Friday, June 22, 2007

Kao Chae - Thai Foods for Songkran Festival in Thailand

Summer comes again so lots of people try to alleviate swelter. Many think of some cooling food like ice-cream, Nam Kang Sai (Thai dessert) another tasty Thai food with unique character, Kao Chae.

Now Kao Chae is catered both on roadside-shops and in restaurants. Kao Chae actually isn’t Thai food. It originated from the people of Mon, cooked to sacrifice Songkran God. Making an original Kao Chae is a complicated procedure. “Kao Chae Sawei” or “Royal court Kao Chae” which we generally know nowadays is Kao Chae with jasmine water, it is served with side dishes which are fried shrimp paste and many color of boiled vegetable. We called “Kao Chae Sawei” because the royal court attendant offer Kao Chae to King Rama V and it became one of his favorite dishes. After 1910, AD Kao Chae become well known widely in villagers and become special menu on Songkran festival.

Momluang Neung Ninrat, the cook for King Rama V , she first brought recipe of Kao Chae to the ordinary thai society. Secret technique, making Kao Chae become a specialty is the way jasmine water is made. We use jasmine to float on the water to give the water fragrant. In the past rain water is used but today mineral water is used instead. Water is kept in clay pot to keep it cool before wasn’t commonly used. Ice was used later on when it was made more easy to find.

Fried shrimp paste is the heart of Kao Chae. People will decide whose Kao Chae is best by tasting fried shrimp paste. We will eat Kao Chae with fried sweet pepper, sweet fish, salty beef, onion, and pork chop mix with fish. Moreover there are boiled vegetable such as cucumber, mango, goat pepper etc. to served with Kao Chae. How to eat Kao Chae… Bring rice pour into jasmine water and add some ice. Have side dish first then follow with fragrant rice.

“Kao Chae” shows Thai culture of consuming which is artistic and neatly culture. Kao Chae is the Thai heritage so we, Thai people should conserve this culture for eternity. Thai food has been accepted all over the world. It is deeply synchronized with the Culture. Kao chae is another wonderful and unique Thai food that has reasonable supports of its origins. It shows the cleverness of adapting to the hot and humid climate (like the Thai house).

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