Thai Me Up!
Oriental Bar & Kitchen at Park Hyatt Hyderabad, for me, sets the benchmark for pan Asian fine dining in the city, so when there is an ongoing Pop Up series with chefs visiting from Hyatt properties across the globe, and you have an invite to an interactive session with the chef, and that too for the aroma-redolent Thai cuisine, which ranks top of the list of my most favourite foods, you start off with a song in your heart.
This, the fifth and final one in the series of pop ups was walked through by Chef Wimon Junlawong, chef de cuisine Fifty Five East, the all-day dining at Grand Hyatt Mumbai.
The petite Chef Wimon showcased us two quick to make recipes, Thai Green Chicken Curry and another stir fry dish with Tofu and Mushrooms. Sharing techniques like having to saute the green curry paste along with kaffir lime leaves until the aromas permeate the cooking area, and then adding coconut milk and sauteeing on a slow flame, so as not to curdle it, Chef Wimon was a model instructor, patiently fielding questions on the side, like, “what are pea brinjals?”
The mushrooms stir fry was relatively simpler, and used three kinds of mushrooms, button, King oyster and shimeji, the tall stalk ones which you find mostly in Japan. Interestingly, this recipe didnt involve any Thai herbs, busting a myth for me at least that all Thai recipes need to use one of the other, be it lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves etc.
Post the demo, we had much more awaiting us at the table. Steaming cups of perfectly fragrant Tom Yum Goong (Sea Food) Soup, Som Tam (papaya salad), Spicy Green Mango Salad, Thai herb fish cakes with a delish cucumber relish , Deep fried Chicken Wings, (in sweet & sour sauce). The salads were fresh and zesty, but the starters were not really outstanding..
For main course, there was Thai Green Chicken Curry with sticky rice and this was the real McCoy, superb creamy gravy with all the goodness of vegetables, coconut milk, herbs and chicken. There was also Prawns Phad Thai stir fried noodles, Stir Fried Thai Vegetables with Tofu, Steamed Sea Bass in a lemon chilli sauce which was quite sublime, but nothing came close to Wimon’s Thai green curry.
For desserts, there was sticky rice with mango and my all-time favourite, Tub Tim Krob or Thai Red Ruby dessert. For the uninitiated, its made of coconut milk and ice cubes in which water chestnuts with an added red food coloring are added, closely resembling pomegranate seeds…Bliss!