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Thai Food Treasures

Thailand, a treasure trove of sunshine, sandy shores and rich heritage has a lot to offer when it comes to its cuisine as well. The food entices with its tropical taste, wholesome ingredients, pleasant aroma that lingers and just the right hint of spices. Think crunchy noodles, gently cooked stir-fry dishes, one-pan broths, fiery red curries, steamed delicacies and more. Here we have Gopal Jha, Executive Chef, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, Chef Yam Bahadur Thapa, Asian Sous Chef at Brigade Hospitality Services Limited and Stephane Calvet, Executive Chef, Far & East in Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru who share their take on the top Thai food treasures.

Pad Thai Noodle

Gopal Jha, Executive Chef, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach 

Pad Thai is a rice-based flat noodle and thus can be given as a substitute to those who are allergic to gluten. One of the reasons why this is so popular is its taste that brings in varied flavours of sweet, sour, spicy and tangy together. Another reason is that this noodle can be had as a meal on its own.

To make the noodles at home, you have to soak it in water first and then blanche it. Ensure that you do not cook it for too long as it will become sticky due to the rice content. For that perfect blend, add in the vegetables, sauce, onion slices, lime juice as well as palm sugar that will lend the natural sweetness. One of the keys to nailing this dish is adding crushed roasted peanuts at the end along with fresh red Thai chilli.

Chef Yam Bahadur Thapa, Asian Sous Chef at Brigade Hospitality Services Limited

It’s a rehydrated dried rice flat noodle that is blanched in warm water and stir-fried with vegies or egg, tofu, dry shrimp and beans sprouts. This is flavoured with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, garlic or shallots, red chilli pepper and palm sugar. The Thai favourite is served with lime wedges and roasted peanuts. It offers a vibrant appeal due to the fish sauce (for veg pad Thai, avoid fish sauce), sour taste from tamarind paste and sweet flavour from plum sugar. Also, remember to always sprinkle the dish with roasted crushed peanuts.

Khao suey

Executive Chef Gopal Jha

Khao suey is a vermi soup that has a base of curry and coconut flavour. You can prepare the stock and serve it separately with the other accompaniments. To master this dish, keep in mind the ratio which is always 2:1 (2 part liquid and 1 part vegetable). Take 1/3rd of the vegetable and top up with the stalk.

For this recipe, you can savour a mix of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, beans, baby corn, zucchini in a blanched form. Non-vegetarians can also incorporate prawns and chicken. This can be served with fried garlic, onion, scallions, sauce, chilli, lemon and fried noodles.

Chicken Satay 

Chef Yam Bahadur Thapa:

Chicken satay is a charcoal-grilled dish with skewers, served with peanut sauce. However, lately, a few modern restaurants are teaming it with siracha mayo. Having said that, I always prefer to have this with peanut sauce as it is made of peanut butter, which has a smooth and crunchy texture. Other ingredients include coconut milk, soy sauce, tamarind, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, fried onion, sugar and fresh red chillies. Lately, a veg version of tofu satay and paneer satay is also available in many restaurants.

If you wish to prepare this at home, use chicken breast halves or chicken supreme part, cut them into 1-inch strips and marinate with a blend of peanut butter, ½ cup coconut milk and lemongrass, galangal, fresh red chilli, kaffir lime leaf lime juice, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Keep it in the chiller for 3 hours before cooking.

Stephane Calvet, Executive Chef, Far & East in Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru

This adored skewered delight is one of our specialities. The chicken pieces are marinated in yellow curry powder so that they are well infused with flavours. They are then allowed to be in contact with lemongrass for two days. This makes the delicacy so aromatic, that just a little turn on the charcoal, with occasional brushings of coconut cream, is enough to send someone to satay paradise!

Tom Yum soup

Chef Yam Bahadur Thapa:

A type of hot and sour Thai soup, Tom denotes to the boiling stock whereas Yum implies sour. It is ideally prepared from prawns stock and seasoned with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli peppers. In the vegetable version, one can add their choice of vegetables.

The thin soup contains spices and herbs; the latter which aids in digestion as well as heals cough and other disease as it is antibacterial in nature. There is another similar soup called Tom Kha. It’s spicy and hot and comes with the addition of coconut milk.

Khao khluk kapi

Chef Yam Bahadur Thapa:

Khao refers to rice, khluk to mixing and kapi to shrimp paste. This is an authentic style steam jasmine rice (sticky rice) mixed with shrimp paste and sweet soya.

Many prefer stir-fried, steamed jasmine rice with shrimp paste and sweet soya, as we believe it only gets more flavorful with the latter two. This is accompanied with sweet pork, fresh chopped red chillies, crispy wonton, slice onion, raw mango and pickled cucumber. It makes for a complete meal!

Sticky rice pudding

Executive Chef Gopal Jha

Thai food has very good desserts, one of them being sticky rice pudding. While cooking the rice, it is placed in the bandal leaf that releases an earthy and appetising flavour. This is further tossed in coconut milk that brings in a smoothness.

The dessert is traditionally served with mango but if out of season, you can replace it with other exotic Asian foods that are soft in texture like jackfruit, water chestnut and mangosteen. We have also prepared this delicacy with flavours like caramelised cream, blueberry, strawberry and similar.

Stephane Calvet, Executive Chef

This is one of the well-loved sweet treats from Thailand and we ensure that we keep it as traditional as possible. Because, with some things, you just don’t re-invent the wheel. They are classic. The glutinous rice is soaked overnight and then steamed with coconut milk and palm sugar in bamboo baskets, hand-carried from Chiang Mai by Chef Stephane, and handmade by local artisans. A pinch of salt balances the sweetness. And you have the perfect comfort food that is creamy, fragrant and warm!

Savour the delicious play of flavours when it comes to Thai food!

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