A few weeks ago, we mentioned Kaow Chae, in our post about regional Thai foods. Being that it is truly the hot season now, this is a “must try” dish when visiting Thailand in summer, especially around Songkran time!
Originating from the Mon people, this dish, considered Royal Cuisine, is traditionally found in abundance around Songkran (Thai New Year) in April. It is a refreshing dish that consists of rice in ice cold, fragrant Jasmine water. It is served in a set with a series of condiments or side dishes. There are six traditional side dishes:
Kapi balls (or luk kapi)
Deep fried, stuffed shallots
Stuffed sweet pepper covered in egg lace
Shredded, sweetened beef or pork
Stir Fried egg and pickled turnips
Raw mango, fresh cucumber, fresh wild ginger, fresh chilies, and fresh spring onions
There is a specific way to eat this dish because you should not add any of the condiments directly to the rice bowl. There are 4 steps for how to eat Kaow Chae:
Choose a condiment to eat first
Follow with rice
Then drink little bit of infused water
Take a bit of the fresh vegetable or fruit to cleanse your palate and aid in digestion.
By following these steps you will have a full taste of each side dish in your mouth, followed by the scent and taste of the smokey jasmine from the rice then feel the refreshment from the cold water.
This is truly one of those dishes that is a bit harder to come by, but definitely worth a try, especially to keep your cool this April!