The first reference to sohm choon as a dessert appears in in the early 1800s, in the culinary poetry of King Rama II gaap heh chohm khreuuang khaao waan (กาพย์เห่ชมเครื่องคาว – หวาน). The poetry was sung during the royal barge’s procession, and this verse refers to sohm choon as a dish made of lychees. A closer look at other foods that are mentioned in the verse also reveals other dishes that are clearly of Chinese origin, such as boiled pork spleen (dtohm dtap lek ต้มตับเหล็ก), steamed bird’s nests (rang nohk neung รังนกนึ่ง) and persimmons (luuk phlap ลูกพลับ).
It is believed that this dish was introduced to the Siamese royal cuisine in the middle of the seventeenth century by Portuguese traders. Later, along with other egg yolk-based golden sweets like the golden drops (thong yot ทองหยอด), golden flowers (thong yip ทองหยิบ) and golden threads (foi thong ฝอยทอง), these royal desserts were passed to commoners outside the court.
For the marzipan filling I am using, beside the mung beans, both the flesh and the water of fragrant young coconuts. It gives a rich, sweet and almost nutty flavor which works perfectly with the silky texture of the mung beans and the creamy golden egg yolks coating.
Our ancestors, the early humans, had to base their food selection only on their senses. Sweet was energy, umami indicated the presence of proteins and saltiness was the sign for the much needed minerals. Generally, they avoided sour taste because it represented rotten or spoiled food, and bitter was the taste tonics and remedies were made of, and yes, it is now confirmed that bitter gourds are good for you.
Here is a recipe that, according to the legend, shows the efforts of one young man to please his wife’s mother. Using only the very basic ingredients he could find in the pantry, he put together a plate that cannot fail. From the culinary aspect I mean. Because from the grammar point of view we ended up with a dish that is called…. oy vey…. yes, “The son in law’s balls”….