01 November 2009

Sugar Rush

I hopped my three year old up on sugary ice lollies at Chatuchak Market before wandering to the serene, nearby produce market. Maybe not such a good idea, but I was in search of krathong making supplies and since my son was not such a willing participant, I needed a bribe.

Tomorrow is Loy Krathong and, coming right off of the Halloween festivities, I'm in full swing party prep! Spring rolls are prepped and awaiting their hot oil bath, the curry paste is pounded and the mangoes are awaiting disposition to their sticky rice. Celebrated annually on the day of the Full Moon in the Twelfth Lunar Month, Loy Krathong is one of Thailand's biggest celebrations (and will forever be one of my favorite holidays). After enjoying a Thai meal, families and friends make floats out of banana tree trunks, banana leaves and assorted flowers. They spike the floats (or krathongs) with a candle and three incense sticks, and make a wish upon lighting them. Then, friends and family walk to a nearby waterway and gently sail their floats. The floats are believed to carry away the person's sins and sufferings in order to make room for the wishes made for the upcoming new year.

After wandering through the produce market and purchasing a bag of fresh passion fruit, some candied sesame cashews and an assortment of veggies, my son and I found a woman sitting on the sidewalk with various sizes of sliced banana tree trunks in front of her. "Krathong?" I asked, as my son took up his ever present spider man web slinging stance and unleashed an imaginary web in her face. "Chi!" she answered enthusiastically. Excellent.

As she assembled four bags of krathong making supplies, my usually stranger-shy son launched into a chorus of I'm a little teapot. Truly thrilled that we, the foreigners, were buying krathongs and intrigued that I had a singing and dancing child, a small crowd gathered around us. My son finished his song, bowed and said, "thank you, thank you" before launching into an attempt at the Thai Loy Krathong song. He knows three words (Loy, Loy Krathong) and sings it to a different tune each time he attempts to perform it. After a generous round of applause and gathering up our bags of supplies, I hailed a taxi all the while hoping that the sugar crash would set in soon.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no 69:
Sweet Sticky Rice Parcels
Widely available at the markets throughout Bangkok, these little packets of sweetness are so much fun to present to guests. Easily made at home, they make a fun addition to the dessert tray. If you have difficulty in finding the pandan leaves, you can roll the sticky rice into shape and present on a beautiful spoon. I've done this for several parties and the presentation was playful and well received. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups of coconut milk
3/4 cup of glutenous rice flour*
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup of sugar
Food coloring, any color
Cashews or peanuts, crushed
Shredded coconut
Pandan Leaves (or substitute Banana Leaves)*

In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat, heat 1 cup of coconut milk. Slowly add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar. Continue to add the remaining coconut milk slowly, stirring constantly over low heat. Cook until thick, about five minutes. Add the scraped vanilla beans, discard pod. A couple drops of food coloring and the crushed nuts. Stir well and turn into a well greased deep dish. Sprinkle the coconut over the top and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Using a small spoon, remove about 1 inch pieces and gently form an oval shape. Place onto a pandan leaf. Gather the leaf around the sticky rice and secure with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*These ingredients can be found at most Asian grocery stores.

1 comment:

  1. I love Loy Krathong! I lived in Thailand for 6 months and was there for Loy Krathong. Thank you for writing about it and bringing back good memories!


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