This popular Thai street snack is designed to be eaten in a single bite – the salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavours combining in one sublime hit. At its simplest, miang is a snack of dried prawns, shallots and ginger mixed with tamarind and palm sugar, but the variations are endless and the one I choose depends on what’s good at the market and the mood I’m in.
- 2 large green prawns
- 2 tbsp roasted grated coconut
- 2 tsp finely chopped lime flesh
- 2 tbsp finely chopped young ginger
- ⅓ cup finely diced red Asian shallots
- large handful of coriander leaves
- 1 small Thai green chilli, thinly sliced
- 2 pieces pomelo flesh (about 20 g)
- large pinch toasted shredded coconut
- large pinch ground toasted peanuts
- 10 betel leaves, wiped clean
- 1 tsp ground dried prawns
- 1 tsp coarsely ground toasted peanuts
- 1 tsp toasted shredded coconut pinch of salt
- 1 small Thai green chilli, thinly sliced pinch of raw gapi (Thai shrimp paste)
- 1 coriander root
- 2 slices fresh galangal, lightly toasted, or 2 pieces dried galangal
- 2-3 slices peeled ginger
- 150 g (1 cup) grated palm sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp tamarind water (see Note)
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.
To make the paste, place the prawns, peanut, coconut, salt, chilli and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle and gently pound. Add the coriander root, galangal and ginger and pound into a coarse paste. You want to keep the paste coarse as a bit of texture gives the dish its character.
To make the sauce, combine the sugar, fish sauce and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add the paste and simmer until the sauce is quite thick and you can smell the fragrance of ginger and galangal. Add the tamarind water and simmer for 3- 4 minutes or until quite thick. Don’t simmer the sauce for too long after the tamarind has been added or it will scorch. Remove from the heat, cool slightly then check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. It should taste sweet, rich, sour and salty.
Cook the prawns in lightly salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and refresh in iced water. Peel the prawns and remove the digestive tract, then cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients except the betel leaves. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce or just enough to coat and toss to combine. Serve on the betel leaves for wrapping.
• To make the tamarind water, place ⅓ cup tamarind pulp and 80 ml (⅓ cup) warm water in a bowl and stand for a few minutes to soften. Squeeze and work the pulp with your fingers to dissolve it, Strain through a fine sieve, pushing down to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard the solids.