Kanom Beuang Yuan
My favourite cook book of all time is the bright pink “Thai Food” by David Thompson. Then he writes his second book, the must have 2nd edition to his repertoire “Thai Street Food”. If you like Asia food and the history and culture of it, you have to buy these books! You must buy these books. They truly are inspirational. And this is where I gained inspiration for this recipe which should delight you, here comes my version of Kanom Beuang Yuan.
I love street food and of course I love Thai food. So Thai street food is right up there as the best in class in my opinion. Now Kanom Beuang Yuan is indeed that, and this recipe of mine is Thai street food. But I warn you now this is right up there on the complexity-meter. Originally this recipe comes from Vietnam, with Yuan being the old Thai word for Vietnam.
My advice is don’t cook it, but jump on a plane to Bangkok and eat it there. See the sights, smell the smells, mix with the people. Plus this took me about three goes to be able to do the ‘baskets’, before one came out right. It is an instinct thing here, and you have to let it cook a little longer than you think is safe before burning. You will actually see smoke coming out from the side of the basket which is actually the spices cooking, not the basket burning. DON’T PANIC!!!
The results though were amazing. The basket was simply delicious and the mixed ingredients in the basket just so very tasty together. It is indeed a belter so maybe worth having a go at cooking it, if you can’t get that flight booked. So if you are ready my friends I shall begin a rather long recipe for this wonderful dish of Kanom Beuang Yuan.
This is enough for 4-6 depending how big you want to make them;
Phase I – the batter;
- 1/2 cup rice flour;
- 1/2 cup sweet potato flour;
- 1 cup coconut cream;
- 1 lemon grass stalk, trimmed and peeled and bruised with the side of a knife;
- 1 good pinch of salt;
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric;
- 1 cup of water with 5 teaspoons of lime mixed in to it; and
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Place the flour in to a bowl and add about half of the coconut cream and mix with a whisk. This will go really thin in consistency. Then add all the other ingredients except the lemon grass and again whisk it up. It should form a nice thin batter that runs off a spoon. If too thick add a little more lime water. Pop in the lemon grass stalk and throw it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to settle and the lemon grass to infuse.
Phase II – The garnish;
- 2 cups of chopped coriander;
- 2 cups of chopped Spring onions – start from the green tops;
- 2 cups of cleaned bean sprouts;
- 1 packet of silken tofu cut in to small cubes;
- 4-5 finely sliced red radishes, the European ones not Chinese radish – the little red ones; and
- 1/2 packet of roughly chopped roasted and salted peanuts.
Mix all if this in a bowl and set aside.
Phase III – The paste;
- 3 peeled garlic cloves;
- 3 coriander roots roughly chopped;
- 8 white peppercorns; and
- 2 good pinches of salt.
Out with pestle and mortar and bash the combined ingredients into a paste. Set aside.
Phase IV – The Filling;
- 2 young Thai coconuts. Empty the milk and then using a spoon scrape out all the meat and finely chop it;
- 2 cups of raw prawns roughly chopped;
- 2 cups of roast pork – I bought a pork knuckle from the supermarket;
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar;
- 2 tablespoons of palm sugar – if you can’t get this, just add 2 more white sugar;
- 1 good pinch of salt;
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce; and
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper.
Take Phase III. Heat some oil in a large pan and fry off the paste. You will get amazing smells as this starts to cook. Stir in all the other ingredients and cook until the prawns are cooked and have turned pink. Quick taste test – salty.
Phase V – finishing off, the tough part;
Take a small wok and get it heating. Pour a little oil in and move that around the wok to coat all the sides. Then take a kitchen towel and wipe it to remove the excess oil. Careful here as you can burn yourself very easily here (as I did).
Back on the heat. OK here we go, the real tough part.
Ladle in some of the batter to make a thin layer, almost crepe like. Move it around so it covers most of the small work. Reduce the heat, and now sit and wait. It will puff up, may start to look like it is burning and may smoke. This is just the spices in there cooking off. After about 4-5 minutes it should start to peel away from the sides. With your fingers peel it away a little and pour a little oil down the side. Then again move the pan around so the oil gets under all of the basket. This will now start to fry it and make it crispy.
Nearly there. Keep checking the underneath to ensure not burning and when it is golden brown and crisp you are done.
Take Phase III and spoon some in to the basket as this will warm it and cause the greens to wilt a little.
Take Phase IV and spoon some on top of Phase III, again just to warm it with all the other ingredients.
Well done you have finished my Kanom Beuang Yuan. Move that from the pan to a plate and serve up.