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.
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-
- Num Plae Ai – Sticky Rice Sweet Balls
- Num Ansom Chek – Banana filled Steamed Rice Cake
- Trey Chamhoi – Cambodian Steamed Fish
- 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
- Som Tum Kai Kem – Green Papaya Salad with Salted Eggs
- Som Tum Sua – Green Papaya Salad with Rice Noodles
- 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.
mortar and pestle
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.
- garlic pods
- long red chillies
- green papaya
- long bean
- cherry tomatoes
- fish sauce
- salad dressing
- lemon juice
- tamarind juice
- palm sugar
- coconut sugar
- 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.
- 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.
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..