Life on The farm… Thai Potatoes, Rice and Banana leaf wrapped desserts…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Farang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.


It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.


Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom man sampalang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!


Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely when toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.


It was also time to plant some more banana trees bananas we also have trees with bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

The rice crop is growing well but it is hard work when it is farmed the traditional way …Weeding has to be done as if you don’t then your crop will not be as bountiful but it is backbreaking we also harvest it the old way and not by machine as again you don’t get as much rice…But it is all done with a smile and it is a real community event…

         Harvest time- Rice- rural Thailand

Sticky rice and banana parcels made by Tik’s mum…we couldn’t get a smile out of her still…But? I was allowed to take photos for my blog…These banana leaf-wrapped parcels are hand made and sold almost everywhere…Always check the filling though as it varies somewhat…


Everything is ready to make these lovely sticky rice and banana parcels

Bananas cut into halves, uncooked sticky rice ( Khao niao), sugar pot, banana leaves cut into rectangles and bamboo strips to tie the parcels. These are then cooked in hot water for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The halved bananas are rolled in the sticky rice..which is uncooked with a little sugar added.

They are then wrapped in the banana leaves and made into a neat little parcel tied together with the bamboo.

The parcels are then stood upright in a pot of hot water and covered with some bamboo and cooked for 2 to 2/12 hours until the rice is cooked.

sticky rice and banana

When ready you have these lovely parcels of sticky rice …These type of sweet snacks are very popular here …

These ones are what we were given yesterday by one of our Thai neighbours…It is one of the things I love about living here as when I go out walking I see chillies, mushrooms, fish or meat drying in the sun…Like these little parcels below the coconut was hand grated from the drupe, the bean curd mixed in a bowl by hand and grandma was sitting in the shade cutting the squares from the banana leaves always a proper family affair…They are then steamed as the ones above were…Such a lovely pace of family life…

The brown you can see through the yellow outer is coconut mixed with tamarind the yellow is a type of bean curd which is slightly chewy…

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm and can see how many things are still made and harvested the traditional way…

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on 

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol



Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx













14 thoughts on “Life on The farm… Thai Potatoes, Rice and Banana leaf wrapped desserts…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly Roundup…Schooldays, Salpicon and much more | Retired? No one told me!

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        John, I wish that were true..Bread here is something you wouldn’t feed to your worst enemy…The art of bread making should be left to a man who can and most can’t here…Everything else surpasses expectations bread is best left alone or make thy self 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Ahhhh, I would imagine there are many similarities…I will look out for that book not an author I have read…I always enjoy your comments Robbie…Thank you 🙂 xx



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