How could "fried onion" be in a dessert? Some people might question it, but Thai people are familiar with putting together seemingly opposing ingredients and them working very well together. Khao Nom Mo Kaeng is one of those dishes. When you smell fried onion and when you have a bite and taste the smooth of sort of egg custard with beans, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
With this dessert, Alpha already loved the taste of it for many years. And she wanted to know how to make it by herself so she could enjoy it even when she was not in Thailand. It was her first request for this trip to Chiang Mai. She told her friend all about making a Thai authentic dessert that is topped with fried onions and her friend didn't believe that these things exist. I guess now her friend will get to try Kha Nom Mo Keang when Alpha returns.
The dessert itself is different from egg custard desserts such as Sang Kha Ya, another authentic Thai dessert, in that this one is baked in the oven or in a clay grill. Our school taught Sang Kha Ya before as our first class ever. The first difference is that the texture of Sang Kha Ya is smooth and very moist on your tongue and Kha Nom Mo Keang has a firm but equally smooth texture. What Kha Nom Mo Keang offers is more of the nice smell and texture of the beans inside. Even though Kha Nom Mo Keang has beans, that doesn't make the dessert too tough because the beans have been cooked with coconut milk in such a way that it gives only their smoothness and creamy flavour to the dessert.
Would you possibly be seduced by and sign yourself up for the most difficult work? I am sure there could be many personal reasons which sometimes don't make sense for others until they try. But Alpha, simply signed up for Dara Tong (Ja Mong Kut) because the temptation of their finished looks. This was a Hunting the Mystery using pictures of the food. She only googled "Thai dessert" and Ja Mongkut impressed her, but she didn't know the name. So she sent me the picture for me to figure out what it was. The class started from there. This special authentic Thai dessert taste which is rarely offered in the bazaar these days.
As I said, this dessert is one at the top end of time and attention consuming foods to make. Dara Tong (Ja Mong Kut) completely satisfies the senses; the appearance is pleasing to your eyes when it's on the plate; the fragrance is just right as it gets close to your mouth with a blooming scent; the texture pleases the mouth; the taste gives you an experience that convinces the brain that this is fascinating. Putting that together means massive work making a combination of important little things that work well together.
I have to admit that I was concerned about walking Alpha through making Dara Tong because it is very difficult. Even finding Dara Tong in Thailand is very difficult and to find a good one is mission impossible. However, Alpha did the work very well. And I think I know her secret. It could be because she has the patience of a saint with an open mind. She is gifted for desserts especially. And among other things I have known about her, I am sure she will do good with what she dreams for no matter what it is and where she goes.
Ms. Warangkana Masanga
Past Class's Dishes