Category Archives: Thailand

Down on The farm… Thai Potatoes…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food  and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

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It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be  however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the worlds largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed it is high  in proteins and contains tannins and is  valued as  a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next seasons crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

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Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom  man sampalang is cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

2   cups of grated Cassava

6 tbsp of tapioca flour

1 tbsp of mung bean starch

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam..A thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.The rice has just been planted also and it is fingers crossed that this last down pour didn’t wash all the rice away…Time will tell.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down on the farm. Some more posts on life in rural Thailand can be found on  my Niume posts.

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm. This weeks post was going to be about our new baby turkeys which we went to collect on Saturday . Unfortunately there was very high winds and very heavy torrentail rains during this last week and the chicks got too cold and died. I was so sad as we were looking forward to getting them and settling them in their new home. The plus side was we got to see the baby calves one which had only just been born which will be our next acquisition. He was so very cute and beautiful.

Down on the farm..Star Apple

Down on the farm Snake Gourd Raita

Down on the farm our 1st Passion Fruit

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wat Pa Phu Kon, Issan, Northern Thailand

Standing proud on top of a hill in 400 acres of lush green fields and forests  surrounded by other hills  is this beautiful little known temple, unless you have a Thai connection or live in Issan many people are not aware that it even exists. It has a stunning aqua blue roof and literally sparkles in the sunlight and the blue of the roof reflect of the blue sky so there this is shimmering bright blue aura around the temple, it is sight to behold.

It is very popular with Thais and we arrived on one of the busiest of days a holy Buddha day luckily we had left early but even so the queue for the trucks to take us to the top of the hill was fairly long but we were shaded by the trees which surround this lovely temple.

You can drive to the top of the hill but on busy days like this they have trucks to ferry you upwards as the car park at the top is very small for the amount of cars there would be.

The dress code is very strict here. No sleeveless t/shirts or blouses, No shorts or skirts above the knee. Thai style skirts or trousers will be lent to you in the event your dress is unsuitable.

It is quite a new temple and very clean and bright it has spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and although very busy on this holy Buddha day has an aura of peace and calm.

Nga snakes guard the entrance to the main temple and inside is a stunning white marble reclining Buddha which is made out of 43 blocks of exquisite Italian Carrara marble each weighing 15-30 tons each block. The cost of building this  was in excess of 50 million baht and was a generous donation by an elderly Thai lady in honour of the king.This temple also houses  lots of carvings and numerous other Buddha images in gold and marble. The wall painting show a story of ten reincarnations of Buddha. It is beautiful to see.

We were met with the sight of many people holding prayer mats and walking and praying as they circled the reclining Buddha, it is lovely to see people laying bare their faith and love for Buddha it is something which always humbles me here wherever people feel the need to pray  they do…..

If you live in Issan or ever travel to here it is a beautiful temple and worth the visit.The isolation and peaceful natural environment makes this an ideal place for meditation so if you crave solitude and tranquility then this is the place for you.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour around this lovely temple.

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot and if you want to share this post with your friends I would be honoured.

Traditional Handmade Thai pancakes..Khao Gle-at.

 

Pancakes drying  Making these pancakes the traditional way is still done in the Thai villages and I am very lucky to be able to witness these traditions which are passed down through the generations. The working of the wooden presses is a sight to behold again these are family heirlooms and passed down. And something which all the family participates in and is learning how to make, the oldest passes on her knowledge and the young ones start at the bottom and learn but if you look at the smiling faces everyone is enjoying it.

coconut mix

If you look closely when the old lady is pounding the flesh from the coconuts the children are working it by jumping up and down at the opposite end it is just like a see-saw and as much fun.

pounding the coconut

These pancakes are made from the flesh of the older coconuts and mixed with palm sugar, sticky rice which is ground into a flour and sesame seeds.There are many variations on this some are mixed with eggs.

Once the mixture is made it is shaped into pancake shapes with a wooden press. See below.

Flattening the pancake mix

Pancakes drying

They are then left to dry for about 3 days and then toasted over the open flames of a Thai BBQ rotated by hand between two wooden fan like paddles to ensure even cooking.

It is fascinating to watch.

I have seen these sold on the roadsides and now know how they are made in the homes. It certainly is a family affair as from the youngest to the oldest they all have a part to play.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit into this Thai families home.

26 Week Letter Challenge “W”

Well it was just by the seat of my pants…phew….. Now we have “W” and it’s getting so near the end of this one …. See Lori’s Here  https://lumar1298.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/26-weeks-letter-challenge-w/  She has some great photos.

I am sure I can’t match these…I just point and click and it’s all about luck… certainly not judgement with  moi….

Well….Water which we have lots of it here…Floods, sea, lakes and Songkram..Thai new year when there are lots of water pistols and some are sure big boys.

 

Whats next ?   Water Buffalo who sure look a tad grumpy at being watched…

Wat’s ( Temples) to us …All beautiful..some grand and imposing , some remote and hard to find and they are the gems the little known ones..so beautiful.

 

And No!  I haven’t done the obvious….Not a hint of wine…although I could have…ha ha and those who know me would have expected that….but….Not on this occasion  I often do the unexpected!

 

 

Thailand and it’s more unusual cuisine.

I got to thinking…….Ha Ha….Yes, you are right every last one of you, when I do that it’s dangerous!

On our weekend boat trip I was amazed when I learnt what you can do with the Lotus flower.

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…A long time ago the petals were used basically as fag papers..just like my dad used Rizzlas.

The flowers are also edible and make lettuce cups look positively boring. The seed pods are lovely to eat just pop those little circles out..take off the outside and eat.

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and some say they taste like popcorn.

The stems you can make a lovely soup from.

This got me thinking..shhhhhh that word again! Of the things I have eaten since I have been here in Thailand and the things I haven’t ..yuk! I have eaten differnt types of veg and things like the banana pod and the lily flowers which can only be harvested at dawn both of which are steamed and eaten with a dip…..Now we come to the more unusual…

Insects of all sorts ..deep-fried and crispy…

I quite like, well the ones which look like the witchety grubs they eat on I’m a celebrity get me out of here..Not for me! Yuk!

Frogs..I like and crispy fried they taste like chicken which brings me on to the Chicken Feet sold by the kilo in Makro and Tesco Lotus are a staple here.

chicken feet salad

Lizards…not tried them yet…but I love ants eggs, they make a lovely salad..it tastes lemony and it is actually very nice.

ant egg salad

The fermented eggs and fish called Phla I give a miss.

So when you think of it you should never go hungry here…There is always something to eat…….

Until next time be happy and laugh a lot 🙂

 

The Red Lotus Sea( Lake)

 

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It was a lovely sunny morning and we decided to take a trip to The Red Lotus Lake( Sea) locally known as Talay Bua Daeng. It was the wrong time of year to see the Lotus in full bloom so will going back in December to see that sight.We still saw a few but not many but witnessed a lot of birds and Water Buffalo who didn’t look best pleased at being disturbed…look at that grumpy face. The Buffalo are bought over in  the morning and taken back to terra firma in the evening.

and also the boatman took us to a little temple on a tiny, tiny island .

This island when the water is high is virtually submerged hence the big and I mean big steps leading up to the Buddha’s. The name of the temple is Wat Don Leung on the Nong Harn Lake. One of monks goes over to the mainland every morning to get food for the day.

We were also allowed to pick the seed pods of the lotus flower which I have seen for sale along the road but never knew what they were. I do now… They were lovely to eat a bit nutty…like me!

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It was a lovely informative trip and will definitely return in December.

 

I hope you  enjoyed this trip on the Red Lotus Sea…..stay safe, laugh a lot and be happy.

 

 

A Fifties Child

me and mum & dad 1952 001

Born in the early 50’s, one of 3 and the oldest we had no Tv or phone we played out until dark and sometimes we were out all day playing in the woods, making camps…I was definitely not one of those girls who played with dolls and pushed someone else’s baby up and down the street..for fun! Really…I was  a tom boy…one of my earliest memories was this pink spotted dress my mum made me…she made all our clothes and I remember that when the elbows of our cardigans or jumpers wore thin my mum unpicked the sleeves and changed them over so the darned patch was in the crook of our elbow.

I also remember climbing the big old Oak tree in the middle of the green and catching the said pink dress and tore it! Girls then did not wear trousers only skirts and dresses.

We made tents in the garden by slinging a blanket over the clothes line…..Played how  high can you jump with a pole on two sticks…until my dad shouted at us as we made a bare patch on his lawn. I remember playing jacks and hopscotch on the pavement( we then) had to clean every bit of the chalk of the pavement when we had finished playing.

Collecting the empty bottles and taking them back to get a penny and how many sweets could you get for a penny?

I remember moaning like hell when my mum combed my hair after washing it and the rags she put in so we had ringlets( and how they hurt to sleep in). I also remember her taking us to the hairdressers as she was fed up with moans and me getting this fringe…..I promptly got the scissors out when I got home and cut it off..stating I don’t have a fringe now.

I also remember how much I used to write for homework..pages and pages..my teachers must have groaned..not half a page for me. When I got the ” A” my mum would say very nice dear…my dad..not much…he thought girls just got married and had kids.

Our first TV…..Took pride of place in the parlour ..the best room..the one we only used on high days and holidays or when people visited.

Most of  my friends wanted to be teachers, hairdressers,nurse, shop assistants ..none wanted to be a pop star or celebrity.

But we were happy! Why?

Ask yourself?

So true to life…I got married, had the kids..bla bla bla

Then I retired…..went to Thailand….joined Phuket Writers and wow…….. An anthology, a novel in the pipeline, writing for a New York website.

And all because this child of the fifties had a dream.

So I believe if you dare to dream…then you can!

I see that happiness in the faces of the village children here..who have very little…the boys ..a bike, they fish..a stick with a cord, they run, they climb trees, they laugh..why?

  I hope at least one of them has a dream !
Until next time stay safe , laugh a lot and have fun x