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Fermented Rice Noodles, Shrimp and Pork Appetizer Dressed with Fried Chili Jam and Peanuts
(ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon)

Click to listen to the Thai name pronunciation Listen to the Thai name pronunciation
By: Hanuman, Thaan Khun and Chef Thapakorn Lertviriyavit (Gorn)

This page is also available in: Thai

ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon (rice noodles)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.

Literally, “khanohm jeen yee poon” is translated as “Japanese-style fermented rice noodles”. But there is no evident Japanese motif in the dish that explains its name, and if we were to name the dish ourselves we would probably call it miiang khanohm jeen (เมี่ยงขนมจีน).

Miiang (or miang) is a general term for bite-sized dishes that contain several ingredients, each offering a distinct element of flavor, color or texture to create a perfect mouthful.

We came across this peculiarly-named appetizer in Lady Gleep Mahithaawn’s book “Recipes for Teaching Children and Grandchildren” (หนังสือกับข้าวสอนลูกหลาน), printed for her 72nd birthday celebration on January 7, 1949.

We wondered: Why did Lady Gleep label this hors d’oeuvre recipe as “Japanese-style”?

In seeking an answer to the question, we examined Lady Plean Passakornrawong’s earlier writings (c1908), and found a similar dish with similarly sounding name called khanohm jin bpoon (ขนมจิ่นปุ่น). The dish, spelled somewhat differently, also features Lady Plean’s additions of pickled garlic, young ginger, roasted mung beans and bitter orange (ส้มส้า, sohm saa, som.za), and uses naam phrik laao (น้ำพริกลาว) instead of fried chili jam.

We were excited to come across her footnote comment to the recipe, in which she writes, “The dish khanohm jin bpoon (ขนมจิ่นปุ่น) was formerly called khao bpoon laao (เข้าปุ้นลาว); these days [c1908], the name has changed to khanohm jin yi bpoon (ขนมจิ่นยิ่ปุ่น) probably for reason of progress.”

ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon

ตำราแม่ครัวหัวป่าก์
เล่ม 3 หน้า 142

Lady Plean offers no definitive explanation for the origins of the name, so we will probably never know the real reason behind calling this truly Thai recipe a Japanese-style fermented rice noodle hors d’oeuvre.

However, we decided to take this opportunity to discuss old Thai dishes and their names.

Old Thai dishes names fall into four main groups.
The first group includes dishes with straightforward names that indicate both the preparation method and the main ingredient used. For example:

The second group includes dishes with names that give no indication of the dish’s origin, character, ingredients or cooking method.

  • Gaaeng bpuh (แกงเปอะ) – Curry of bamboo shoots
  • Gaaeng liiang (แกงเลียง) – Curry of mixed vegetables
  • Gaaeng buaan (แกงบวน) – Old-style curry
  • Gaaeng jao dtao (แกงเจ้าเต่า) – Old-style curry
  • Dtohm khlo:hng (ต้มโคล้ง) – Sour soup of smoked dry fish

During the reigns of King Rama VI and VII and as international trade flourished, many new ingredients became available to the cooking masters of those times; these chefs were creative and open-minded, and challenged themselves to invent new recipes with evocative, poetic names:

  • Wiwaa pra samoot (วิวาห์พระสมุทร) – The Wedding of the God of the Sea
  • Maang faa yiiam haawng (นางฟ้าเยี่ยมห้อง) – The Angel’s Visit
  • Naa raai ban thohm sin (นารายณ์บรรทมสินธุ์) – The Reclining Vishnu
  • Yam waawn phohng (ยำวรพงษ์) – Woraphong Salad
  • Naam phrik na khaawn baan (น้ำพริกนครบาล) – The Cosmopolitan Dipping Sauce
  • Mee raat thuut (หมี่ราชทูต) – The King’s Envoy Noodles

The final group includes dishes introduced to the Thai culinary repertoire by direct or indirect foreign influence. In some cases, they are still called by their original name, modified for Thai pronunciation.

Our cooking tips for khanohm jeen yee poon

  1. When cooking the pork belly, add couple of pandan leaves; These will introduce a pleasant aroma to the pork meat.
  2. Cut the cooked shrimp into lengthwise strips. Cut the pork to a matching size.
Fermented Rice Noodles, Shrimp and Pork Appetizer Dressed with Fried Chili Jam and Peanuts Recipe
สูตรทำขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น
 
Prep time
Cook time
Ready In
 
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.
By:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 15

Ingredients

 
  • shrimp
  • pork belly
  • green leaf lettuce
  • cucumber
  • coriander leaves
  • peanuts, roasted
  • fresh long red pepper
  • fried chili jam
to make fried chili jam
  • 15 dry long chili peppers (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 cup deep fried shallots
  • 1 cup deep fried garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons thick tamarind paste
Method
  1. Cook the pork on medium heat, add pandan leaf for fragrance.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  2. Slice the pork into bite-size pieces.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  3. Clean the shrimp, remove their heads, and peel and devein them before cooking until just done. Do not overcook.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  4. Slice the shrimp lengthwise into thin strips.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  5. Roast the peanuts, and then coarsely crush with a pestle and mortar.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
Making Fried Chili Jam
  1. De-seed the dry chili, cut into small pieces, rinse and let it dry.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  2. Deep fry sliced shallots and sliced garlic.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  3. Deep fry the dry shrimps until crisp.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  4. Turn off the heat, and heat-fry the dry chilies in the residual oil.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  5. Fry the chilies until they get crisp and turn dark red. Be careful not to burn them.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  6. Place some salt in the mortar.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  7. Add the fried dried chilies.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  8. Pound the chilies.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  9. Add fried dry shrimp.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  10. Pound the chilies and fried dry shrimp together.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  11. Add the deep fried garlic and shallots.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  12. Pound everything into a smooth paste.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  13. Return the paste to the wok, and fry with residual oil left from frying each of the ingredients. Season with palm sugar.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  14. Season with fish sauce.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  15. Season with thick tamarind paste.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  16. Continue frying until the color becomes shiny. Taste and adjust flavors to sour-sweet-salty.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
  17. Add roasted peanuts to the fried chili jam
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
To Serve
  1. Serve. Place a roll of the rice noodles on a piece of green leaf lettuce, add a slice of cucumber, shrimp and pork, dress with the chili jam, sprinkle roasted peanuts and decorate with coriander leaf and a thin julienne of fresh red chili pepper. Squeeze some lime juice on the dish just before eating.
    ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น; Khanohm jeen Yee Poon
6 comments… add one
  • Spy Ak Mar 25, 2016, 7:21 am

    อ่านเรื่องของขนมจีนน่าสนใจมากนะค่ะ ขอบคุณเรื่องราวดีจากทีมงานทุกคน ^^

  • AAA Jul 20, 2016, 9:47 pm

    อ่านไปฮาไป ขนมจีนว่าไปหากินเมืองจีนก็ไม่น่าจะหาได้แล้ว เจอชื่อ ขนมจีนญี่ปุ่น นี่ไปหาที่ญี่ปุ่นก็คงไม่เจอเหมือนกัน

  • Josh Dec 10, 2016, 11:06 pm

    To help clarify the etymology: the Lao word for khanom jin (the etymology of which you explained elsewhere) is khaaw pun (ข้าวปุ่น). So it makes sense that if the original dish was made with naam phrik laaw (น้ำพริก ลาว), the Lao word for the noodles would be applied, then later hybridized as khanom jin pun. My guess, like Lady Plian’s, is that since this original meaning was lost, khanom jin pun didn’t make sense and changing it to yii pun seemed like a sensible thing to do. However, it is also conceivable that there was some peripheral influence from Japanese cold somen noodles (which are often recommended as a substitute for khanom jin outside Thailand; I don’t think they are a good substitute, being made of wheat, and there are much better substitutes to be had), since there was a large contingent of Japanese around the court from the Ayutthaya period. These various factors might have been conflated at a later time.

    • Hanuman Dec 14, 2016, 6:33 am

      interesting idea, thank you for sharing !

  • Josh Dec 10, 2016, 11:10 pm

    Also, do you have any recipe for น้ำพริกลาว? I would love to experiment with Lady Plian’s original version.

    • Hanuman Dec 14, 2016, 6:31 am

      Hi Josh, น้ำพริกลาว is a basic tamarind chili relish (น้ำพริกมะขามเปียก) which was made of dry chilies, salt, garlic, tamarind, sugar and maybe sometime a squeeze of lime. In the old days it was served with grilled catfish, river shrimp and boiled neem tree leaves (สะเดาลวก). น้ำพริกลาว was used in a similar to the way น้ำปลาหวาน is used today. Lady Plian’s didn’t publish a recipe for it.

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