Khao Tang Na Tang is a Thai dish of crispy rice squares served with a creamy coconut & peanut spread – typically made with pork. I always loved this dish before I stopped eating meat, and yet have never found a Thai restaurant that offered a vegetarian version of Na Tangs. In fact, I rarely even see this dish on most Thai menus but the flavors are phenomenal. I created a vegetarian version that uses jackfruit instead of pork to great success, if I do say so myself.
Creamy, peanut-y, spicy
“Khao Tang” refers to the rice cakes and “Na Tang” refers to the specific spread that I’m sharing in this recipe today. I couldn’t remember that last time I had Khao Tang Na Tang, though I did know it was in the ball park of 8 years ago at Angkor, a Cambodian/Thai restaurant in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA. Rarely spotted on Thai menus elsewhere, and almost never served as a vegetarian option, I missed this dish a lot. So I finally went ahead and vegetarianized it – in fact, this dish is vegan as well. Replacing the traditional pork with jackfruit felt like a natural choice.
The spread is warm, cozy, and the combination of peanut and coconut is just an automatic winner. It is even better when piled on top of a crispy rice square or cracker. Overall very plain on their own, they are the perfect vehicle for Na Tang. Satisfying crunch from the crispy rice balances the soft jackfruit and creamy sauce. I simply buy rice squares from the Asian grocer, but you can try to make them yourself if you have the time.
Fruit-forward, bold, mild tannin
When it comes to spicy food, you don’t want a lot of tannin and you may also enjoy something just a hair off-dry (just a little! nothing sweet by any means). It helps temper the spice, whereas an excessively tannic and dry wine can amplify the heat from the dish in an uncomfortable way. This 95% Shiraz 5% Viognier did the trick. This wine label has also branded themselves as vegan-friendly, which is always a plus! A red Zinfandel would also be a fabulous option here.
Have you ever had khao tang na tang before? Let me know in the comments!
A spicy and creamy peanut-coconut spread made with jackfruit and served on airy, crunchy puffed rice squares.
- 1 can jackfruit (in brine, NOT syrup!)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, ground
- 1 tbsp peanutbutter
- 1 tbsp hoison sauce
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- salt to taste
- puffed rice squares for serving
- Optional: Lime, cilantro, and carrot for garnish
- Prep your jackfruit. Drain and slice off the hard, solid sections and remove seeds. Separate the soft, pulled-pork-like bits into a bowl for use.
- Add coconut oil to a pan at medium heat. Saute shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes until very lightly browned. Add jackfruit, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after a few minutes to avoid over-cooking the jackfruit. Otherwise, it will get too soft and not have the texture you want.
- While you’re sauteeing your jackfruit, get a sauce pan or small pot going at medium-high heat with the coconut milk, ground roasted peanuts, peanut butter, hoison, and tamarind paste. Allow this to meld together for a bit. Taste occasionally and add salt to taste.
- Once your have your sauce seasoned to perfection, add the jackfruit and allow it to marinate in the sauce for 3-5 minutes. You now have na tang spread!
- Pour your na tang into a bowl and serve with puffed rice squares (available at most Asian grocery stores).
Keywords: thai, cambodian, appetizer, vegan, vegetarian, plantbased, jackfruit, na tang, khao tang, asian