Is this real? Or is it a dream sequence? Im on my way to Bangkok’s finest Thai restaurant. Time is standing still as I gently glide down the gleaming “River of Kings”. We do so in a beautiful wooden-carved long tail boat. At the other end of the bank an exquisite restaurant and authentic Thai food await me. It is here that I meet the brilliant chef Uemporn Yuayaipong. Having trained in Saraburi Culinary school, she not only worked in prestigious restaurants and hotels in Macao, Maldives. Canada and Washington but also did many a Thai promotion in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, LA and many other cities. The charming Karn Puntuhong, a knowledgable foodie herself helps me by translating the chef’s explanations into English. They offer hands on, worth attending classes in Thai food. And through it all I go through some delicious learning.
WHAT IS THAI FOOD?
Im on a perpetual high on Thai! But what exactly is Thai food? It’s a trifle complicated. For, just like the world considers pizza and pasta to be quintessential Italian food (when actually they are the dishes of the southern region of Campania) and tandoori chicken and naan are perceived as Indian food (when they really belong to Punjab), similarly, much of what we wolf down as Thai food comes from the country’s central region, the area in and around Bangkok. Every region here has its own signature dishes. The food of the rugged, colder and mountainous North (watered by plenty of rivers) are distinct from those of the South. Steamed glutinous rice, local sausages (sai ua, and nham), steamed meat, roasted pork, pork resin, fried pork, fried chick- en and vegetables are some of the Northern staples. The pre- dominant taste is salty, almost to the exclusion of the sweet and sour. The influence of neighbouring Burma is strongly evident.
THAI FOOD & ENGLISH LITERATURE
It is here, that two of my passions come together in a sacred union…Thai food and English literature. And that too in the cacophonic, overcrowded, fascinating, exhausting Bangkok. Right there in this tumultuous city, there is a space which is not just stunninglybeautiful and gracious but also a cocoon of comfort. Since over 140 years, this gorgeous Mandarin Oriental hotel has retained it’s essentially, stylishly Thai soul. I have been going back again and again past many decades and each time fall even more in love with it. Helmed by the dynamic Amanda Hyndman, it continues to breathe colonial charm and high end luxury. It is here that my most favorite authors, Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward regularly stayed. Suites, where they stayed areeloquent with memory and luxury . Once again, time stands still amid luscious silks and carved teak. I trip out on many of the dining options. I enjoy the classic British High tea, served in the Author’s Lounge (named after the many famous writers who have stayed at the hotel) as much as the Chinese and French specialty restaurants.But it’s the traditional Thai with it’s tangy sweet-and-sour flavors that ricochets on my taste buds, that I always make it a point to feast on. It’s the versatile palette of Thai dips that dazzle. I request the chef for the recipes. Here they are…
M.O. THAI DIPS
Versatile dips. Can sparkle your starters and salads and mains. Choice is yours.
NAAM PRIG OONG
Ingredients; for 2
6pc dried big red chili, seedless and soaked /100 gr hard tofu and chopped in small piece / 250g cherry tomato cut in half / 3g salt / 15g light soya sauce / 15g palm sugar
1tsp coriander root, chopped / 1/2tsp galangal, chopped / 1/4cup cooking oil / 10g lime juice.
Pound dried red chili in the mortar or blander and add galangal and coriander root pound until they are mixing well then sit a side.
Heat a pan and add cooking oil brings the chili in the oil and stir until getting smell good.
And then add cherry tomato, salt, light soy sauce, palm sugar and lime juice, slowly cooked them and add tofu cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove and put in a serving cup. Then serve with fresh vegetables (Chinese cabbage, string bean, lettuce, cucumber etc.)
NAAM JIM A-JAD
Sweet chili dips
500gr white sugar / 312gr white vinegar / 23gr salt / 200gr Thai big red chili de- seed and blend it.
-mix all ingredients together in the pot and heat them in medium heat, after they are boiled, turn heat to low and continue until color becomes light yellow.
-add chili in and heat in 5 minutes.
100gr sweet chili dips / 76gr (1cup) cucumber, sliced / 20gr (¼ cup) ground peanut /
20gr big red chillies, cut into rings / Some coriander leaves.
Combine all ingredients together and serve.
230gr grilled chilis and de-skin / 8gr grilled bird’s eye chili / 40gr light soya sauce /
40gr lime juice / 230gr grilled long eggplant, de-skinned / 10gr syrup.
Crush grilled chili, bird’s eye chili and grilled long eggplant in the mortar.
Season with light soy sauce, lime juice and syrup
Served with boiled and fresh vegetables.
Ingredients; for 4
200 gr meat of ripe sweet mango / 3gr red small chili / 2gr mint stalk / 20gr lime juice /
To test salt.
Peel sweet mango meat and mixed with red chili, mint stalk, lime juice and put a blender till smooth.
Whoa! What a stellar role food plays, here in the land of beauty, glamor and eternal youth. I report from a charmed frontier (Hollywood, where else?) where every square inch bristles with style and star power. Here fantasy is blending into reality and luxury is dripping in every practical detail in the legendary Beverly Wilshire (Pretty Woman) hotel on Los Angele’s stunning sun-drenched, Rodeo drive designer boulevard to the world Here, two of my passions come together in a sacred union, cutting edge food and plenty of vibrantly healthy fare too. Not only does Americas leading chef Wolfgang Puck have a restaurant here but the French genius Thomas Bellec along with his spectacular fare serves up equally spectacular healthy fare.
And so by the deep blue of the pool (it’s the shape of Sophia Loren’s pool in her villa ) I taste Chef Bellec’s healthy Spa menu. Here, fragrant lemons hang from trees, flowers bloom and the vibrant sun shine warms the cool air.
The sunbronzed Greek gods with their six packabs and la-di-da babes with endless legs swim and lounge around the pool. It is here that I can feel eight decades of Beverly Wilshire’s elegant history tangoing with youthful energy. The grace of stately centuries melds with high octane new age gusto. Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen have all lived in the Hotel. And then ofcourse the Hotel shot into global fame when 25 years ago it was the the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was shot here. I have dined here with Anil kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Gulshan Grover and many others in the BeverlyWilshire. Both Hollywood and Bollywood lives and dines here.
Today I sample Chef Bellec’s amazing energizing dishes and chat with the lovely Audrey Slade, globetrotting communication dynamo. The patissseur extraordinaire Chris Ford’s unique chocolate Christmas tree ornaments (a mallet is with the ornament so guests can have some fun breaking it and sharing it) delight. I love his cool modern versions the bûche de Noël – there’s a Caramel Fruits log with vanilla genoise, caramelized berries, and vanilla cremeux, and a Chocolate Peppermint version with salted caramel mousse.
And to balance the sheer chocoholic indulgence I trip out on the healthy and delicious wrap…Chef bellec shares the recipe with us \
Interestingly, Chef Bellec’s simple yet sophisticated dishes are marked by fresh ingredients and seasonal producS
EGG WHITES DELIGHT
We are know that eggs are very rich in protein but did you know that egg whites contain more than half (four of the six grams) of an egg’s protein? And that is because of the the biological function of the egg white is to keep the yolk in place, and to provide water, protein and other nutrients to the developing embryo. Other than protein,
Riboflavin, selenium. Potassium and sodium. Sodium too. Theres more good news, whites are a low-calorie food, with just 17 calories — opposed to 71 per whole egg. The news gets better cause egg whites, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol. So if you’re on a diet or watching your ccholesterol or have diabetes or heart disease. Then the choice of egg white is the right one for you. To have a healthy and delicious recipe for egg whites, please try Chef Bellec’s BW Spa wrap/
Chef: Tarun Chadha
Category: Salad I Main Course
Chef: Alwyn Fernandes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes Prepn/Marin 5 minutes
1 ½ Kg. Whole chicken
2 Spring onions, sliced
2 Green capsicums, sliced
2 Pineapple slices cut into pieces + 1 slice for garnishing
1 cup Mayonnaise
50 ml Cream
2 tbsp. Curry powder (Atlas brand)
1 tbsp. Mango chutney
1 tsp. Salt
1 Carrot sliced
1 sprig Celery, chopped
To make a stock, take enough water to sink chicken, add salt, peppercorns, carrot and boil stock for
Put chicken in when stock starts boiling again, reduce flame and cook for 10 minutes.
Take out and dry chicken. Shred with fingers.
Mix with all the other ingredients in the bowl.
Mix well, garnish with a slice of pineapple and chill before serving.
Chef’s Tip lf the number of guests increase serve on a bed of cress lettuce “
I cant stop smiling! I am at a unique and much cherished dinner. She’s twenty two years old and has won the world’s first vegetarian masterchef. He is 56 years old, a revered Michelin starred chef from Italy. She is a Gujarati born and bred in Abu dhabi and has majored in finance and business from a prestigious American university. Whereas Roberto Franzin is from a family of professional chefs and cooks, Nikita Gandhi grew up watching her mother cook (she has never baked). Having won the masterchef series zoomed Nikita into the international lime light (and she even assisted Sanjeev Kapoor in cooking for Prime minister Modi). Roberto honed his formidable talents under superstars: Spanish Chef Santi Santimaria, and the French chef Jean François Piège and his restaurant has been conferred the coveted Michelin stars.
I’m celebrating! The word “multi” just got redefined. We’ve all heard of multi-cuisine, but how about multi-talented, multi-payment options, multi-homechefs? All this just a click away.And not to forget it’s all home-delivered too.
Have I managed to intrigue you? Confuse you? Its quite simple really and very useful to know.
This is all about an online platform to order incredibly delicious home made meals and bakery items and get them delivered right at your desk or doorstep.
CHENNAI’S CHUTNEY MAGIC
Found. Atlast. The most vibrant of chutneys and chutney recipes and that too here, at our “Whats hot tasting session” in Chennai. I like to call myself a “chutney champion” and trawl the world looking for unique and yummy chutney recipes. Be it the fruit based ones of the Western cuisines or the spice infused ones of the Eastern ones.