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Archive for September, 2010

Incense Candles – Tien Ohb

Kasma Loha-unchit, Saturday, September 4th, 2010

One of the more interesting “ingredients” in Thai cooking is a special incense candle, (tien ohb, in Thai). This candle is commonly used in the making of sweetmeats and desserts to add a spicy fragrance and smokiness by “smoking” ingredients, such as shredded coconut.

Incense Candles

Incense candles

The incense candle is  made of organic matter including herbs and flower petals. Brown in color, it has a curved shape and can be lit on both ends. This exotic item as this may not be easy to find in Western countries; ask for it in specialty Thai markets in cities with sizable Thai populations. If you travel to Thailand, look in stores that carry incense and merit-making supplies. I usually   buy mine from one of the stores carrying them in Banglampoo, in Bangkok. There are several different kinds from which to choose. Sniff and discover which fragrance you like. One candle will last a long time; it will burn very slowly and produce a lot of scented smoke.

Using an Incense Candle

Using an incense candle

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

To smoke with an incense candle, put the uncooked coconut mixture loosely in a bowl and place the bowl inside a large pot. Light the candle on both ends and position alongside the bowl. Close the lid tightly, adding extra weight over the top if necessary—such as an inverted stone mortar—to prevent smoke from escaping. Allow to smoke 30 minutes to one hour. For a stronger smoky flavor, relight the candle after 30 minutes to produce more smoke.

(Note from Michael: I love it! A candle that can be burned at both ends!)

Smoking Incense Candle

Smoking incense candle

One of Kasma’s recipes that uses an incense candle is: Grilled Coconut Cakes – Kanom Paeng Jee.

Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, August 2010.

Kasma Makes Green Papaya Salad (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Kasma Pounds Som Tam

Kasma Makes Green Papaya Salad

Kasma pounds Green Papaya Salad

Although Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) (or Som Dtam) is an Isaan (Northeastern Thailand) dish, it’s available all over Thailand, especially as street food or in markets (usually made by a transplanted Isaan vendor).

Here Kasma showed the students in her weekend Intermediate Cooking Class #4 how to make green papaya salad.

See also:

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.