• Miang kham pla lom kwan (Food Safari Water)Source: Food Safari Water

Translating to “eating many things in one bite”, miang kham embodies the delicious flavours of Northern Thailand. Topped with coconut-smoked fish, these betel leaf wrapped morsels make delicious appetisers. Food Safari Water






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  • 2 red Asian shallots, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup young ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 scud chillies, finely chopped
  • 20 betel leaves


Smoked fish 

  • 440 g (2 cups) sugar
  • 4-5 sticks cassia bark
  • 400 g grated fresh coconut
  • 400 g (2 cups) jasmine rice
  • 3-4 coconut husks
  • 1 whole flathead



  • 400 g shredded fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp Thai shrimp paste 
  • 1 piece banana leaf
  • 100 g dried prawns
  • 1 tbsp dried galangal
  • 35 g (¼ cup) roasted peanuts
  • 300 g palm sugar
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Smoking time: 1 hour

For the smoked fish, line a wok with foil, then add the sugar, cassia bark, coconut and rice. Place the coconut husks over a gas flame until they are alight and glowing, then add to the wok. Place the wok over high heat until it starts to smoulder. Place the flathead in a metal steamer over the wok and smoke for 45-60 minutes or until well coloured and just cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces, removing the skin and bones.

Meanwhile, for the miang, preheat the oven to 100 ˚C. Place the shredded coconut on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until golden.

Wrap the shrimp paste in the banana leaf and cook in a dry frying pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fragrant. Pound the dried prawns in a mortar and pestle until they form a fine floss. Remove and set aside. Pound the dried galangal pieces to a fine powder. Unwrap the toasted shrimp paste add to the galangal. Pound together, then add the prawn floss and mix through. Add the roasted peanuts and crush coarsely.

Melt the palm sugar in a frying pan over medium heat and cook until it just starts to caramelise. Add the tamarind paste and fish sauce and stir to combine. Add the prawn mixture, 125ml (½ cup) water and ½ cup of the roasted shredded coconut. Combine well and set aside.

To serve, combine the shallot, ginger, lime, ⅓ cup roasted shredded coconut, chilli and the miang sauce in a bowl. Mix together and place a small spoonful on each betel leaf. Top with a little smoked fish and serve immediately.


Maeve O'Meara is back in Food Safari Water starting 8pm, Wednesday 1 August on SBS and then you can catch-up on all episodes via SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.