Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines and a fragrant green curry and a spicy papaya salad are some of the popular dishes that my family and I enjoy. Recently I had some flavorsome Thai food at a cooking demonstration preview followed by lunch at the ART Rotana Hotel and Resort, Bahrain. The whole theme of the morning was relaxation and fun while Chef Theo (Executive Chef) and Chef Mac (Chef De Cuisine) did the hard work. At cooking demonstrations you pick up tips and learn techniques that help expand your cooking skills to create tasty dishes at home. And, it’s also a fun way to spend time in the company of friends and family in beautiful surroundings of WU Asian Restaurant and Lounge.
Using a shop bought green curry paste cuts preparation time when making a Thai green curry, but if you have the time and energy, you could make your own. The key to a good green curry is using the freshest and most authentic Thai ingredients and balancing the sweet, salty and spicy flavors of the dish. Chef Mac cuts the chicken breast against the grain for tender pieces of chicken. Also, cutting the chicken into smaller pieces allows for faster cooking. Below I have shared Chef Mac’s recipe for a Thai Green Curry
Chef Mac also demonstrated how to make a green papaya salad sharing his tips and techniques along the way. Kitchen tools that helped with the preparation of this salad were a special Thai julienne peeler and a deep clay pestle and mortar to lightly pound the ingredients together to soften the vegetables and release the flavours. You can buy these specialized tools at Asian Supermarkets.
Or, you could use a spiralizer for the green papaya and carrots. I have previously shared a recipe for a Green Papaya salad, Chef Mac did not use the dried prawns and had used some tamarind juice in his recipe. Each chef has his own delicious why of making this dish.
After the cooking demonstration we dined on other delicious dishes (also the Thai green curry and green papaya salad) from WU asian restaurant. A very tasty shredded duck and watermelon salad, pad Thai (another favourite), edamame beans and spinach and date gyoza.
Throughout the morning we had some refreshing drinks with flavors of early grey tea, ginger, lemon grass and berries to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Ending with a refreshing mango mochi and a selection of fresh fruit. Had the weather not been hot and very humid we could have sat outdoors and enjoyed the surrounding palms tree and sea view… but will have to leave that to another date.
Thai Green Curry with Chicken
Preparation time is 15 minutes and cooking is about 20 minute. Recipe by Chef D
SERVES 4 persons
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
30g green curry paste, shop bought or home-made
400 ml coconut milk ( add 15g Coconut powder Optional)
500g boneless chicken breast or chicken thigh, cut into strips
2 -3 Thai eggplants cut into small pieces. ( Can use another Vegetable)
1-2 red chili, de-seeded and cut into strips
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce, to taste
15g palm sugar, to taste
squeeze of fresh lime juice
5g fresh Thai sweet basil
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and swirl around, then add the curry paste. Stir-fry briefly to release the fragrance (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add 3/4 of the coconut milk). Stir well to mix in.
Add the chicken and Thai eggplants, stirring to incorporate. When the curry sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally.
Add the red chili, lime leaf, stirring to incorporate. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables are softened but still firm and colorful.
Before adding the Thai fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice and reserved coconut milk, do a taste test. Adding fish sauce if not salty enough. If you’d prefer a sweeter curry, add a little more sugar. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. Note that this curry should be a balance of salty, spicy, sweet plus bitter (the bitter is found in the fresh basil garnish). Serve with fragrant Thai steamed rice.
Tips from Head Chef De Cuisine Chef Mac Withojit from WU Asian Restaurant and Lounge:
Since the green curry paste already has plenty of flavors, do taste it before deciding whether to add fish sauce. Chef Mac usually adds a few drops of fish sauce right at the end of cooking, but this will depend on your preference.
If you can’t find fresh kaffir lime leaf you can use dried ones. You will need 5 dried leaves for every fresh one. Before using them, put the leaves in water for 10 minutes, and then dry them for a few minutes until you can smell the aroma.
If you would like to partake in a fun and delicious morning, the ART Rotana Hotel and Resort are hosting monthly cooking demonstrations followed by lunch. For more details and to secure a booking contact them on +973 16000111. I attended the event as a guest.