Miang kum is a popular Thai dish consisting of coconut, peanuts, ginger, lime, chilies, shallots, and dried shrimp topped off with a sweet sauce and wrapped up in a fresh betel leaf. The entire bundle is eaten in one bite creating an amazing burst of flavor in the mouth! When Robert and I were in Thailand last March, we discovered miang kum candy. Like the dish it is based on, this miang kum candy was sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy and totally addictive. We bought all of the packages we could find to take home with us even though I fully expected that I would be able to find it at Uwajimaya. Unfortunately, I was wrong! I haven’t been able to find my beloved miang kum candy anywhere!

Since I can’t find miang kum candy in Seattle, I decided to experiment with making my own. I know next to nothing about making candy so I wasn’t really sure where to begin. A search for coconut candy on the internet resulted in many recipes for soft, red and green dyed coconut squares – not even close to what I was looking for. Then I remembered those light and crispy sesame candies that you sometimes find in Mexican and Asian stores. That was exactly the type of candy base I needed. I quickly found a sesame candy recipe that couldn’t be simpler: heat brown sugar and honey in a pot, add sesame seeds (or, in my case, miang kum ingredients) and then spread out on parchment to cool. For the most part, I used fresh ingredients just as you would use for real miang kum: fresh ginger, fresh lime zest, etc. My only concessions were to replace fresh Thai bird chilies with cayenne pepper and to use caramelized shallots instead of raw shallots (nobody wants raw shallots in their candy!)

I was doubtful that these would turn out on my first try, but the flavor ended up being spot on! My candies tasted even more like real miang kum than the candy we had in Thailand (probably a result of my using fresh ingredients.) The only downside is that they never hardened up as I expected they would. I wanted something crispy, but these were more like miang kum “chews.” Maybe the fresh ingredients that I used added just enough moisture to the mix to prevent it from hardening fully. Still, they tasted great and I found myself snacking on more than I probably should. Robert went crazy for them and took the leftovers to work to share. If you are craving a mixture of spicy and sweet, take a walk on the wild side with this exotic and unique treat.

Miang Kum Candy

½ cup finely-shredded unsweetened dried coconut
¼ cup coarsely ground peanuts
zest of one lime (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons powdered dried shrimp*
1 teaspoon powdered crispy shallots**
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey

In a small bowl, stir together the coconut, peanuts, lime zest, ginger, shrimp, shallots, cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar and honey over low heat, stirring often, until the brown sugar is melted and the mixture is thickened (about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat and stir in the coconut mixture until well blended. Pour out onto a piece of parchment paper and spread flat using the back of a spoon or spatula. When the mixture has cooled enough to handle, break off small pieces and form into balls or small domes. Leave out on the parchment to cool thoroughly.

Makes about 20 candies

*Dried shrimp can be found in most Asian markets. It is a common ingredient in Thai cooking. To make the powdered dried shrimp for this recipe, I simply put a small amount of dried shrimp in a small food processor (or you could use a clean coffee grinder) and processed until finely ground.

**To make crispy shallots, peel a couple of shallots and cut into thin slices. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a small pot over medium heat and fry the shallots, stirring often, until deep golden brown (15 to 20 minutes.) For this recipe, place a small amount of crispy shallots in a small food processor or coffee grinder and process until finely ground. This recipe calls for such a small amount of shallots, that you will surely have leftovers. They are great as a garnish for basmati rice or Thai massaman curry. Or, you could simply leave them out and still end up with delicious candies.


  1. LOVE! Get the texture right and you might just have to get a license and some samples to take around to local shops.

    Comment by Katie — December 10, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  2. Hi Ellen- These were DELICIOUS! Great job!

    -Erika (Robert’s co-worker)

    P.S- Feel free to make us Golden Lassoers your official taste testers :)

    Comment by Erika — December 12, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  3. Miang Kum Candy looks scrumptastic. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. Can’t wait to get started.

    Comment by Candy — March 19, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  4. Dear Elli,

    I am very glad that you published your recipe for Miang Kum or Miang Kham or however one wants to spell it. And I can already see that the taste will be just right! :)

    I will definitely try your version, but I do not have a kitchen currently and it will take some time.

    I am very curious where you found these candies in Thailand. So far, I found them only at one place close to Prachuap Khiri Khan, at Baan Krud. I asked around alot, but so far, nobody knows them. They are delicious and I would like to buy lots of them as presents.

    I would appreciate your help!

    Thanks, Dorrie

    Comment by Dorrie — March 8, 2011 @ 2:21 am

  5. Hi Dorrie. The only place I found these candies was at a 7-11 on Koh Lanta and that was several years ago. I’m sorry that you are having such a hard time finding them. I was hoping that they would become such a popular item in Thailand that they would eventually be imported to the US so that I could get my hands on some!

    Good luck!

    Comment by elliemay — March 10, 2011 @ 7:39 am

  6. Thank you!

    Well, I know where to get them, it’s about 60 km from my home – and that’s the only place I know so far (my neighbor brought them for me). I will check all the 7-11 in Krabi, where we currently stay for a few days.

    Unfortunately they haven’t got famous yet!

    Comment by Dorrie — March 11, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

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