(Flavors of Childhood)
Fermented Rice Noodle aka Kanom Jin (ขนมจีนแป้งหมัก)
Kanom jin has long been in my repertoire not just because I am Thai but because my preference for it. I could pretty much eat Kanom jin with anything from the classic green curry, papaya salad, and grilled pork on sticks. I had a chance to go and make Kanom Jin from scratch with the community in Suphanburi where the farmers have started to turn their rice fields into organic/pesticide/ chemical free space for the sake of all rice consumers throughout the country. They are also working on bringing back the indigenous rice varieties that was once originated here in Thailand. Again all things are bigger if only you take a closer look at them…believe it or not; there are many different kind of rice besides Jasmine and Sao-hai.
Anyway let’s get to the point of Kanom Jin making with the local wisdom, shall we? To make it from scratch is such a time consuming process.
First: The rice needed to be soaked and fermented in the warm weather for 2-3 days while the water must be changed daily
Second: The rice were strained and mash with the manual grinder, hang dry to get all the water out and the fermented rice starch are archived
Third: The balls of fermented rice starch were cooked in a pot of boiling water just until the outside is soft …see pictures below with the genius way of tiding the natural strings around the balls
Forth: The cooked balls were kneaded in the big mortar and pestle (the pure elbow grease way of pounding) before slowly adding water to make a semi-thick batter mass
Fifth: The batter were pressed into the simmering water with the right rhythm and the space above the water which define how thick and thin and the length of the noodle itself
Sixth: The cooked noodles were removed and put into a room temperature bowl before forming into portions and rest on the once again the natural rack made from branches with the leaves attached
Well now I am sure that’s quite a process but it’s always fun to learn things from its origin. Next time I will work on the home made rice noodle with less process … so everyone can enjoy…I can’t promise it will be as good as the originals but will give you some ideas to try it at home and maybe this will be in your children’s flavors of childhood just like it did with mine.