I have made many trips to Bangkok and each time, Thai food hogging starts immediately after landing, catching the first bite at the airport, stopping at street stall for a second bite and ordering the third meal at home.
The romance of Thai cuisine dates back many years ago, in another century, when relishing food was purely aping the taste of my cousins. They liked so I liked. During my long summer holidays, my cousins in Bangkok would take me to narrow food lanes, in the interiors of the city, thick with fragrant smoke. We would sit on plastic furniture and eat the most unique dishes, sometimes slimy stuff, sometimes deep fried critters, and sometimes sea-food infused with herbs, rich in taste, so spicy that I had tears staining my cheeks. The taste was enchanting and whenever I asked what I was eating, they would say “Just eat, don’t ask”
Thai food is the riot of flavors of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy, all in balanced proportions. On another holiday in Bangkok, I had attended Thai cookery class to learn the basics of Thai cuisine. Most of my knowledge on Thai authentic meal comes from learning from house help in my cousin’s home. But for travellers, I am told, there are number of premier cooking schools introducing rich Thai cuisine heritage, offering personalized, individual, family and group culinary courses. It will be interesting to get insight into the unique art of Thai Cuisine.
Some of the major hotels like Oriental hotel, Dusit Thai hotel and some more popular hotels provide cooking course for their visitors based on creditable choices of the menus served at their restaurants.
I have many good memories of Bangkok and those memories were refreshed this week, when Rushina Munshaw invited me to her APBCookStudio for Thai Cook-up by Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The feast began with a lemon-grass drink, followed by Thai bhel and then a cooking demonstration for making Green and Red curry paste, chicken in basil and Thai curry. We were then grouped in pairs, to cook up the Thai dishes at our own cook stations.
It was a fun afternoon, cooking, eating and enjoying the morning, meeting other food lovers, was happy to meet Raynah Coutinho, Public relation manager, who shared her experiences of living in Thailand informing us about different point of interests.
I am happy to Share with you the basil chicken as demonstrated by Rushina.
Please note, for vegetarians, mushrooms can be substituted for chicken
Kai Phad Kaphro (Basil Chicken)
Courtesy Rushina Munshaw
250gms boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 red chilies dissected and chopped
2tbsp fish sauce
pinch of sugar
20 Thai Basil leaves +12 deep fried for garnish.
Heat oil in wok, add garlic and chilies, stir fry till golden brown
Add chicken, stir fry till it changes color
Season with fish sauce and sugar and continue stir frying for 3-4 minutes
Stir in the fresh basil leaves
Garnish with fried basil leaves and sliced chilies and serve with white rice.
Rushina had given me some freshly made red and green Thai curry paste to take home. Sunday was a treat time for my family and they loved the Thai curry that I made for lunch.
This is how I made Thai Curry
500gms Chicken thigh cut into strips
100gms coconut powder dissolved in 2 cups of warm water
½ cup green curry paste
3tbsp vegetable oil
5-6 Thai chilies; cut slantwise
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
2tbsp tamarind juice
½ cup Zucchini, diced
½ cup button mushroom, halved
½ broccoli diced
4-5 basil leaves
1tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp palm sugar
1 chicken stock cube
Stir-fry chicken thigh strips till fragrant
Add a cup coconut milk and chicken stock cube
In another wok stir-fry green curry paste and sauté till fragrant
Transfer the curry paste mixture in the chicken coconut broth and continue to stir gently till it is mixed.
Add mushrooms, broccoli and Zucchini.
Leave until cooked and then add the remaining coconut milk
Adjust the seasonings as desired using fish sauce, sugar, kaffir leaves, basil leaves, chilies, tamarind juice and sugar.