How to fold refreshing Thai wet napkins
When I was in Thailand last winter, I had the opportunity to work with several talented cooks and eat at many great Thai restaurants. Almost every meal started with beautifully folded, delicately scented, cold, wet napkins. This is a great way to start a meal!
Folded rose wet napkins
Every Thai restaurant has a unique way of folding their napkins and many have unique scents. In Thailand, where it is very humid, the napkins were always served cold. In Japan, they have a similar tradition called o-shibori. In the summer, napkins are served cold and in the winter they are served hot. I love this tradition. Hot or cold, it is such a nice way to start a meal. I had to learn how to do it.
Start with a scent
There are a variety of ways to scent your napkins. You can use essential oils like this lemon grass oil I brought back from Thailand. Amazon sells a variety of essential oils. Or you can use lemon water, or a few drops of rose water or orange flower water.
Prepare a large bowl of water and add some of your chosen scent. Buy some inexpensive white wash cloths. You want thin ones, not thick plushy ones. I bought a stack of them at Costco. Dip each washcloth in the scented water and wring out most of the water, then follow these steps:
If you want to make hot napkins for the winter, roll the towels the same way, put them in a roasting pan and cover with foil. Put the pan in a 275 degree oven for 20 minutes before serving the napkins. Check the napkin temperature to make sure they are not too hot before serving.
Your guests will be wowed!
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Thai-style recipes to serve with your napkins
- Thai-style meatballs in lettuce cups
- Thai pomelo and chicken salad (my favorite!)
- Sticky rice with mango
- Thai pearl cocktail
- Thai chicken coconut soup
- Thai-style grilled flank salad
- Asparagus and shiitake mushrooms in oyster sauce