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Mian Kam

Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes 12 appetizer servings
Mian Kam
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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A quintessential street food in Bangkok, Mian Kam are one-bite wonders. Lots of crunchy, chewy intensely flavorful bits are wrapped in a betel leaf and topped with a tangy tamarind sauce. Cooking teacher Olivia Wu grew up eating them in Bangkok and she makes them at home now using the nasturtium leaves that grow wild in her backyard. If you can’t find large nasturtium leaves, you can seek out fresh betel leaves at Thai markets. Other tender slightly bitter leaves that are at least 3 inches in diameter would work too; try radish or mustard greens cut to size.

1

Combine the tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Hold ½ cup coconut in your hands and rub between your palm and fingers to crush it into small crumbles into the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

2

You want to cut the filling ingredients into the same size as the whole peanuts. Cut the lime into ½-inch wedges, then cut each wedge into ¼-inch slices. Cut the ginger into ¼-inch slices at an angle. Quarter the shallot lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch chunks.

3

Put a nasturtium leaf stem side down on a work surface. Mound a tablespoon of coconut in the center, then top with a lime slice, ginger slice, shallot chunk, peanut, chile half, and shrimp. Dollop a spoonful of sauce on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. To eat, wrap the sides of the leaf all around the filling to form a little pouch and stuff into your mouth in one bite.

Make Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. You can prep all the components up to 8 hours ahead.