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FOOD FROM THE FOREST

THE COOL SEASON (October to February)

As day shorten and the weather cools, the verdant growth of the rainy season is repeated by flowers and fruits as the wild vegetables seek to produce the seeds they need to multiply their kind. Rich picking are now available to the forest gather.
food image Paak gaad, a wild lettuce, is picked for its young leaves and flowers. These are to used in gaeng dishes or dipped into nam prik.
food image Naam tao, or Ga naam is Lanna dialect is a kind of bottle gourd or calabash. It can be dried and used is gaeng or boiled and used as a nam prik dip.
food image Toon, a plant, with no common English name, is valued for its arrow shaped leaves and its thick, spongy stems. The leaves are good in gaeng, while the stems are a useful, fresh vegetable.
food image Tua poo, or known as tua phoo in the north, is called winged bean in English. It is used in many ways, especially in fish cakes, tod man pla, and the wonderful spicy salad yum tua phoo. This amazing plant of which pots, tender shoots, and tubes can be eaten is said to have the most protein of any vegetable in the world.
food image Dawkkhae, the flowers of a woods shrub, give an unusual slightly sweet flower to curries and nam prik dips. Flowers are often eater in Thailand and we should not forget that many familiar garden flowers were originally grown for their tasty bloom.
food image Hed lom, a forest mushroom is abundant is the cool season. Tastier than cultivated species and with numerous medicinal uses, they are eaten in the vegetable dish gaeng khae ruam, and with other mixed vegetable dishes.
food image Tua faak yao, called tua pee in the northern language, is better known as yard long bean because of its elongated pods. It is widely cultivated in kitchen garden and eaten cooked, in a wide range of dishes or raw as an accompaniment to nam prik, or som tam, Thailand's famous popular salad.
food image Tua paeb, or ba paeb in Lanna speech is known in English as hyacinth bean because of its flowers. The pods are used, when available, to dip in nam prik or in gaeng.
food image Faak kiew, or faak lek in the northern language, is known as the ash pumpkin. Though much of the fruit is water the numerous minerals it contains make it an effective tonic. It is used in gaeng and dipped in nam prik.
food image Pak good, is a fine-leaved fern, thriving in the forest leaf mulch after the rains. Often used as a condiment with other raw leaves, it is also dipped in nam prik.
food image Krad hua waen, or paak ped in northern thai, with flower heads like jewels set in a ring, is used when available, in gaeng khae, in which the flowers themselves are used. The leaves are also dipped in local chilli sauces.
food image Faak thong, or faak kaew in Lanna dialect, is better know as the pumpkin. It is highly versatile being used is gaeng, steamed or fried and dipped in nam prik, as a part of vegetable dishes and, of course, as a dessert.
food image Sadao, known as sariem in the north, is the famous neem tree, widely used as a natural insecticide. Strangely, the leaves and flower of this tree are quite delicious and may be stir fried as a side dish, or dipped raw into chilli sauces.
food image Salae has no common English name. The flower of this climbing plant, looking like tiny broccoli heads are esteemed as nam prik dips and a flavoring for curries.
food image Paak khee sied, a kind of grass, has similar uses to salae. It looks much like the western herb, thyme, but the taste is quite different. Many domestic animals know this herb as a nutrient rich medicinal plant.
food image Paak khee hood, a wild kind of bean, is harvested while the pods are still green. Those are then added to vegetable gaeng and also dipped into the many chilli sauces called nam prik.

 

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