Monthly Archives: February 2020

Simplifying Thai Cuisine at Royal Orchid, Abu Dhabi – Workshop on Tom Yam Soup ! (Video)

The next on my learning list was a soup, after salad. Tom Yam is a much sort after Soup. Packed with citrusy punch and flavours of Thai herbs, it is a refreshing soup usually made with shrimps. But, Tom Yam can change roles and still be appealing to your palate-

a) Cook as a vegetable soup with shallots, tofu and mushrooms (avoiding fish sauce);

b) try other combinations like – chicken, lamb, or meat of your choice;

or c) make it a meal, with noodles in the soup.

These are the basic spices and other ingredients for preparing Tom Yam Soup- (except the pandan leaves in the end – reserved for our dessert later)

  • Lemongrass
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • galangal
  • red chillies
  • thai parsley
  • lemon

For the proteins-

  • prawns
  • mushrooms

and for garnish –

  • thai parsley
  • coriander

for the special Thai flavour

  • lemon juice
  • fish sauce
  • tom yam paste
  • coconut milk

and chicken powder, which is optional

Tom Yam Goong/Thai Tom Yam Soup with Prawns

Getting things ready for Tom Yam

Making the soup

Making Tom Yam

  1. Boil stock (of your choice)
  2. Add cut lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf, galangal and red chillies
  3. While the stock boils well, add prawns and straw mushrooms
  4. Season with lemon juice, fish sauce and tom yam paste and let the prawns and mushrooms cook well
  5. Once done, add coconut milk and chicken powder (if preferred)
  6. The soup is done. Add chopped parsley and switch off stove
  7. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

Royal Orchid – Striking Strong Flavours with Finesse! Workshop on Thai Green Papaya Salad – 3 ways (VIDEO)

Food Industry is huge, with a capital H. To sustain in a society of varied culinary interests, plus to sail across the ever rising wave of competition is a volcanic task. The hard work and struggle to bring up a restaurant and also, remain popular in the food industry, for several years is certainly a huge victory.

The Royal Orchid Group of Restaurants, is a Hugely successful Chain of Restaurants in Abu Dhabi. After coming to Abu Dhabi, I have seen the flavours of the restaurants under the group, spread aroma in several of the social occasions. 

We have been mesmerised by the enthusiasm and zeal of the Founder and Owner of the Royal Orchid Group, the Septogenarian Mr. Vinay Varma and his Dynamic Lady Mrs. Nira Varma.

So, when the Captain of the Chain Mr. Varma, accepted my request for a learning session of some of their speciality foods, I was elated. When he left it to me, to choose from any of their restaurants, my greed to make the best use of the opportunity knew no limits.

Below are the speciality restaurants under the big roof of Royal Orchid Group.

https://www.theroyalorchidgroup.com

I chose, one of my favourites- Thai. A very big Thanks to their open-mindedness..


Thai cuisine might be one amongst the most popular cuisines around the world, next only to anybody’s own native food. The freshness of ingredients and aromatic flavours of the spices, would rule your palate for several hours.

Having lived in Cambodia, we have been fortunate to have savoured several dishes of South East Asian cuisine. As a blogger, I have certainly been lucky to have learnt a few distinctive dishes and sweets of Cambodia.. like-

  1. Num Plae Ai – Sticky Rice Sweet Balls
  2. Num Ansom Chek – Banana filled Steamed Rice Cake
  3. Trey Chamhoi – Cambodian Steamed Fish
  4. Num Kom – Sticky Rice Cakes with coconut filling

Neighbourhood Thailand, it’s history and flavourful food are always a big thumps up for me. I wrote three travel posts on Bangkok- its historical places and food, way back in August 2013 (The Charming Capital of Thailand). When I read that post now, I see that I’ve written about tasting Brown Rice, Crispy Fried Mushroom and Spicy Vegetable Curry/ Yellow Rice, Chicken in Spicy Curry and not to miss the desserts – Sticky Rice and Mango and Coconut Ice cream.

So, here I am, in Abu Dhabi, ready to learn a few more Thai dishes. Life has been very kind to me…isn’t it?

Royal Orchid is a Chinese and Thai restaurant, which has the logo- Inspired by the Far East. That truly suits me too! With elegant interiors and comfortable seating arrangements, it boasts of authentic Chinese and Thai flavours – straight from wok to your plates.

I requested for a workshop/demonstration on a full course Thai Meal with- a salad, a soup, a curry, a stir fry and a dessert, which I chose from few of my favourite dishes.

Chef Vituk of Royal Orchid, who hails from Thailand, was a very patient, grounded personality. After meeting a few chefs recently, I think, patience is a virtue of Chefs. And, they are more than that. They are specialists in the art of combining traditional and contemporary flavours that surprises customers. They present the simplest of dishes in exceptional ways that enthrals food connnaisseurs. Above all, they are blessed with the culinary art that embraces our appetite.

Let me share the dishes I learnt one by one.


I. Thai Green Papaya Salad – three ways

  1. Som Tum Kai Kem – Green Papaya Salad with Salted Eggs
  2. Som Tum Sua – Green Papaya Salad with Rice Noodles
  3. Som Tum Phoo Plara – Green Papaya Salad with Salted Crab

I have also uploaded videos that show the making of Thai Green Papaya salad, demonstrated by Chef.

The Quintessentials

mortar and pestle

green papaya

and the grating technique

The basic ingredients for the different versions of papaya salad, remain pretty much the same. Slight differences in the choice of sauces and spice level make the variations taste better.

Ingredients

  • garlic pods
  • long red chillies
  • green papaya
  • carrots
  • corn
  • long bean
  • cherry tomatoes

seasoning

  • fish sauce
  • salad dressing
  • lemon juice
  • tamarind juice
  • palm sugar
  • coconut sugar

Note:

  1. Normally, fish sauce is added. But here, if one wishes to prepare a vegetarian papaya salad, omit the eggs and fish sauce. Instead use a salad dressing, which might be a combination of light soya sauce and palm sugar.
  2. The spice level of this salad is on the higher side. I would suggest reducing the garlic and chillies, if one prefers a medium spiced salad.

Getting ready

The art of grating papaya for the salad

Keep the grated papaya in ice cold water, for at least 10 minutes. This helps keeping the vegetable crunchy.

1. SOM TUM KAI KEM – GREEN PAPAYA SALAD WITH SALTED EGGS

making of the salad

2. SOM TUM SUA – GREEN PAPAYA SALAD WITH RICE NOODLES

making of the salad

3. SOM TUM PHOO PLARA – GREEN PAPAYA SALAD WITH SALTED CRAB

making of the salad

Thanks Chef. That was an amazing experience. But, plenty more to come. Come along with me..

Khazana – Grain of Salt – Fusion Dining at its Casual Best!

Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, in Nation Towers is already one of the most sort after restaurants, for a fine dining experience with beautiful view, overlooking the Corniche, Abu Dhabi.

With New Year 2020, Abu Dhabi welcomed another elite restaurant, Khazana – Grain of Salt,that provides the ever popular Speciality Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s exclusive signature dishes. Now, the aroma of flavours, from the culinary creations of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor can be enjoyed at WTC Mall.

The Non-alcoholic Bar Area and a comfortable mocktail/coffee corner

They say Food unites Boundaries. Looking at the menu at Khazana, one is bowled over by the representation of different regional and ethnical cuisines, across the world. This doesn’t stop with representation, but the food here actually symbolizes multi-cultural Fusion. Take for example – the Mushroom Bakhlava or Falafel Chaat.

Catchy combinations like Nalli Rogan Josh Tagine, Kappa Pot Roast, Uppukkari Pot Pie are distinct.

There is also Mishti Doi Brulee – that unites Bengal and France.

Fascinated by such mix and matches, I tried to explore some South Indian combinations that might work out- a Filter Kaapi Fondue or Chutney Cheese Cake? Why not!!

Here are a few of the delectable dishes, that we savoured at Khazana.

Few of the starters-

Strip Samosa

Khumb Palak and Corn ki Tikki

Quinoa Methi ke Tikki with Pumpkin Sauce

Beetroot Peanut ki Tikki

Malai Tikka

Chicken Tikka

Tandoori Pomfret

For the Mains-

Choice of Breads

Prawn Biriyani

Kadai Paneer

Chicken Lababdar

Somehow, missed to click the Nimbu Dhaniya Kukkad.

To end with sumptuous desserts-

Blueberry Ghevar

Chocolate Crush Pile

Chocolate Samosa

24K Dal

Slow cooked black gram, which is popularly called Dal Makhani or Maa Ki Dal is named 24K Dal. While I was amazed by the name, Chef tells me with a smile of pride- “Ma’m, Pure Gold is also known by 24K”.

Khazana, Grain of Salt has its recipes, moulded to perfection and hence, shines as Pure Gold, in the intention to provide age old recipes, with contemporary twist.