Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018 | Last Update : 07:58 AM IST

Cooking up a Thai storm

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYA SREEKUMAR
Published : Aug 10, 2018, 1:03 am IST
Updated : Aug 10, 2018, 1:03 am IST

Chef Supattra’s fascination with Thai cuisine began when she was a little girl.

 Thai food is a mouth-watering medley of sweet and sour, salty and spicy. (Photo- Vinod Karimatt)
  Thai food is a mouth-watering medley of sweet and sour, salty and spicy. (Photo- Vinod Karimatt)

Most Thai food aficionados, who by the way are a humongous number, would attest to the fact that the cuisine  is peppered with various layers, each burrowed in a compelling narrative of its own. Thai food is a mouth-watering medley of sweet and sour, salty and spicy. The cuisine incorporates a whole lot of vegetables, sauces, dips as well as a variety of meats and seafood. But authentic Thai food is hard to come by, which is where Head Chef Supattra, manning the kitchen at Thai restaurant, Thai Soul, Grand Hyatt, Kochi, scores for its authenticity. Walk into the restaurant at 8.30 am and chef Supattra would be there issuing orders to her crew, judging the freshness of the veggies, fish and meats, making sure that everything works like clockwork to give the patrons a dining experience they will not forget in a hurry.

It has been 23 years of working as a chef for the brand across various countries in their Thai kitchens. This time it is Kerala that has beckoned and she wants to promote the authentic food of her land. Thai food is not only tasty but is also focused on the aromatic aspects of cooking. Galangal (Thai ginger), lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, cilantro and other fragrant herbs and spices are used with a generous hand to infuse those wonderful, but subtle flavours. What also adds to the depth of flavours are the oyster sauces, fish sauces and a variety of chilli pastes and powders that enhance flavours. So the thought does come to mind of how Supattra sources her ingredients, some of which come from Thailand.

“I am glad to state that we get the ingredients like lemongrass, ginger, chillies, etc locally. I have to import few items, like the condiments, from Thailand,” she says, a fact that surprises her. She also has a herb garden at the hotel premises where she grows aromatic herbs — an idea of Supattra’s.

The seafood variety available in Kochi has her face breaking into a wide smile. The variety in Kerala astounded her. She says, “The fish is fresh, especially the prawns.”

So what is the allure of Thai dishes? “We cannot cook without fish sauce and palm sugar. If people do not like palm sugar, we reduce the quantity and if anybody has an aversion to fish sauce, we replace that with soy sauce.” The fragrant Thai jasmine rice is an important element of all Thai meals. The sticky rice is a favourite, which is best eaten with chopsticks.

Supattra can talk at length about her passion for cooking which was passed down to her.

A native of North-eastern Thailand, she says, “My father was the cook at a restaurant and I was the only one of my siblings who did not go to school. I used to watch my father mash, chop and grind and fell in love with cooking. I picked up the basics and when people expressed their happiness after having the food I made, that brought me happiness.

That became my goal — to make people happy through my cooking.” This is what she does to this day. She loves to cook even on her off days and never gets tired of donning the apron. She has a trained team that helps to concoct the authentic dishes.

KHAO SOI GAI

Ingredients:

  • Chicken drumstick    250 gm   
  • Egg noodle              100 gm                      
  • Coconut milk            200 ml                       
  • Khaosoi curry paste    50 gm                      
  • Ginger    10 gm                     
  • White onion    20                  
  • Coriander    50 gm                      
  • Fish sauce    10 ml                       
  • White sugar    20 gm                      
  • Lemon grass    10 gm                      
  • Palm sugar    40 gm                      
  • Lettuce pickle    20 gm                      
  • Shallot    20 gm                      
  • Dried chilli small    10 gm                      
  • Chilli paste in oil    20 gm                      

Method

  • Add coconut milk and khaosoi paste to the wok and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and turn down the heat. Simmer for a few minutes.
  • Season with palm sugar, fish sauce, ginger, white onion and lemongrass.
  • Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked for about 20 minutes.
  • Blanch the egg noodles and deep fry.
  • Place the noodles in the serving dish and pour the curry over the noodle.
  • Garnish with crispy fried noodles, shallots, garlic oil and coriander.
  • Serve with lettuce pickle, lime segment, dry chili on side, and chilli paste in oil.

(Photo- Vinod Karimatt)(Photo- Vinod Karimatt)

KOONG MAKHAM

Ingredients

  • Tiger Prawn    400 gm
  • Tamarind sauce    50 ml  
  • Fried Shallots    150 gm
  • Fried Chilli    10 gm
  • Refined Flour    80 gm   
  • Tamarind sauce    100 ml  
  • Palm sugar    150 gm
  • White sugar    40 gm
  • Fish sauce    80 ml

Method

  • Make flour batter and coat the tiger prawns with batter.
  • Put corn oil in the hot wok and deep fry prawn until it becomes golden in colour.
  • Make warm tamarind sauce and put tamarind sauce on top of the prawn.
  • Garnish with fried chilli and fried shallots.

Tamarind sauce recipe

  • Cook tamarind juice with palm sugar, fish sauce, white sugar and boil it.

(Photo- Vinod Karimatt)(Photo- Vinod Karimatt)

PLA RAD PANANG

Ingredients:

  • Sea Bass fillet    400 gm                      
  • Panang curry paste    150 gm                      
  • Fish sauce    40 gm                     
  • Oyster sauce    30 gm                      
  • Palm sugar    20 gm                      
  • White pepper powder    5 gm                     
  • White sugar    10 gm                     
  • Kaffir lime leaves    5 gm                     
  • Coconut cream    200 gm                      
  • Corn oil    30 ml                      
  • Coriander    10 gm                     
  • Red chilli    10 gm                          

Method

  • Fry Sea Bass fish in the wok. Take out from the oil and keep aside.
  • Add corn oil into the wok, add Panang paste and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, white pepper powder, white sugar, oyster sauce, kaffir lime leaves and cook well.
  • Put sauce on top of the fried fish.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and sliced red chilli.
Tags: thai food, thai food recipes