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Fah Thai Magazine Sep/Oct 2017

"FAH THAI" is the in-flight magazine of Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited and is edited and published by MPMI Group Ltd.

OVERTURES ON THE MENU

OVERTURES ON THE MENU The Tangy Kick of Som Tam Just like the burgeoning popularity of salad bars and its plethora of ingredients, there are more than one way to eat Som Tam, Thailand’s green papaya salad. Know how to enjoy combinations beyond the classic with the novel kick of other briny flavours and textures. Words: Sarita Urupongsa Som Tam or green papaya salad has its humble beginning as a street food but this popular dish from the Northeast or “Isaan” part of Thailand can be found from off-the-beaten path eateries to glamorous settings. Starring in this intensely satisfying salad are thin strands of fresh green papaya that gets coated with the complex blend of garlic, tomatoes, dried shrimps and roasted peanuts pounded with a seasoning base of spicy, sour, sweet and salty combinations. The meaning of “som” means sour while ‘tam’ refers to the pounding done in a pestle and mortar to release and blend the juices. These days, Som Tam can be ordered in many ways and comes in various recipes depending on each person’s preference. Tam Thai, the basic type of Som Tam that’s commonly available reaches perfection and depth of flavour with dried shrimps and roasted peanuts; Tam Plaa Raa, whose recipe requires a sauce of fermented Thai anchovies with intense flavours appeal to the palate of both Thais and foreigners alike; Tam Sua replaces green papaya strands with rice Photos: Dolnapa Ram-Indra vermicelli; Tam Pu, the recipe with salted freshwater crabs as its main taste; to Tam Paa which combines unusual ingredients like water mimosas, rice vermicelli, green papaya strands, fermented vegetables, fermented bamboo shoots, apple snails, fermented crabs and the aforementioned fermented anchovies: all together in one dish that produces an unforgettable savoury experience. Certainly, a tangy, spicy Som Tam can never be complete without side dishes to break the sweat and elevate the dining experience. Apart from complementary bites of steamed sticky rice, fresh vegetables such as yardlong beans and other Isaan dishes like Laab (minced meat salad), Namtok (spicy meat salad), Soup Nawmai (bamboo shoot salad) and grilled chicken play a big part in completing the meal. To many women, Som Tam also has become their healthy alternative. The dish itself is modified in line with lifestyle choices and trends. Sometimes it is made with mixed fruits like pomelos, apples or even the meat of a young coconut. Ingredients • 1 cup of green papaya strands, add more or less as preferred • 4 peeled garlic cloves • 4 Thai bird’s eye chillies • 3 cherry tomatoes, each cut into 2 parts • 1 yardlong bean, cut into 2-inch sticks • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts • 2 tbsp dried shrimps • 2 tbsp tamarind juice • 2 tbsp fish sauce • 1 tbsp palm sugar • 1 tbsp lime juice • 2 salted freshwater crabs Making Som Tam • Boil salted freshwater crabs swiftly. Pull out the shells and gills and set aside. • In the mortar, mix bird’s eye chillies and garlic together and pound them until a paste forms. • Add cherry tomatoes, long beans, dried shrimps and roasted peanuts. Lightly pound to break fibres and mix them altogether. • Season with lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind juice and palm sugar. Add and tear salted freshwater crabs in half into the mix. Pound and blend the ingredients together. • Add green papaya strands and continue to pound so that the juice seeps into the strands. Make sure not to pound too hard as the strands can become brittle and thus lose their flavour and crunchy texture. The Best Som Tam in Bangkok SOM TAM NUA One enduring Som Tam venue in Bangkok is Som Tam Nua. Established by people with a true passion for Isaan food, this restaurant is known for its signature som tam recipes. The word “Nua” refers to foods with a perfectly savoury flavour and can be applied to both desserts and main dishes. Som Tam Nua has extensive salad choices in which the level of spiciness can be made upon request. Each Som Tam dish is made of fresh ingredients to complement the restaurant’s other popular choices like fried chicken in a basket, stir-fried rice vermicelli and spicy water mimosa salad. 5/F Central Embassy, Ploenchit BTS station, +66 (0) 2160 5909 HAI SOMTAM Hai Somtam Convent is a popular Som Tam place in the heart of the Silom business district. With its 20-year legacy, the place is best known for its fresh, crispy green papaya strands and tangy flavour and extensive Som Tam repertoire. The restaurant offers ingredient alternatives such as corn, rice vermicelli and fermented flower crabs as well. Som Tam here is a spicy burn that comes in a full combination of spicy, sour, salty and sweet tastes. Hai Somtam opens until 9pm on weekdays and 5pm on Saturdays. (Closed on Sundays) 2/4-5, Soi Convent, Silom, Sala Daeng BTS station, +66 (0) 2631 0216 24 25

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