|Place of origin||Thailand|
|Region or state||Southeast Asia|
Khanom chan (Thai: ขนมชั้น, pronounced [kʰānǒm t͡ɕʰán]) is an ancient Thai khanom, or dessert, made of tapioca flour, rice flour, and coconut milk, among other ingredients. Originating from the Sukhothai Period, the dessert is a staple snack in Thai cuisine, and Thai people usually prepare it for auspicious ceremonies.
Khanom chan is fragrant, subtly sweet, and slightly oily from the addition of the coconut milk; its texture is smooth yet sticky.
Its name derives from two Thai words: “khanom” (Thai: ขนม) meaning "dessert", and “chan” (Thai: ชั้น) meaning "layer" or "layers".
The dessert has its origins in the Sukhothai Period, when foreign trade with China and India contributed to cultural exchanges, including that of food. As a result, the food was developed from ingredients that came from many nations and was adapted to suit the living conditions of local people.
In a complete serving, a minimum of nine layers of the dessert are prepared and eaten. The number nine has connotations of prosperity in the Thai language: "nine" (Thai: เก้า) is a homophone of the phrase "to step forward" (Thai: ก้าว). As a result, khanom chan is often seen as representing prosperity in life and promotion in one's occupation.
Because of its positive connotations, khanom chan is often used in sacred ceremonies such as in home philanthropy or weddings; with nine layers or more the snack is believed to bring happiness and progress for both the maker and eater.
Because of this belief, some areas of Thailand have given the dessert other names to make it more prosperous, such as khanom chan farh (Thai: ขนมชั้นฟ้า).
Khanom chan is made with tapioca flour, arrowroot starch, rice flour, mung bean flour, sugar, coconut milk, and food coloring or pandan juice.
Tapioca flour is used to make the dessert soft, sticky, viscous, and transparent. Arrowroot starch makes the dessert more sticky, but is less transparent than tapioca flour. Rice flour and mung bean flour give it firmness to hold its shape.