I was surprised when the beautiful lady from The Oberoi Grand informed over the call “Debjani we are planning a cook-off between the Food Bloggers from Kolkata”! A mail followed subsequently with the details of the Cooking Face-Off over Authentic Thai Food at Baan Thai! Errrrrr I was nervous!
To be very frank I was both excited and yet not-much-confident attending the Cook-off! In one hand I know it will be a great opportunity to learn the intricacies of Thai cuisine while on the other hand how tough the competition will be! After all, the city is having a Professional Chef turned Blogger, a blogger claims to visit Thailand almost every three months; a bunch of with in-depth knowledge of International Food! Within this kind of group, I am nothing but a novice!
The Cook-Off at Baan Thai! What happened that day!
The Thai Cook-Off was planned at Baan Thai, which is needless to say Kolkata’s one of the finest place for the perfect portion of Thai food. There were 4 teams with 2 participants each. We entered Baan Thai Kitchen not to mention while juggling with the Chef’s cap and apron!
The Executive Chef of The Oberoi Grand, Saurav Banerjee along with Chef Klay Samsuay who heads Baan Thai was there to show us how to cook two signature Thai dishes authentically! The cook-off was about to replicate the Chef Klay Samsuay! Gosh, I was tensed! After all, I know it well that my skills are limited to the use of packaged Thai curry paste to cook the thai curry! However, it was splendid witnessing the Chef showcasing the cooking process!
The Chef made Som Tam (Raw Papaya Salad) and Thai Green Chicken Curry within almost no time and needless to say with ease!
What I found interesting apart from seeing him cooking the similarities between Indian and Thai Cuisine! The way he was frying the Thai curry paste or the use of mortar pestle while making the salad!
Yes, I found some similarities between Indian and Thai food on that day! It is needless to say, both the countries are having the rich heritage of food!
The similarities are not limited to Coconut milk, an ingredient used in abundance in both the cuisines. There are more! Starting from the use of veggies to the use of sweeteing agent.
Curry: This particular dish has its own place in both the cuisine! While there are several differences but few spices and ingredients are common in both, for example, Turmeric, Ginger, Tamarind, Chilies etc.
Use of Sweetening Agent: This is quite common in India especially in West Bengal and Gujarat to use sweetening agents in several dishes. Even in Thailand, they use it! I found the Chef replacing the palm sugar with jaggery while cooking the Thai curry and he told us it is quite common using the sweetening agents!
Coconut-based dessert: Do I really need to say more! Starting from Narkel Naru to Barfi to Patisapta Pitha, in India we use coconut in abundance and it is same for Thai cuisine too.
Coming back to the cook-off, each team was provided with the ingredients and one induction oven each and a mortar pestle to share! Farhana, a city-based blogger, was paired with me. It was a fun afternoon cooking the food.
Then came the moment of tension, I mean the decision by the judges! The Acting consulate general, Royal Thai Consulate General-Kolkata along with her team and the Chefs were there to judge our dishes! They took more than 20 minutes to check the dishes. All of us were wondering whether they were alive upon tasting the result of our cooking venture! Jokes apart, finally they selected the best-cooked dishes based on the taste and cleanliness. Though our team didn’t win, however, we were relieved at least they were alive after having the Green Thai Curry and Papaya Salad we made!
My partner Farhana was amazing to work with. She was a true team player and I have seen the same balance in all the teams! I found every one of us dedicated to what they were doing. Probably proving it again how compassionate we all are about food.
After the Cook-Off!
The Cook-off ended on a Thai note! We have had an elaborate Thai spread in Lunch at Baan Thai. They served us some of the best dishes from the menu of Baan Thai.
Recipe of Thai Green Chicken Curry:
Now that you have the details of the Cook-off, how about the recipe of Authentic Thai Green Chicken Curry by Chef Klay Samsuay! the Oberoi Grand has gifted the fresh ingredients us and I made Thai Curry again at home using some of the ingredients. I am sharing the recipe below with the possible substitute and a few additions and alterations. Check the note for the details.
- Boneless Chicken: 300g (cube)
- Green Thai Curry Paste: 4 Tbsp.
- Coconut Milk: 400ml
- Egg Plant: 1 Cup cubed* (I have used Thai aborigine)
- Shallot: 3 (optional)
- Fish Sauce: 1 Tbsp.*
- Stock: 1 cup
- Palm Sugar/ Jaggery: 1 Tsp.
- Sweet Basil: few leaves
- Kaffir lime leaves: A few
- Lemongrass: few (optional)
- Vegetable Oil: 1 Tbsp.
- Wash and pat dry chicken pieces.
- Now cut Eggplant into thick strips.
- Peel the Shallot and cut into halves.
- Chop the Lemongrass.
- Heat the Oil in a pan.
- Now add the Green Thai Curry Paste and fry till the mixture leaves the edge of the pan and emits aroma.
- Add chopped shallot and lemongrass and fry.
- Add Chicken cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add ⅓ of the coconut milk and boil the mixture in low flame.
- Add rest of the coconut milk followed by the Eggplant, half of hand-crushed Basil and Kaffir lime leaves and cook for around 10 minutes.
- Add fish sauce and Jaggeri or the Palm sugar in between.
- Stir the curry in between and add stock or water if required.
- Given the Curry paste is having salt; there is no need to add the same in excess.
- However, you can check and adjust.
- Finish the Thai Green Chicken Curry with few more pieces of hand-crushed Basil and Kaffir lime leaves.
- Serve the Thai Green Chicken Curry hot with Jasmine rice.
I have used Thai Eggplants which can be replaced with locally available one.
Palm Sugar or jaggery can be replaced with Sugar
You can add any vegetable of your choice to the Thai Curry
you can replace chicken with seafood as well.
Disclaimer: Debjani was invited by the management of The Oberoi Grand for the Cook-off and the recipe of Thai Green Chicken curry was adopted from Chef Samsuay’s Green Thai Chicken Curry recipe.
Have you tried the Green Thai Chicken Curry recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org or in Instagram you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar or can tag me at @foodofdebjani.