Saturday, 20 November 2010

The colourful flavours of Thai Cuisine

It may be nippy outside, but it is delicious and festive inside our shops! Perfect to warm the occaissional wet evenings of the lingering monsoon of this month are the myriad colours and flavours of Thai cuisine. Evolving through the melding of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Portuguese and Dutch cuisines, Thai cuisine is a complex, vibrant showcase of an intricate medley of taste and texture. A colourful, aromatic, flavourful whirl of the senses that we Indians have taken to with a vengeance.

Their famous curries – red and green, are well known. For those of you who like to make dishes from scratch, Godrej Nature’s Basket stocks all the raw ingredients for thai curry paste but if you’re hard pressed for time, we recommend some of our ready versions, simmer our succulent Godrej chicken pre cut pieces in Real Thai in green curry paste or stir roasted eggplant into a more robust red curry using Blue elephant’s spicy red curry paste! But it is the lesser celebrated iconic Massaman curry - a complex and layered combination of coconut milk, tamarind, peanuts, kaffir lime leaves spiced with a harmonious mix of cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves that transforms both meat and vegetables into an incredibly luxuriant broth to battle the sniffles rainy days bring. For a wholesome meal serve it with the unbelievably fragrant red rice from Conscious Foods.

In fact talking about fresh ingredients from fresh, there is nothing like the spicy notes of kaffir lime to invigorate one. Kaffir limes are versatile and add a touch of uniqueness to any dish. You only have to take one sip of aromatic tom yam soup to experience a moment of pure foodie bliss. Sharp and sour first, then mellow and savoury, then prickly and hot, all at once but also in steps. Then there is the blend of aromas, of lemon grass, galangal, fish, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, separate but together. Try readymade Tom yum paste by Blue Dragon for a fragrant pick me up before you ding into you Thai Curry!

Aromatic prawn and lemon grass soup (Serves: 4, Preparation time: 20m)

Ingredients:
225 g. raw prawns peeled and deveined washed and drained. (Vegetarians may substitute Prawn with Tofu and mushrooms)
Peel of 1 Kaffir Lime
2 stalks lemongrass peeled to obtain tender white centre, crushed and sliced into 7.5- cm pieces.
1.2 lts. Stock (fish is best but vegetable or chicken stock may be used, if unavailable use 1 stock cube for every 2 lts of water)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. Tom yum paste by Blue Dragon
5 sprigs fresh coriander
1 tsp. salt

Method:
Bring stock to a simmer and add lemongrass. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and discard lemongrass with slotted spoon. Add paste, simmer for 3 minutes. Add prawns to pot, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, and coriander, transfer to large soup tureen or individual bowls and serve immediately.

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