When we're wet marketing, we don't cruise aisles solely in search of strange ingredients or photogenic smiles. We're also on the lookout for edible souvenirs. In the front section of Bangkok's Klong Toey market we became re-acquainted with khao giep, a treat we'd encountered years before at a shack in the shadow of Ayutthaya.
Khao giep is, essentially, coconut leather. It's made from grated coconut mixed with palm sugar and, in this case, black sesame seeds. The mixture is shaped into balls, flattened into discs, sun-dried, and sold in twine-tied stacks. These particular khao giep, we learned, were made in Phetburi.
In Ayutthaya we watched as a khao giep maker warmed her khao giep on a griddle and then shaped them into a tube by rolling them around a piece of bamboo. They can also be cooked over a grill or an open flame, according to our Klong Toey vendor. Here at home I slip them under the broiler for 20 seconds or so. When pulled out of the oven they flop away from the tongs but then quickly stiffen as they cool, resulting in a crispy wafer with a bit of chew. After six months in the fridge they're still fantastically coconut. Letting them go a bit dark brings out the caramel tones of the palm sugar.
Well worth keeping an eye out for, should you find yourself in a Thai wet market. A stack of 20 costs all of 25 baht (around 70 US cents).