops. This method of preserving meat goes back to the days before refrigeration was widely used. In this Northern style recipe I use homemade cured pork, though any commercial product from your local Asian store will do just fine.
Pad Thai is being sold all over the kingdom of Thailand and abroad. Variations to this dish are probably as many as the restaurants and food stalls that sell it. Here is a luxurious, well balanced and tasty version of this all time favorite, the famous Pad Thai Noodles.
The tastes here are sweet, sour, salty and spicy in that order, with an edge of freshly squeezed lime just before eating.