When you eat noodles in Thailand, it is usually eaten dry or with a clear soup to which you add your own condiments. However, there is another noodle called khanom jeen which is quite different in look and taste. These distinctive white noodles are almost spaghetti like. They are made from rice flour and are best bought freshly made. I have never seen them being made, but they are apparently produced by forcing the rice flour through a sieve into a pot of boiling water. They are sold in nest like batches in the market.
The name khanom jeen is a little misleading. It can literally be translated as “Chinese pastry”, however it is neither pastry nor Chinese. Some cookery books say that this dish comes from Southern Thailand. However, it would seem that just about every region of Thailand has their own version of this curry. When you are out on the street, you will see noodle shops that specialize in khanom jeen. The tables will be laid out with trays of vegetables which you can help yourself to. In the shop where I took these pictures you had the choice of four different curry sauces.
In the above picture you can see the sauces for three soups that go with khanom jeen noodles. The larger one on the right is “nam ya ga ti” which is sometimes shortened to just “nam yaa”. It is the famous version for the central region. In the top left is “nam ya ba” and bottom left is “nam ngiaw”. The missing sauce is “nam prik”. The first two I mentioned have fish balls (look chin pla) but nam ngiaw is served with chicken pieces. The recipe does vary as you travel around the country but the following should give you an idea of the ingredients.
ขนมจีน น้ำยา – khanom jeen nam yaa
The fish curry sauce is made with fish, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, shallots, galangal, lemon grass, peppers, coconut milk and fish sauce.
ขนมจีน น้ำเงี๊ยว – khanom jeen nam ngiaw
This curry is made with garlic, red curry paste, yellow bean sauce, diced tomatoes, turmeric, fish sauce, spring onion and coriander. You can use either chicken (as in the picture) or pork ribs.
The sauce is poured on top of the noodles. You then have a selection of vegetables which you eat with it. These include: basil, quail eggs, pickled mustard greens, shredded cabbage and beansprouts. It is a bit unusual but worth your time in trying them out. You can also eat khanom jeen with green curry instead of rice. Try something new the next time you are in Thailand!
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