Bangkok Meal in a Leaf

Your 5-minute lunch in a leaf of kale or chard! My favorite Thai appetizer, Mieng Kum, is a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds, with every known flavor in each bite: sweet, pungent, sour, salty, and spicy. Easy to prepare, this Paleo version makes a healthy lunch or snack. Vary the recipe according to your taste, your diet, and ingredients you have on hand. The basic idea is to wrap foods in a leaf, with an amazing Asian sauce. If you order this in a Thai restaurant, the sauce is likely loaded with refined sugar and corn syrup. However this easy blended sauce uses your choice of healthy Paleo sweeteners, to give your blood sugar a break. I used wild fish and almonds, however you can make your version vegan, tree-nut free, and nightshade-free, since the meat, nuts, and peppers are all optional. The exotic spices are easy to find – I got them at Whole Foods Market. You can wrap with collard greens, chard, kale, or lettuce leaves. I prefer the tender and slightly sturdier collard greens if you have them. You can even make this lunch to-go by putting the filling and sauce in a container, and packing the leaves separately so they don’t get soggy. Then wrap it as you eat. Serves 2.

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Clockwise from lower left: cilantro, wild salmon, green onions, sliced bell pepper, Spicy Asian Sauce, sprouts, red bell peppers, toasted almonds, collard greens, toasted coconut flakes.

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Thai Lunch in a Leaf

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Ingredients

    For the Wrap:
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • 1/2 pound wild fish such as salmon or halibut (meat is optional)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, soaked and toasted if possible, see All About Nuts, optional
  • 2 green onions, green part only, sliced
  • 1/2 grated carrot, or 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 cup sprouts of any kind (I used sunflower sprouts)
  • 4 leaves collard greens or chard leaves to wrap
  • Garnish with plenty of fresh basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley
  • Spicy Asian Sauce
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, in chunks
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root, diced
  • 1 lime peeled and cut in chunks, or 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon unprocessed salt
  • 2 green onions, white part only, sliced
  • Sweeten to taste with 4 teaspoons Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener, 3/4 teaspoon PureLo Lo Han Sweetener by Swanson, or 1 tablespoon raw honey, or your favorite sweetener.
  • 3 tablespoons raw cashews or coconut butter
  • Optional Sauce Ingredients to send it right over the top!
  • 2 teaspoons Red Boat Fish Sauce (Find it at Whole Foods Market)
  • 2 slices fresh Thai ginger, diced, or dry galangal root, soaked 10 minutes in hot water
  • 2 dried Kaffir lime leaves, soaked 10 minutes in hot water
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon liquid coconut aminos
  • 1/4 teaspoon tamarind paste or apple cider vinegar

Instructions

    For the Wrap:
  1. To toast the coconut, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small baking dish, toast the coconut for about 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it, as it burns easily. When it barely begins to turn golden remove from oven immediately. Place in a small serving bowl.
  2. To cook the fish, place fillet in a shallow pan with 1/4-inch filtered water over medium high heat. Bring water to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down very low to steam the fish 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness. When the salmon turns light, or the fish is a bit flaky, remove from heat. Allow it to cool, remove skin and bones, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Prep the veggies and put them in serving dishes, if you like to assemble wraps at the table.
  4. Spicy Asian Sauce:
  5. Place all sauce ingredients in a small blender or food processor. Process until thick and creamy. Don’t worry if you don’t have the optional ingredients. It will be great all the same. Pour sauce into a serving bowl.
  6. Assemble Wraps:
  7. Start with a big collard leaf. Put your fillings on top and spoon lots of sauce on it. Wrap it up and enjoy!