.........…….Thai dessert has taking its part at different merit making since the past for Thai people making special desserts. Especially for merit making that means once in a year making that kind of dessert. Because making that dessert is too difficult and use encouragement from several people that joint together in making that dessert in a great volume. The rest of that dessert will be distributed to neighbors and keep themselves. These desserts can be called according to its occasion.
Caramel for Thai New Year... From the past Thais considered Songkran day was the New Year’s day before the government of Field Marshal Phibul Songkram declared 1st January is the New Year’s day under the international calender since B.E. 2484 (1941) until at present. Formerly the New Year celebrations declared on the same day and considered 13 April is the Thai New Year’s day falls between April 13 and 14 April is the day to be happy and 15 April is the beginning of New Era of little era following the solar eclipse. Making of Thai desserts at that time should be finished before the coming of New Year. Because the people had to do merit and these dessert will be offer to the monk and pagoda at the temple.
Songkran day or Thai New Year’s day was to bless water on the head that lasted to 7 days. Thai desserts was the native dessert made and can keep longer time like glutinious crystal or kaoniao kaew, kaoniao daeng and caramel. From the three desserts, grinding caramel was considered that Thais do it regularly every year and mostly do kaoniao kaew, kaoniao daeng but some have to alternate in making desserts. Because these two desserts were easily done, or else if any family wanted to make caramel otherwise they are a big family to grind the caramel, with numbers of relatives. Because making caramel needs a lot of people to stir. The atmosphere in making caramel were very enjoyable, everybody help each other to prepare about 2 days. Especially children the niece nephew which they were enjoy during these moment not only to eat caramel at the bottom of the pan. The children can also eat burned coconut, burned sugarcane. Stirring caramel used only palm sugar or sugar in the can, coconut and glutunious rice. Before string on day the neighbour choice the ripe coconut about 10-15 to press the coconut cream in different volume and depend its skilled of stirring whether the glutunious consist with of how many coconut were to used and how much the volume of sugar to be used. The first step were to soak the glutunious rice on the water to put on the stone pot. It should assured to use a strong person to help grinding the glutunious rice, grinding started from afternoon and finished about 3-4 evening of the same day.
Then place with flour in the grinding machine and let the water out until only become the flour. The elder should wake up early in the moning about three in the morning on the next day to help making the desserts, the lightning from the lamp and torch whill be lighted to allow the children see or heard the sound of elder’s talking and will also participated the gathering. Some will come to volunteer, helping to press the coconut in great number. Then press to have the cream and put jasmine flower on the water and strain, and separated the concentrated cream and diluted coconut cream. Put the concentrated coconut cream on the big pan, stir with paddle until it will separted each other then take out to put on the container.
The next step were to put the prepared flour on the basin add the diluted coconut cream add with palm sugar then mix together then put on the pan with lotus leaves were the iron pan of big size placed on the oven. Then put on the ground, then started to stir the caramel since nine o’clock . The first time flour still in fluid and it were easy to stir. This time children were happy and tried to ask the elder to help the punching. But at the same time also dig the pan to avoid not the flour stick on the bottom of the pan and make the flour sticky. Children should be careful not to separate and not foamy otherwise it will break out because when skin become foamy and break it hurt the skin. At this time the elder mostly do their self, some will set the fire strongly and some will make it steady. Until the colour of the flour change its colour to light brown then gradually dark brown. At this time the flour and sugar become sticky in first stage. Then stir more strongly and about 6 evening of that day the caramel become black and sticky that almost could not stir and need the second paddle to assist in stirring. Otherwise the pan will burn. If we the pan almost bur then gradually add concentrated coconut cream immediately. Gently pour it and about afternoon started to getting dark the caramel stir become enough sticky. Gradually lesser the fire to avoid the bottom of pan burn then use the second paddle spoon the caramel and put on flat basket covered with betel husk that makes the caramel aromatic smell than banana leaves as the last step of making caramel and keep for the next day. Most children could not help each other they gradually come to grate the caramel that stick on the pan to eat deliciously. Some ate young coconut, sugar and place on the fire to make it aromatic smells. At present the tradition in making new year desserts become caramel, glutinous rice sweetmeat with coconut milk and palm sugar, glutinous rice sweetmeat which is not famous at these day. Because most people will have to buy other present to other people on New Year’s day.
However these three desserts will never gone forever from Thai society becase everynowaday still seen caramel wrap in small black paper and seem delectable sold with glutinous rice sweetmeat, glutinous rice sweetmeat with coconut milk and palm sugar on Thai shop in general. Moreover these desserts is not only for specific at new year’s day of Thai only.
Sart Thai Festival
Sart Thai festival is a merit offering for the dead one. In the central region houses are getting together from the villages for the procession of Sart in merit making to pay for the Buddhist monk consist with beautiful half ripe banana. In the South the Sart festival or so far called in general as Sart Festival for Month 10, a big traditional festival for the year prepared by the provinces. Especially in Nakorn Srithammart it is highly prepared. The desserts for Sart festival for month 10 of the Southern are in various kinds such as khanom La, khanom Ba, khanom Dechum, khanom Pong, khanom kai pla, khanomko, khanom daeng etc.
Out of the Buddhist Lent or offering food to Buddhist priest
(Tak Bart Tevo)
Khao Tom Mad or Khao Tom Phad is the best dessert offer during the Buddhist lent or offering food to Buddhist priest for the central. It will wrap and tight with banana leaves and banana string fiber. For the South it is wrapping in shape of cone using palm string fiber but not tighten. Some locality is in lump shape with baitoey or sugarcane leaves with long tail so far called as "khao tom lukyon," Preparing khao tom mad to offer for the Buddhist priest had become the tradition with aims as the food for Buddhist monk to travel to spread the religious teaching and that is the beginning then.
For various auspicious occasion of Thai like wedding, length of life merit making, entering new house, entering to monkhood etc. Thai dessert has the part for sweets prepared to offer to the Buddhist monk and sweet food to offer for the guest or visitors. Because of the belief that continuously inherits Thai dessert is a special food for the person of good deeds. Sweet will help enjoyment, friendship and love. Therefore it may refer for that society that Thai dessert is meaningful about good deeds, love, happiness and cooperation.
Offering Food to the Monk
The famous Thai dessert offer to the monk during auspicious occasion such as thong yip (sweet egg petals), thong yod (sweet egg drops), foi thong (sweet egg shred), thong ek. The desserts having auspicious name are khanom tuay fo, khanom chan etc. and dessert specially use for the procession of entering to buddhis monk, wedding ceremony are khanom kong, khanom samklua, khanom prapai, khanon prongsaem, khanom chamod etc. The dessert use for the thirteen chapters of the Maha Chat are khanom na nual, khanom chan, khanom pakbua, khanomping, khanom thong muan etc.
Dessert use for different auspicious occasion has auspicious name with good meaning such as:
* khanom kong or khanom kong kiwian the meaning is the kong kiwian that will rotates in the front like Buddha's teaching with its meaning that define about the wedding is that the two couples love each other forever.
* Khanom sam klua a sweets that showing cooperation and no way to leave each other use as sweet for auspicious wedding day. The shape of khanom sam klua is in three rounds, greeting can see after telling the result, if the result that the three rounds still connected to each other it means the couples love each other happily. If the result that two rounds connected it shows to have children or nothing, however if the three rounds are not connected to each other. It shows that the life of the couples are not lasting or no happiness, one thing if the result that the khanom sam klua will risely flow it means that the two are mean to each other. But if after the result is the other side is not swollen it means that it is not meaningful.
The reason why Thai people at the ancient times use the above desserts during auspicious occasion. Because the names are meaningful with the word "thong (gold). Moreover Thai people considered that gold is precious, which in having the word "thong (gold) use for auspicious occasion to have good merit, have money and gold, rank, happiness, famous name.
……………….apart from making merit and auspicious occasion, during the ancient times, the new party for wealthy people and good merit government official, are invited by the community to eat the dessert. The dessert use to offer during this event is khanom si tuay namely: khanom khai kop or menglak seed, khanom nok ploi or lodchong, khanom bangloi or khao mao and khanom idu or black glutinous rice. The four desserts will be eaten with coconut milk so far called that the one deliciously eaten and comfortable for stomach, the one prepare will have the merit and the one who spend money to invited people are also happy for making merit of Thai dessert like the dessert for rising the rank.
- Office of the National Culture Commission