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Chiang Mai Bread

The wonderful rye bread from Chiang Mai Bread is a masterpiece of bready perfection.

By Nicôle le Strange
Chiang Mai Bread is owned by local baker, Noo, who started her business last year, supplying bread to restaurants, friends, and neighbours, plus selling her products through her local school. When she decided to take her business to Facebook, in order to target the private market, business really started booming.
This year, Noo’s bread has been so successful that she has extended her line, and now offers delicious home-made products to go with her bread; peanut butter (with no added salt or sugar), hummus (with plenty of garlic – yum!), and more recently, a seasonal mango salsa (which I have yet to try).
Another recent innovation is that Noo now makes all of her products 100% vegan. It goes without saying that she only uses natural ingredients too.

The mango salsa is a delight.

It’s no secret that for most Westerners in Chiang Mai, Thai bread leaves a lot to be desired; like a lot of baked goods here, the bread seems to be made from nothing but air and sugar, all held together with a goodly dose of fun! I first came to live here in 2012, and I still cannot get my head around the sweetness of the bread. I bought some rolls the other day - they looked innocent enough; however, they turned out to be closer to currant buns (sans currants) than bread rolls… which might have been okay, had I not filled them with tuna and mayonnaise.
No such issues with Noo’s breads though; whether it’s her baguettes (white and wholemeal), rye bread, or wholewheat loaves, each one is a masterpiece of bready perfection. She offers free delivery within the city limits too (I live on Nimmanhaemin - delivery here is not a problem), and if you are very lucky, your bread will still be warm from the oven when it arrives. In fact, my first delivery not only contained oven-fresh bread but my hummus had also only just been made. That’s what I call fresh! Noo’s peanut butter is utterly delicious too, with a deep, rich, almost smoky flavour. As well as having it on toast, and in peanut butter and jam sandwiches (be still, my rumbling tummy!), it’s great to cook with, especially in curries. And satays too, of course.
Prices range from ?20 for a baguette, up to ?80 for a large rye boule, with the other loaves falling between the two. Hummus comes in three sizes, which are priced between ?70-?250 (sizes 125g-1kg), and peanut butter is ?50 for a 180g jar. The mango salsa is ?150 for 250g.
You can find Noo and her wares on her Facebook page, here https://www. , and place an order by emailing Noo, or her husband, Ruud, at [email protected]

RECIPES BY NOI: Kang Pla Som Yod Som Poi

(Sour Fish soup with Som Poi )

Kang Pla Som is fish soup with sour taste. We can add lime juice or kaffir lime juice to give it sourly but there’s a vegetable that is really perfectly good for the soup as well. We called it Som Poi. This vegetable looks like Acacia /Cha Om but Cha Om is a little bit bitter, Som Poi is sour that’s why we call it Som Poi. Som is sour and Poi is to release or to let go. In this case it means to clear or remove bad things. Another name for the vegetable is Sambong, it has many useful properties in herbal medicines.
It’s one of holy plants in addition to Phudsa (monkey apple leaves) and Bai Nhad (Blumea leave) that we always use to splash holy water to bless people or places good luck and clear bad energies.
I guess Phudsa leaves sounds like Buddha and Bai Nhad has very strong cool smell like mint but is very much stronger so a long time ago when people went into the woods they brought the leaves to keep insects and dangerous creatures away.
Back to our Som Poi, to make holy water it’s a must to have dried Som Poi pods. Collecting the fresh old pods and then sun dry them. Before making holy water we have to grill the pods then soak them in clear water and it will give yellow holly water.
I still have a folk tale and a Buddhist parable about Som Poi but let’s cook first. Next issue I will come back with the stories. So, here are a few steps for coking our soup.
We will start by tying a bunch of young Som Poi leaves together and boil them in hot water together with chili paste (pounded garlic, shallot, fresh chili, turmeric and lemongrass).
Then add chopped fish, salt and maybe kaffir lime juice if you it to be prefer sourer. Then add lemon basil leaves at the end for an extra touch of sour.

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