The intricate hand-pinched folds in the famous “Kanom Jeeb Thai” dumplings were once described by King Rama II as reminiscent of the soft flowing ripples in a Thai female’s traditional attire.
It was during this period, from 1809 – 1824, that Royal Thai cuisine was approaching its peak – a time when the preparation of food in the country was proudly revered and practiced as an art. Using a pair of tweezers called a ‘Nab’ in Thai, each and every kanom jeeb dumpling is crafted by patiently nipping the dough until evenly pinched ribs surround the the entire pastry.
Royal Thai dumplings are not to be confused with Chinese ‘kanom jeeb’ which are frequently available in Thai restaurants. Those are prepared with yellow wonton wrappers and stuffed with basic fillings that can quickly be prepared for the masses.
Unlike the Chinese variation of these dumplings, the Royal Thai version doesn’t use prefabricated wrappers, but rather a hand-made dough like pastry assembled by kneading together a variety of fine Asian flours.
In order to make kanom jeeb correctly, one must pay meticulous attention to rolling the outer casing in an even thickness while focusing on the tiniest of presentation details. The dough doesn’t need to be as thin as possible, but rather precisely consistent through and through.
The goal of each Royal Thai kanom jeeb dumpling is to create a perfect balance of pastry dough and harmonize it with the flavors of the stuffing.
Although I have seen some very Alpha Male Thai Guys roll a fine dumpling, the craftsmanship of this little royal morsel is meant to represent the delicate beauty of femininity.
A patient controlled mind is an essential ingredient in a successful kanom jeeb!