Just as the name of Marcel Proust is often mentioned along with a reference to the French cookie/cakelet, madeleine, the name of Maria Guyomar de Pinha (Thao Thong Kip Ma ท้าวทองกีบม้า) is almost always invoked at every mention of Portuguese-derived desserts which had been assimilated into Thai cuisine. All this took place in the reign of King Narai the Great (สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช) — the period in 17th century Siam wherein foreign influences abounded politically, linguistically, culturally, and, in this case, culinarily.
Maria Guyomar de Pinha is said to be a Japanese-Portuguese woman who made a definite hand print on the Ayutthaya royal court kitchen, an influence that is still in effect today. Despite the enduring legacy, so very little about the woman is known. While certain aspects of her life have been documented, much information that is in circulation remains unsubstantiated. The little we know about this woman is fascinating, though. I’ll talk more about the woman whom the Thai refer to as Thao Thong Kip Ma in future posts.
For now, let’s focus on one of the desserts which she supposedly introduced to the Siamese court: khanom1 mo kaeng (ขนมหม้อแกง). Continue Reading →