Celebrate Thai New Year with food

Apr 13, 2014, 08:59 IST | Phorum Dalal

Songkran marks the Thai New Year and foodies can choose from a pop-up restaurant or a special menu at a five-star. Stay home and try out rice paper rolls, Muskmelon in Coconut Cream and Stir-fried Scallops

‘Suk san wan Songkran’.
That’s wishing you a happy Thai New Year, which falls today. The New Year celebrations will go on till April 20. The word Songkran traces its roots to Sanskrit and denotes change, or transformation as the sun moves into Aries on the astrological chart. The festival symbolises hospitality, love, and relationship in families, communities, and society as a whole.

Stir-fried Scallops in Lemongrass Sauce

Chef Pipat Niyomsin of the newly-opened Oh:Cha at Lower Parel says the Thai New Year is all about spending time with your family. While the cuisine has no beginning or end, there is no such thing as a starter, main course or dessert. “It is all about community eating, and taking a little of everything and eating with your loved ones.”

Here are a few reasons to dig into Thai food this week:

Festive menu
Bringing the festivities to the city, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai at Worli is hosting a Songran special menu at its South East Asian restaurant San-Qi till April 15. Chef Seefah Ketchaiyo has  concocted a traditional and contemporary menu, which includes Braised Eggplant, Silken Tofu in Thai Soya Sauce, Eggless Noodles with Thai Spiced Prawns, and even Mango Sticky Rice for dessert.

At: Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, 114, Dr E Moses Rd, Worli 
Call: 24818060 

Pop-up restaurant 
Between April 18-20, the founder of Lotus Blossom Thai catering service, Radhika Khanna, will host a 50-seater pop-up restaurant at Tranceforme Under the Banyan in Mahalaxmi, which is open only for dinner. Bangkok-based Chef Somboon Sirithangkul, who has come down especially for this event, will also conduct food demonstrations. 
At: Tranceforme Under the Banyan, 36 Laxmi Mills Compound, off E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi. 
For reservations, 
Call: 9967624034

Thai-style rice paper rolls by Radhika Khanna are easy to make as it needs no cooking

Thai-style rice paper rolls

>> 10 rice paper sheets
>> 3 iceberg lettuce leaves
>> 1 cucumber
>> 50gm glass noodles, soak in room temperature water for 10 minutes and refrigerate for 15 minutes
>> 1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
>> 1 carrot, chopped

>> Take a sheet of rice paper, soak in a shallow plate of water, cut it in half
>> Place lettuce on the rice paper. Put sticks of  carrots, cucumber and some glass noodles on one edge
>> Add a sprig of coriander with leaf sticking out at the other end  
>> Roll the paper tightly into the thickness of a cigar
>> Chill in a fridge for some time and serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce

Thai cuisine
Thai food over time has been made luxurious, but it is a simple, tasty and wholesome cuisine that incorporates the four basic flavours of sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Every dish in the cuisine also has a balance of food components, ensuring there is right amount of protein (through meat or tofu), along with the goodness of vegetables, coordinating a dash of colours, which is pleasing to the eye and palate. While the spicy elements come from bird’s eye chillies, pepper and a heavy use of green chillies, the sweetness is mainly from palm sugar and jaggery. The saltiness comes from fish sauce.

Chef Seefah Ketchaiyo at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai says Songran is all about eating with your family. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Stir-fried Scallops in lemongrass sauce
>> 100g scallops
>> 20g  lemongrass
>> 5g bird’s eye chilli
>> 5g Kaffir lime leaf
>> 10g oyster sauce
>> 5g fish sauce
>> 2g sugar
>> 2g chicken broth powder
>> 5g garlic peel
>> Salt to taste

For the fish
>> Blend the lemongrass, Bird’s eye chilli, Kaffir lime leaf and garlic with oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and a dash of oil, and a pinch of salt and white pepper powder, chicken broth powder
>> Stir-fry the scallop
>> Mix with lemon grass sauce and serve

MuskMelon In Coconut Cream
>> 3 muskmelon balls  
>> 3 watermelon balls
>> 30 ml pandan leaf syrup
>> 45ml coconut milk
>> Crushed ice as per need

>> Scoop out watermelon and muskmelon and roll them into a ball shape
>> Plate it in a glass
>> Add the pandan leaf  syrup and coconut milk  to the melon balls
>> Top it with ice crush

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