A simple yet fun version of lohn relish is presented by Lady Plean’s granddaughter-in-law, Mrs. Samaknantapol (Jeep Bunnag) (นางสมรรคนันทพล, จีบ บุนนาค), in her 1933 book Sam Rap Raawp Bpee (สำรับรอบปี). In this tasty lohn relish, Jeep Bunnag starts by simmering dried shrimp and garlic paste with coconut cream. Before she continues to add the minced shrimp meat, she first draws sweetness and sourness by simmering slices of salacca and diced young and mature hairy-fruited eggplants. After the shrimp meat is added and cooked, she seasons the relish with the usual suspects – fish sauce, tamarind paste and palm sugar. However, she further diversifies the sour roof with the playful fruitiness of a trio of citrus juices: lime juice, bitter orange juice and green mandarin juice.
- Fresh vegetables, banana blossom (หัวปลี), ginger (ขิง), white turmeric (ขมิ้นขาว), young leaves
- Grilled catfish or fried snakehead fish.
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For the paste
- 3 tablespoons dried shrimp pounded to powder (กุ้งแห้งป่น) pounded to powder (กุ้งแห้งป่น)
- 1/2 tablespoon Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย) กระเทียมไทย cloves
For the lohn
- 1/3 cup minced shrimp meat (เนื้อกุ้งสับ) เนื้อกุ้งสับ
- 1 tablespoon shrimp tomalley (มันกุ้ง) มันกุ้ง
- 1 cup coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
- 1/4 cup hairy-fruited eggplant (maeuk) (มะอึก) diced into small pieces
- 1/4 cups green hairy-fruited eggplant (maeuk) (มะอึกเขียว) diced into small pieces
- 3 salacca (สละ หรือ ระกำ) sliced into thin pieces
Season to a bold sour-salty-sweet profile
- 1 part tamarind paste (น้ำมะขามเปียก)
- 1 part fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
- 1 part palm sugar (น้ำตาลมะพร้าว)
Remove from heat and add fresh citrus juice
- 1/2 part lime juice (น้ำมะนาว)
- 1 part bitter orange juice (som.saa)(น้ำส้มซ่า)
- 1/4 part green mandarin orange juice (น้ำส้มเหม็น)
- bitter orange peel (som.saa)(ผิวนส้มซ่า) sliced thinly
- hairy-fruited eggplant (maeuk) (มะอึก) sliced thinly
- fresh vegetables (ผักสด)
- banana blossom (หัวปลี)
- white turmeric (ขมิ้นขาว)
- ginger (ขิง)
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Cut into small pieces. Wash and pat dry the sliced shrimp meat.
- Squeeze the shrimp tomalley from the heads; add it to the shrimp.
- On a cutting board, use a knife to mince the shrimp together with the tomalley. Set aside.
- In a pestle and mortar, pound the dried shrimp and garlic to a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Thicken coconut cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat, reserving a small amount for the garnish. Do not allow the cream to separate into fat.
- Add the dried shrimp-garlic paste, then cook it to remove the raw garlic taste.
- Add the salacca and the diced green and yellow hairy-fruited eggplants. Continue a constant stirring, being careful not to let the coconut cream separate into fat!
- Add the minced shrimp and the shallots. Keep simmering until the shrimp meat is fully cooked.
- When the shrimp are cooked, taste and season to a sour-salty-sweet profile. Start by adding fish sauce; when you are satisfied with the saltiness, add the same amount of fish sauce as palm sugar and tamarind paste. Taste and adjust the flavors.
- Turn off the heat and add the citrus juices at the ratios indicated.
- Pour into a serving bowl. Garnish with thinly sliced three colored chilies – red, green and yellow – along with sliced shallots and a drizzle of the thickened coconut cream.