11 months ago

Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017


OVERTURES ON THE MENU Immortal Dish of Memories A Thai king once wrote a poem detailing the feelings evoked by an aromatic massaman curry. Despite the passage of time, the dish’s popularity has never ceased. While the traditional recipe has variations executed in many kitchens, some homes and restaurants offer surprising local touches. Words: Sarita Urupongsa Photos: Dolnapa Ram-Indra Many Thais are familiar with the mention of massaman curry in the poetry verses composed by Prince Itsarasunthon, or King Rama II. Loosely translated, the words state: “Massaman, a curry made by my love, is fragrant with cumin and strong spices, (มัสมั่นแกงแก้วตา หอมยี่หร่ารสร้อนแรง) Any man who has tasted the curry pines for her” (ชายใดได้กลืนแกง แรงอยากให้ใฝ่ฝันหา) Picked as the best food in the world by CNN’s Traveller’s “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods,” massaman curry has always played a big part in the history of Thai cuisine. Believed to have originated in the sophisticated court of Ayutthaya, the rich flavours of the curry are influenced by Persian, Malay and Indian cuisines and various theories are offered on the name “massaman.” Some believe the savoury word derived from the word “Mussulman” an archaic word for ‘Muslim’ while the other school of thought says that the name came from the Malay word “masam” meaning sour. Sreerat Sripinyo, owner of Sri Trat Restaurant on Sukhumvit Road remembers her childhood and the food memories associated with her family, including massaman curry. An extended household resulted in her mother serving as the main cook who whipped up delicious Thai dishes. Once the meals were ready to be served with hot steamed rice, her mum called for all the children to eat together. As a young girl, Sreerat wasn’t busily running and playing around the house like other kids her age. Instead, she would stay in the kitchen and be her mother’s little helper. This has given her a clear memory for every recipe as well as the exhilaration of cooking with her mother. Thus it’s recipes from their kitchen that journey to their restaurant where diners enjoy eastern Thai dishes with the homemade touch. Authentic ingredients from Trat Province are a must for their restaurant located in the heart of Bangkok. More than 80 dishes at Sri Trat restaurant are both original recipes from Sreerat’s mother along with new inspirations. One of the featured dishes is “massaman chicken curry cooked with young durian”, her family’s favourite curry. This dish is not to be missed for the experience of Trat’s authentic flavours. The balanced taste of the massaman curry results from the combination of original ingredients from Trat, ranging from the sweet flavour of palm sugar, the sour flavour from tamarind juice to the salty taste from krill paste and Three Rabbit fish sauce, Trat’s famous and preferred fish sauce brand. Another key ingredient replacing potatoes is Monthong durian, a fruit that’s the pride of Trat. Pride in their hometown and further homage is given in the restaurant proudly named Sri Trat. Reservations recommended. For more information: Ingredients • 200g chicken thighs (sliced into 2-inch pieces each) • 100g of raw Monthong durian (sliced into approximately 2-inch pieces each) • 1kg coconut milk • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (roasted) • 2 tbsp peanuts (roasted) For Massaman Curry Paste • 5 big dry chillies (sliced) • 2 stalks of lemongrass, sliced • 4-5 galangal slices • 1 tsp long pepper • 1 tsp cumin • 1 tsp coriander seeds • 1 tsp krill paste • 5 small shallot cloves • 2 garlic cloves • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp pepper Seasoning • 3 tbsp tamarind juice • 100g palm sugar • 2 cinnamon sticks, around 10g • 3 tbsp fish sauce Cooking Instructions • Wrap the krill paste in banana leaf. Grill until it releases a fragrance. • Stir-fry the rest of the curry paste ingredients (except the dry chillies, salt and pepper) in a pan using medium heat, about 5 minutes until it turns yellow. • Crush salt, pepper and dry chillies together in a mortar. Slowly mix the grilled krill paste and stir-fried curry paste into the mortar. • Prepare coconut milk by separating the thick, creamier liquid from thin coconut milk. • Boil chicken thighs in thin coconut milk using high heat until they’re cooked. • Boil the thicker coconut milk with high heat until it reaches a boil and let it simmer. Add the crushed curry paste and boil until it releases a fragrance, then pour it in the pot containing chicken thighs in thin coconut milk. Mix them together using high heat. Lower the heat to medium. • Add all the seasoning items, followed by cumin seeds and peanuts. Lower the heat and stir it for an hour. Then put the durian in the pot and stir for 5 more minutes. Other Ways to Have Massaman in Bangkok MASSAMAN CURRY WITH BRAISED LAMB BELLY The restaurant names itself after the word “baan” meaning home in Thai. One of Baan’s most famous dishes is ‘massaman curry with braised lamb belly.’ Made with local young lamb, the curry also boasts Baan’s homemade chilli paste. The love and care that this restaurant has put into the food along with quality ingredients are the secret to this delightful dish. Baan’s massaman curry is rich and perfect with a sweet and balanced flavour, which goes well with the succulent lamb belly., +66 (0) 2655 8995 BEEF MASSAMAN WITH POTATO, FIVE SPICE BEEF SOUP, DIY NOODLES Together with the dramatic pavilion setting, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin offers stunning decor that contrasts dark wood with shimmering Thai silk. A pond of white lotuses sits in the centre of the dining room as a tribute to the lotus pond of Sra Pathum Palace. All menus created by renowned Michelin-starred chef Henrik Yde Andersen are using authentic local ingredients. Their beef massaman is served with soup and tofu strips. Despite having a separate soup, the flavour of the dish is deeply rich, nourishing, and reflects the blend of ancient Thai cuisine and the creativity of modern culinary art., +66 (0) 2162 9000 26 27