Thai Miang Kham Recipe for Bite Sized Wraps Of Thailand in a Mouthful. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Thai Miang Kham Recipe for Bite Sized Wraps That Are Thailand in a Mouthful

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This Thai miang kham recipe makes the bite-sized wraps that are Thailand in a mouthful, an explosion of quintessential Southeast Asian flavours – sour lime, zingy ginger, crunchy peanuts, crispy shallots, smoky roasted coconut, savoury dried prawns, a kick of chilli, and a sweet yet funky caramelised sauce – wrapped in a wild piper or wild betel leaf.

This easy Thai miang kham recipe will make you the kind of miang kham that you can buy from a vendor at a local market – miang kham is a street food snack after all – pre-packaged from a gourmet supermarket or as an appetiser at a casual Thai restaurant or upmarket café in Thailand’s capital.

One of our best recipes with nuts – crunchy peanuts, crispy shallots, smoky roasted coconut, savoury dried prawns, zingy ginger, sour lime, a kick of chilli, and a sweet yet funky caramelised sauce are wrapped up in the wild piper or wild betel leaf – this won’t make you a posh miang kham.

If you want to make one of the luxurious takes on miang kham, which you’ll find at fancy fine dining restaurants in Bangkok, you’ll need to top your miang kham with plump prawns or sweet lobster, and salmon roe that bursts in your mouth.

Yet it was at a fancy Thai fine diner that we first tasted this traditional street food bite from Northern Thailand, of Mon provenance, said to have been introduced by a Lanna princess to the Siamese royal palace. But it wasn’t at a restaurant in Thailand, it was in Australia.

This Thai miang kham recipe is next in our series of recipes for the dishes in Australia that got us excited about food, as young diners eating out at Sydney’s best restaurants in the 1990s. Some of the dishes became Modern Australian classics, others were relegated to ‘retro’ status and are deserved of a comeback, while others remain iconic.

Those restaurants included Neil Perry’s Rockpool, Tetsuya Wakuda’s Tetsuya, Stefano Manfredi’s Restaurant Manfredi and Bel Mondo, Peter Doyle’s Cicada, David Thompson’s Darley Street Thai, and Christine Manfield’s Paramount and Paragon restaurants, which is where we used to eat the first recipe of the series, the ‘eggplant sandwich’.

Before I tell you about this Thai miang kham recipe, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you enjoyed our recipes and stories, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon. You can become a patron for as little as US$2, $5 or $10 a month.

You can also support our work by using our links in posts to purchase travel insurance, hire a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide; shop our Grantourismo online store (we have fun gifts for foodies); or buy one of these award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, or cookbooks for culinary travellers. Now let me tell you about this Thai miang kham recipe.

Thai Miang Kham Recipe for the Bite Sized Wraps That Are Thailand in Mouthful

It was at David Thompson’s restaurant Darley Street Thai in the mid-1990s that we first sampled miang kham and it was mind-blowing. We’d been eating Thai food for a decade at local neighbourhood Thai eateries in inner-city Sydney and were familiar with Thai cuisine. Yet we’d never eaten anything quite like miang kham.

We remember the experience as if it was yesterday – that first bite and the explosion of flavours that we would come to realise were quintessentially Southeast Asian: lime, ginger, coconut, chilli, peanuts, shallots, palm sugar, and dried shrimp, all wrapped up in a wild betel leaf or wild piper leaf – not a betel leaf, as many misconstrue. More on that under Tips, below.

What we didn’t realise at the time, and wouldn’t for another decade, until our first trip to Thailand, when we finally got to eat miang kham again, was that it was actually a Northern Thai street food snack of Mon origin.

If you’ve travelled in Myanmar, the parts of Northern Thailand that were occupied by the Burmese, or those that were once part of the ancient Mon kingdoms, then you would have spotted and perhaps tasted pickled tea leaves, and will make the connection.

Wrapping food in leaves – not only wild piper leaves, but leaves of lettuce, cabbage and large foraged herbs – is something you’ll find right across northern Southeast Asia, not only in Thailand and Myanmar, but in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The leaves not only serve as a vehicle to transport a variety of elements, but also add freshness to the flavours.

Historically, miang kham was part of a welcome ritual, offered as snacks to visitors – along with betel leaves and tobacco for chewing. It was a gesture of hospitality, which explains the size and form of miang kham. It was finger food.

It’s said that Lanna Princess Dara Rasmi who hailed from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand – and was famous for her lovely long hair, when short styles were the custom among princesses and consorts – introduced and elevated miang kham as a snack to the Siamese court of King Rama V in Bangkok.

This Thai miang kham recipe won’t make you anything so regal, nor the luxurious bites of today’s Michelin-starred restaurants in Thailand. Rather, this is the miang kham of our memories – from that first bite in Sydney all those years ago to the do-it-yourself miang kham we’d nibble on with glasses of white wine at Greyhound Café in The Emporium mall a dozen years ago.

The latter miang kham was part of our Bangkok arrival ritual. Not long after we checked into our hotel room, we’d be on the BTS skytrain on our way to the Emporium where we’d make a beeline for Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya. After, armed with bags of books, we’d call into Greyhound for a nibble and a sip and sigh. After seven years living in the UAE, wine with lunch in a mall was so civilised.

On our way back to the hotel we’d stop at Paragon, where we’d head down to the gourmet supermarket and food hall for supplies. Along with small plastic tubs of nam prik num, a big bag of pork crackling, and a length of sai ou sausage from Chiang Mai, chopped into bite size pieces, we’d buy miang kham with all the ingredients separated into tiny plastic bags, sealed with teensy rubber bands. Not very environmentally friendly, I have to say, but very convenient.

If we were too jet-lagged to go out for dinner later in the evening, we’d be perfectly happy to nibble on our favourite Northern Thai treats in our hotel room and have an early night. It was our ‘welcome to Bangkok’ to ourselves.

Thai Miang Kham Recipe for Bite Sized Wraps Of Thailand in a Mouthful. Copyright © 2021 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Tips to Making This Thai Miang Kham Recipe

Just a few quick tips to making this Thai miang kham recipe as it’s super easy. If you haven’t used Thai-style dried prawns/shrimps before, note that those that will form an element of the ‘salad’ ingredients should be soaked in water first – the longer the better, but for an absolute minimum of 30 minutes.

Leave the dried shrimp/prawns to soak while you’re making the sauce and prepping the other ingredients, then drain and dry them before you prep your leaves.

Next, make your sauce, so it can cool down and thicken while you’re prepping the ‘salad’ ingredients.

Pound some of the ingredients as instructed below in a mortar and pestle first to form a paste, and then add that to the dissolved palm sugar in the sauce pot, then add the toasted coconut, Thai fish sauce and tamarind water/juice.

Don’t simmer the sauce for too long, as it will thicken too much and harden when it’s cool.

While the sauce is cooling, you can prep your ‘salad’ ingredients, ensuring everything is evenly diced into fine cubes – except the chillies, which should be de-seeded and finely chopped. Use gloves when handling the chillies. I didn’t recently and they were more fiery than usual and my finger-tips burnt for a day.

Wash and gently pat down the wild piper leaves and set them aside to dry. Miang kham recipes often mistakenly call the leaves required ‘betel leaves’, which are Piper betle. They’re not the right leaves; they’re used for chewing tobacco and areca nuts, which were also once offered as a gesture of hospitality, so it can be confusing.

The leaves look very similar but what you need are Piper sarmentosum or ‘wild betel’ or ‘wild piper’ leaves. In Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, they’re also called ‘piper lolot’. They are related, however, as they’re both from the Piperaceae family, grow on a vine, and are a cousin to pepper.

In Southeast Asia, you’ll find wild betel or wild piper leaves at markets and good supermarkets. In Thai they are called cha phlu – and in ancient Mon they were japlu and pre-Angkorian Khmer amlu. In Cambodia these days they are called japloo. Outside Asia, you’ll have to look at a specialist Asian grocers.

If you want to serve the miang kham as I have above, lay out the leaves on a serving plate or individual plates, then distribute the ingredients evenly, with a few pieces of each ingredient on each leave.

Take care not to pile the ingredients too high and be too generous, otherwise you won’t be able to wrap the leaves around them to create a package. Add a dollop of sauce to each mound of ingredients and garnish with a few young coriander leaves.

Alternatively, go with the DIY mode of presentation. Pop each of the ingredients in a small bowl or dish, along with the sauce in a separate bowl, and a stack of leaves, then serve all the dishes on a tray.

Provide small spoons for each dish, spoons for guests, a finger bowl of water and lime, and let your guests help themselves.

If you like this and are keen to explore more variations of miang kham, you’ll find recipes for miang with prawns and pomelo, and miang Lao with minced pork, salty dried turnips and pickled mustard greens in David Thompson’s Thai Food cookbook.

If you’re a fan of the chef, you might enjoy this amusing interview with David Thompson we did about his restaurant Aksorn, which opened in Bangkok in 2020.

Thai Miang Kham Recipe

Thai Miang Kham Recipe for Bite Sized Wraps Of Thailand in a Mouthful. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Thai Miang Kham Recipe for the Bite Sized That Are Thailand in a Mouthful

This Thai miang kham recipe makes the one-bite wraps that are Thailand in a mouthful – an explosion of quintessential Thai flavours wrapped in a wild betel leaf: sour lime, zingy ginger, crunchy peanuts, crispy shallots, smoky roasted coconut, dried prawns, a kick of chilli, and a sweet yet funky caramelised sauce.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Finger Food, Snack
Cuisine Thai
Servings made with recipe12 Pieces
Calories 64 kcal



  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp roasted grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp small toasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp dried prawns
  • ½ tsp Thai shrimp paste
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind water/juice


  • 2 tbsp dried prawns
  • 2 tbsp toasted shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp lime - finely diced
  • 2 tbsp ginger - finely diced
  • 2 tbsp purple shallots - finely diced
  • 1 tbsp red birds eye chillies - finely sliced, de-seeded
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 12 wild piper leaves - cleaned and dried


  • In a mortar and pestle, pound the fresh ginger, then add the toasted shredded coconut and pound, then add the toasted peanuts and dried prawns and pound, and lastly add the shrimp paste and pound until everything is combined into a smooth paste, and set aside.
  • In a sauce pot on the stove, heat the palm sugar in the water until dissolved and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the paste you made in the mortar and pestle, and simmer for a couple more minutes until thick and fragrant.
  • Add the toasted coconut, fish sauce and tamarind water/juice, stir to combine, then simmer for another minute. Taste to make sure it’s balanced, adjust if necessary, then remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.
  • While the sauce is cooling and thickening, prep the ‘salad’ ingredients and clean and dry the wild piper leaves.
  • Lay out the leaves on a serving plate and distribute the ingredients, adding a dollop of sauce to each, along with a few coriander leaves. Or, lay everything out in individual dishes on a tray and let guests help themselves.


Calories: 64kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 252mgPotassium: 52mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg

Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this Thai miang kham recipe as we’d love to learn how it turns out for you. And if you enjoyed it, we’d also love a rating.


Lara Dunston Patreon


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

8 thoughts on “Thai Miang Kham Recipe for Bite Sized Wraps That Are Thailand in a Mouthful”

  1. Hi, it’s always daunted me that it had so many ingredients, but we’ve been making lots of Thai so I decided to make them. I still remember them from Nahm in Bangkok, such a flavour explosion!

    We did have to use lettuce leaves, but I’m pretty sure a trip to Thai Town will fix that up for next time!

    Thanks for the recipe and the memories!5 stars

  2. Hi Kate, so pleased you made them and enjoyed them – not sure where you are, but try your nearest specialist Asian grocer, as they may well have the leaves or be able to get them in, but lettuce is delish also. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment!

  3. Lara, made these last night and they were the best! We had your mussaman curry and larb after which we make a lot and love. Only had lettuce for the wraps but I heard there’s a good Asian grocer somewhere in Brissie here so will look him up. I let the sauce simmer too long. Tasted so good, it was just perfect, but put the leftovers in the fridge and dipped my finger in before bed and it was harder than the toffee my dad used to make! Will make these again for sure. Love your recipes!5 stars

  4. Hi Gayle, Thanks for the kind words. So pleased to hear this! Just take the sauce off the stove a bit earlier next time. It will thicken when you let it cool — as you probably realise now :) Gayle, not sure if you’re on Instagram, but there’s a guy in Brisbane — he’s @thaihoa_grocer on IG — and his name is Michael. Message him and see if he has the leaves. The shop is at 8 Corsair Av, Inala Civic Centre. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  5. Tried these on a food tour and they were FANTASTIC. Could not find them again. Didn’t think to look at the supermarket!!! Gobsmacked to discover your recipe and was so excited when they worked. EXACTLY as they tasted in Thailand. Thank you!5 stars

  6. Thanks for the recipe! Can you clarify the difference between, and significance of, the three types of coconuts listed in the ingredients:
    • Toasted shredded coconut
    • Toasted coconut
    • Roasted grated coconut

    I’m not sure how to shop for and/or prep these differences. Thanks!

  7. Hello Brian, thank you so much for this question! It really helps me to know what readers need to know in these kinds of recipe posts. We take so much for granted here in Cambodia, as chef David Thompson in neighbouring Thailand, whose recipe I use, does too!

    Whole fresh coconuts are cracked at our local markets and the white coconut ‘meat’ is chopped into large chunks and thrown into a rather rustic mechanical shredder. Those shredded coconut pieces are larger than the grated coconut pieces. If I was shredding it at home using a box grater (we are very low tech here in our Siem Reap kitchen!!), I’d use the side with the larger holes for ‘shredded’ coconut and the side with smaller holes for grated coconut.

    While ‘roasted’ suggests cooking slow on lower heat (such as roasting/baking in an oven) and ‘toasting’ on high heat under a grill (or broiler if you’re from the USA), here in Southeast Asia it’s a bit ‘same same but different’ as we say. Because we also ‘roast’ dried spices, for instance, in a wok in no time. And I know very few people who actually own an oven in Cambodia!

    In David’s book, he recommends roasting it in an oven on very low – I assume on a baking tray – checking the coconut often and turning it, until it’s golden, fragrant and nutty. I don’t do this and please don’t tell David if you ever meet, as I’ll be in trouble. I scatter it on the tray, roast it on the low shelf on one side until close to golden, slide the tray out of the oven (ie. counter-top toaster oven), then turn it all over and roast it on the other side. To toast the shredded coconut, I scatter it on a baking tray, slide it in on the top shelf with the grill/broiler on, on high heat, and only toast it on one side and I’ll even let it char a little.

    Now having said all that, I hadn’t updated this recipe in a long time, and yet when I last made miang kham, I did things a little differently… I felt that the larger, fresher, lightly toasted shredded coconut worked better in the ‘salad’ (mix of finely diced ingredients), as it had more texture and I still wanted to taste the coconut, and the finer, shredded, slow-roasted coconut worked better in the ‘sauce’. I’ve just adjusted the recipe accordingly (the second ‘toasted coconut’ was a mistake), and I’ll add more text in the notes about the coconut tomorrow.

    Lastly, a confession: we don’t always shop at the markets here, and, sadly, during the peak pandemic periods when our local markets were closed, we shopped mostly in the supermarkets. So I do have some store-bought shredded and grated coconut in the kitchen cupboards, although I mostly use those for baking. If you can’t source fresh coconuts and have them shredded/grated at the market where you live, go for store-bought brands. Amazon has some, so I’ll also add links above. And, if you use shredded or grated and toasted or roasted for both applications (sauce and salad), it’s still going to taste delicious!

    Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have more questions — or drop by to let us know how they turned out. Thanks so much for visiting! :)

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