Posted: April 9, 2012
Whenever April approaches, those living in Thailand can expect the month to come with the yearly traditions of the Songkran festival, generous work breaks and the unwelcome summer weather at its peak. Of course, this month also brings along its celebratory vibes, and among all the highlights that are part of this season is included a unique Thai dish: “Khao Chae”.
“Khao” means rice and “Chae” means to soak in water, named after the heart of the dish that gives this cuisine its memorable character. The rice is not served and eaten on its own as we usually know it, but immersed in chilled jasmine scented water which makes this truly distinctive. It is served alongside condiments such as Fried Shrimp Paste Balls, Steamed Stuffed Bell Pepper with Minced Chicken & Shrimp, Sweet Shredded Fish, Fried Stuffed Shallots with Ground Catfish, Deep-fried Sweet Pork Strips, and Sauted Slices of Preserved Radish and Eggs.
With many small dishes displayed in front of you all at once, it can get a little confusing on where to start, especially for first timers. Eating Khao Chae isn't just simply picking anything at random and enjoying it as you please; rather, it is advised that you follow certain rules, in order to completely experience the variety of taste in this dish.
Firstly, fill your rice bowl with the chilled Jasmine scented water and eat a spoonful followed by the condiments. It is suggested that you start with the condiment that has the mildest taste and work your way through to the one with the strongest taste. Lastly, do not mix the condiments in your rice bowl as this will spoil the unique taste and scent of the rice soaked in jasmine water.
Khao Chae is served only once a year, therefore it is widely considered a delicacy. Amongst the vast array of incredible Thai dishes out there, Khao Chae is considered to be the kindest to us during the hot weather, an antidote to the heat. If you’re looking to try it out, Celadon is serving this essential summer treat only until the 30th of April, so make sure you don’t miss it or else you might have to wait until next year!
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