Deliciously Sweet: Exploring Thailand’s Pastry Cuisine
When one thinks of Thai cuisine, the first thing that might come to mind is the spicy and tangy flavors of dishes like Tom Yum or Pad Thai. However, Thai cuisine also has a deliciously sweet side, with a wide range of pastries that are just as flavorful and unique. In this article, we’ll be diving into Thailand’s pastry cuisine, exploring the most popular and beloved treats that this country has to offer.
Thai Pastries: History and Culture
Before we get into the mouth-watering details of Thai pastries, it’s important to understand the cultural and historical context behind them. Thai pastries, or “Kanom,” have been an essential part of Thai cuisine for centuries, with some recipes dating back to the Ayutthaya period (circa 1351 – 1767 CE). Originally, Kanom was served only in the Royal Palace or given as offerings to the monks. Eventually, Kanom became a popular snack sold on the streets, and the tradition has continued to this day.
Introduction to Kanom
There are countless types of Kanom, each with its own unique ingredients, flavors, and textures. However, there are a few key components that are commonly found in Thai pastries:
Rice flour is the base ingredient for many Kanom recipes. This flour is made by grinding rice into a fine powder. Its delicate texture gives Kanom a soft and spongy texture.
Coconut milk is another essential ingredient in Thai pastries, and it gives Kanom a rich and creamy flavor. It’s made by blending grated coconut flesh with water and then straining the mixture.
Thai pastries are known for their sweetness, and sugar is the main ingredient that gives Kanom its irresistible taste. Thai people often use palm sugar, which is made from the sap of palm trees and has a caramel-like flavor.
Most Popular Kanom
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of Thai pastries let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular Kanom in Thailand.
Mango Sticky Rice
Mango Sticky Rice, or “Khao Niew Mamuang,” is perhaps one of the most famous and beloved Thai desserts. This dish consists of sticky rice cooked with coconut milk and sugar, topped with ripe, sweet mango slices. The combination of sweet and creamy flavors is truly irresistible.
Kanom Chan is a multi-layered dessert made with coconut milk, rice flour, and sugar. This dessert has a soft and chewy texture and is often served at special occasions like weddings.
Kanom Krok is a pancake-like pastry made with a batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. It’s cooked in a special cast-iron pan and has a crispy exterior with a soft, custard-like interior.
Thong Yod, or “Golden Drops,” is a popular dessert made from egg yolks, sugar, and coconut milk. It’s shaped into small, golden-hued balls and is often served at celebrations like Chinese New Year.
Foi Thong, or “Golden Threads,” are delicate, sweet strings made from eggs, flour, and sugar. They are often made into intricate designs and are a popular dessert during festive occasions like weddings.
Bua Loi is a warm and comforting dessert made from rice flour balls in sweetened coconut milk. This dessert is often flavored with pandan, which gives it a fragrant and earthy aroma.
Kanom Tom is a snack made with colorful balls of sticky rice flour filled with a sweet coconut cream. They are usually colored with pandan leaves for green, taro for purple and sweet potato for orange, and are often served with grated coconut for added texture.
Thai cuisine encompasses a wide range of flavors and dishes, with Kanom being an essential part of this delicious cuisine’s sweet side. From multi-layered desserts to chewy balls and crispy pancakes, Kanom is full of unique textures and irresistible sweetness. Next time you’re in Thailand, be sure to indulge in these sweet treats and discover the true flavors of Thai pastry cuisine.
Q: Are all Kanom desserts sweet?
A: Yes, Kanom desserts are known for their sweetness and unique flavors.
Q: Can Kanom be found in Thai restaurants outside of Thailand?
A: Yes, many Thai restaurants worldwide offer a variety of Kanom desserts on their menu.
Q: Do Kanom desserts have any special significance in Thai culture?
A: Yes, Kanom is often used as offerings to monks or as part of traditional Thai ceremonies and celebrations.
Q: What is the most popular Kanom dessert in Thailand?
A: Mango Sticky Rice, or “Khao Niew Mamuang,” is one of the most beloved Kanom desserts in Thailand.
Q: Are Kanom desserts healthy?
A: While they are certainly delicious, Kanom desserts are high in sugar and should be enjoyed in moderation.
Q: How are Kanom Krok cooked?
A: Kanom Krok is cooked in a special cast-iron pan with a round mold, creating a crisp outer layer with a soft and custardy interior.
Q: What is the best time of year to try Kanom desserts in Thailand?
A: Kanom desserts can be enjoyed year-round in Thailand, but they are especially popular during festive occasions like Songkran (Thai New Year) or Loy Krathong (Floating Lantern Festival).