There used to be a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant called “Soi” in Melville (Jozi). On the menu was a specific starter that we just couldn’t get enough of. The restaurant closed down out of the blue & one of the things that I missed (& craved) was said starter. The recipe is rather straight forward – as you will see just now – but the sauce (a honey-look alike) was the one thing that we just could not pin point.
So, imagine my delight when I paged through the Sunday Times food section* recently & saw the recipe….
THAI SPINACH CONES WITH PALM SUGAR SAUCE (Meang Khum), serves 4
Palm sugar dressing:
750g palm sugar (or brown sugar)
10g shrimp paste
75g freshly grated root ginger
800g spinach / chard leaves, washed
1 lemon chopped with rind
1 large onion, finely chopped
3cm fresh root ginger, peeled & finely diced
2 sticks lemongrass, very thinly sliced
4 fresh chillies, thinly sliced
80g (1/2 cup) peanuts
80g (1 cup) toasted coconut flakes
For the sauce: combine the sugar, salt & water in a pot & bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add shrimp paste & ginger, reduce heat & simmer until thickened. Remove from heat & cool. Decant into an airtight container & refrigerate until needed (makes about 1 litre).
To assemble the dish: arrange the spinach leaves on a plate or wooden board. Place the remaining ingredients in individual bowls around the plate or board. To make a cone, place a spinach leaf in the palm of your hand. Roll into a cone. Spoon a small amount of each condiment into the cone & top with palm sugar sauce.
Not only is this one easy & refreshing, but it’s also a really easy way to add some freshness to a meal. Give it a try – I can almost guarantee that you’ll love it!
*Recipe (by Julian Cohen) taken from the food section of the Sunday Times, 17 Aug.