Lively and bustling the markets here sell everything from meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, curry pastes, rice, clothing, garden pots and knives you name it it is sold here…On a Saturday I will share with you what I have found…I love Saturdays as the small traders come with their produce from their little bit of land this is where I find the unusual the fruits or vegetables which are not raised commercially but just local grown like they have been for centuries…
Today my shopping included some lovely asparagus, gai lan(kai lan) which is a green vegetable with yellow flowers often translates into Cantonese vegetable by the Thais it is similar to broccoli but has much smaller flowers, a stronger taste which is very slightly bitter… a lovely vegetable either lightly steamed or used in a stir fry. Some lovely what I call Brussel tops, limes and mangoes as I need to make more mango chutney…Some lovely yellow Thai fruit which is similar to a plum it is called Ma Prang …Thais liken it to a much smaller mango but to me, the taste and smell are different than mango although the skin is tougher than a plum I think it has a similar texture and taste albeit it is sweeter.
The Toddy Fruit was a discovery though only one stall had very few and they were going like hotcakes…
Toddy Palm or as it is also known Palmyra palm, Doub palm, Tala palm or wine palm.
The fruit or the palm sugar is also used to make a variety of sweet desserts.
Thati Manjula has a sweet taste and gelatin texture which is ideal for a number of sweet dishes such as milkshake by blending with nut milk and adding vanilla and other flavours like cinnamon, cardamom or rose-water and can also be enjoyed chilled.
Make payasam by heating nut milk, coconut milk and palm sugar. Add coconut powder and almond flour to thicken the mixture. Finally, pour into a mould here a folded banana leaf would be used and allow it to cool. Add chopped tropical fruits like pineapple or mango, shredded coconut and or nuts it is now ready to eat.
More interesting facts about the Toddy Palm.
It is a huge palm which can reach 30 metres in height and is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
The fruit which grows in clusters is hard-shelled and needs to be opened by someone who has a sharp machete. This lady looks very adept with her knife unlike me who is quite liable to lose a few fingers.
Traditionally the sap is collected by tapping the top shoots and hanging and collecting the dripping sap in earthenware pots. The juice which is collected in the mornings is refreshing and light with a sweet sugary taste.
This fruit ferments very quickly and juice collected in the evening after fermentation is a sour fermented beverage.
Toddy sap fermented is called arrack or when concentrated to a crude sugar called Jaggery.
What is Jaggery?
Jaggery is sometimes called non-centrifugal sugar because it is not spun during processing thus removing the nutritious molasses. Jaggery is found all over Asia but called by different names.
Namtam tanode here in Thailand, Gur in India, Panela in Columbia, Gula Melaka in Malaysia.
Is it more nutritious than sugar?
Jaggery contains more nutrients than refined sugar due to its molasses content.
The tree sap is also a laxative and believed to have medicinal properties.
It is purely organic and a natural coolant for the body. It is known to contain Vitamins A, B-complex and C. It is also known to contain essential minerals like zinc, potassium, iron and calcium. It is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
It can be used to treat nausea and vomiting and also worm infestation.
The sap is used as a tonic, laxative, for treating ulcers and liver problems. The pulp of the fruit is known to cure a number of inflammatory conditions of the skin.
Like a lot of trees and plants, their leaves and bark have many uses. The skin of the stem is used to make rope or woven into cots. The leaves are used to make hand fans, mats, hats, umbrellas and used as writing materials. The tree trunks are used to make canoes in Cambodia.
The Palmyra tree is the official tree of Tamil Nadu. Highly respected in Tamil culture, it is called Karp aha Veruksham (celestial tree) this is because all its parts have a use.
This fruit is not available in Europe or the US although it is sold in cans and it’s derivatives like palm sugar should be available.
I hope you enjoyed reading and learning a little about this very versatile tree and its fruit.
Lots of ants eggs, rats, fried insects, dried fish some of which I have not seen before and are locally caught. It seems to be the season for ant eggs and Meliantha which is a lovely green herb which is used to make ant egg soup.
Today there seemed to be lots of various other unknown delicacies and ones which just looked …mmmmmm… questionable even to me…lol
I will leave them for another day when my daughter-in-law is with me and can translate and advise me…
Thank you for reading this post I hope you have enjoyed xxx
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.
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!
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous weekend xxx