Hot, sweet, salty and sour wraps

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Leaf wraps, mien kum, are sold by hawkers in their components, neatly poly-bagged in kit form, for home assembly. Wedges of fresh mango are also sold bagged with a similar hot peanut sauce. Pre-shredded and toasted coconut can be had from Thai food stores. It’s table-assembly food. DIY stuff. So platter up all the ingredients, then get piling, saucing and folding.


  • 20 cha phlu, betel or regular lettuce leaves
  • ¼ fresh coconut, flesh shaved into small shreds and pan-toasted
  • small handful of dried shrimp
  • handful of lightly toasted peanuts
  • 4 cm piece fresh galangal or root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 limes, finely chopped (skin on)
  • a few tiny hot chillies (optional)

Peanut jam sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 small shallots, chopped
  • 5 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp toasted crushed peanuts
  • 3 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar or muscovado sugar


For the sauce, blast the garlic, half the shallots and half the ginger in a processor until well chopped but not mushed, then put with the next four sauce ingredients and 200 ml water in a saucepan and bubble up until thickened, sticky, dark and caramelized - about 10 minutes. Add a touch more liquid if it sets too thick. Leave to cool.

Arrange all the remaining ingredients, including the remaining shallots and ginger, in separate little piles on a platter, putting the peanut jam sauce in a small bowl in the middle. To eat, teaspoon a little of the sauce on to a leaf, then pile on spare amounts of everything else, fold around and eat. Whole chillies are only for the Scoville baptized and initiated.