High on Thai

Photo - Shabin E/ Times of Oman

Thai cuisine comes calling at Asia Restaurant in Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, as well-known guest chefs Wasana and Amom Munthi have come all the way from Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand, to ensure that their culinary skills leave us asking for more.

'A Taste of Thailand', that began on February 26 to March 9, has the authentic Thai flavours.

Chef Wasana, who has been in the culinary business for more than 30 years, says that Thai food has become quite sought-after in the last two decades. "The spicy, lemony and fresh flavours of herbs really tantalise the taste buds," says the chef who is on her second visit to Oman.

"I have been here in 2012 and I am really happy to be back. I expect a good response from people this year too," she adds.

Talking about what makes Thai food so special and popular in almost every corner of the world the chef  says that it's the variety that makes all the difference.

"Thai food juggles with flavours. We keep modifying it according to the region where it is being served. Thai food, which is known for its spices, is also adjusted according to the place. Here in Oman, we remember to use  moderate spices so that the guests can enjoy the food in the best possible way," she reveals.

 "The proportion of the ingredients varies even amidst the five main regions of Thailand," remarks the chef as she explains how in Thailand each region has its own cooking style and speciality.

Highlighting the key ingredients, chefs Wasana and Amon Munthi say that while they focus mostly on herbs like lemongrass, lime leaves, basil leaves, ginger, lemon basil, galangal, peppercorns and bird's eye chilli, coconut is the main element used in various forms to add richness to the gravy.

"Thai food is flavoured by a variety of curry pastes and has a blend of hot, sour and sweet flavours. The most interesting aspect is that it can be amended as per one's palate," adds Munthi. While signature dishes like Tom Yam prawn soup, Chiang Mai style curry yellow noodles with braised chicken, crispy fried soft shell crabs with spicy sauce and stir-fried rice noodles with prawns and tofu in tamarind sauce are the highlight of the promotion, one can also sink one's teeth in to a whole range of other specialities.

Starting from Miang Kham, fragrant leaves filled with Thai herbs, chilli, lime and dried shrimps; Tom Yam Gung, hot and sour soup with prawns flavoured with lemon grass and Thai herbs to Yam Ma Muang Pla Foo, crispy shredded catfish with green mangoes and cashew nut salad — the list is long.

If you still have room for more then  Kaeng Massaman Nuea, slow braised beef short rib in rich peanut curry and Chu Chi Kung Mangkorn, whole lobster in dry red curry, are not to be missed. A Thai culinary trip cannot come to an end without a sumptuous dessert. While caramelised banana with taro ice-cream is an all-time favourite, one can also try sweet sticky rice with ripe mangoes, sesame seeds and honey.


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