Replete with aromas of earthy spices, Thai-Muslim cuisine is a pleasant amalgamation of zesty Thai and flavourful Malaysian cuisine. The culinary stream hailing from Southern Thailand promises respite for those wanting to do away with run-of-the-mill Eid-themed preparations. We bring Thai native Chef Phongthorn Hinracha from Red Zen at Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai, to share recipes that bear a celebratory significance in his culture.
Young mango salad
Ingredients: 200 gm raw mango (cut into juliennes and soaked in iced water), 50 gm shallots (chopped), 20 gm bird chillies, 20 gm peanuts (ground), 20 gm dry shrimp (ground), 10 gm dried coconut (chopped), 70 ml fish sauce, 50 ml fresh lime juice, 70 gm palm sugar, handful of dry anchovies (deep-fried)
Method: Strain the raw mango pieces and keep them aside. In a bowl, mix the fish sauce with lime juice, palm sugar and dry shrimps to make a salad dressing. Pour this mixture on the mango pieces and mix well. Finish the salad with fried pieces of anchovy, peanut powder, coconut and toss well. Serve cold.
Chef speak: “The cooling salad is a perfect mix of sour, sweet, savoury and hot flavours. In Thailand, it’s a hit as an
appetiser at house parties and social get-togethers.”
Lamb massaman curry
Ingredients for massaman paste: 100 gm onions (chopped), 100 gm garlic, 30 gm fresh red chillies, 100 gm dry red chillies, 50 gm lemon grass, 30 gm shrimp paste, 10 gm star anise, 10 gm coriander seeds, 10 gm cinnamon powder, 5 gm cardamom powder, 100 ml cooking oil
Ingredients for the curry: 10 gm massaman paste, 150 gm lamb (cubed), 10 gm peanuts/cashew nuts, 100 gm potato (boiled and cubed), 150 ml coconut milk, 20 ml fish sauce, 50 ml palm sugar, star anise for garnish, 20 ml fish sauce, 50 ml palm sugar, 10 ml tamarind paste
Method for massaman paste: In a blender, mix all the ingredients except oil to make a smooth paste. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the paste in it. Season it with salt and allow it to come down to room temperature. Stock it in air tight jars until use.
Method for the curry: In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the massaman paste in it. Add the meat and continue to stir it until the lamb appears to be half-cooked. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Allow the curry to cook for another 10 minutes on a low flame. Finish the dish by adding potatoes, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind paste. Garnish with star anise and serve with steamed rice.
Chef speak: “Massaman is an old way of saying ‘Muslim’, since the dry spices used to make this curry were carried to Thailand by early Muslim traders. The dish is popular as an Eid speciality, since it is made using the meat of sacrificial lamb and sent to neighbours and friends as a symbol of sharing.”
Sticky rice with egg custard topped with fried onion
Ingredients: 100 gm sticky rice, 20 eggs, 200 ml coconut milk, 200 gm palm sugar, pinch of salt, 50 gms pandan leaf, 50 gm shallots (finely chopped and fried), 100 ml cooking oil
Method: Soak 100 gms of sticky rice in water for three hours and later cook it in a pressure cooker for half an hour. In a pan, boil coconut milk (100 ml) with palm sugar (100 gm) and salt. Stir the mixture continuously until all the sugar melts evenly. Add the sticky rice to this mixture and continue stirring. Once the milk reduces to half of its original quantity, remove from the fire and allow it to cool. In another bowl, mix egg yolks with the pandan leaf and beat them together. This will ensure that the egg loses its peculiar smell and gains pandan’s flavour. Strain the mixture and discard the leaves. Add the leftover coconut milk and palm sugar to this and transfer it into a deep plate or tray. Steam the milky custard in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes or until done. In a deep pastry mould (you can use a cookie cutter as well), spoon the rice mixture at the bottom. Top it with the egg custard and finish it with fried eggs. De-mould and serve cold.
Chef speak: “The edgy dessert is a staple at Thai-Muslim wedding buffets. It is light and healthy and makes your meal a memorable one.”