EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
High season begins, new menus abound!
One of the joys of the start of high season are the
fantastic new menus that many of the hotels, resorts and
restaurants implement. Siripanna Resort is starting a new
Thai menu to go with their fabulous grill featuring a very
tasty fresh made clear Tom Yam chicken from the recipe of a
noted chef given national artist status Penpan Sithitrai. I
confess, the clear Tom Yam is a favorite of mine and I found
the sour and spicy perfectly matched. The ala carte menu
features other delicious Thai and Lanna treats alongside
their famous buffet.
Not to be outdone, Tamarind Village, renowned for their
northern food added new dishes to their menu made by local
chefs including the owner of the Secret Garden, a small
reservation only restaurant found in Mae Rim. Titled 1Kong
Gin Baan Hao’ or ‘Dishes We Like To Eat At Home’. It offers
such well known Northern dishes as Gaeng Hung Ley but also
lesser known dishes such as ‘ab’ minced meat and herbs
blended and steamed in a banana leaf. Ab was reminiscent to
me of the better known Hor mok. The ‘Ab Plah’ was absolutely
delicious as was the Tum Ma Kuea or charcoal grilled
eggplant and chili dip. The smoky flavor and the creamy
eggplant were delicious.
A cooking demonstration was on offer as well and the
simplicity in preparation and cooking was belied by the
flavor. Food that grandma would cook if your grandmother was
a Northern Thai woman!
Finally an invitation the Cooking School at the Four Seasons
saw our merry band instructed in the ways of making purple
food! Anchan, or as it is known in English, Butterfly pea,
is a beautiful blue flower that is also totally edible. The
dried flowers are soaked in water to produce a brilliant
blue color which, when lemon juice is added, turn a gorgeous
royal purple. This water is mixed with rice flour to make a
dumpling which is filled with a garlic, chicken and herbs
mixture and then steamed. The resulting lavender colored
dumpling is not only really pretty but quite tasty too. The
very personable chef made a few other dishes for us
including attractive and surprisingly easy to make fresh
spring rolls. Although as it was pointed out to one non-cook
in the group, you do have to be able to chop up all the
ingredients and cook the egg into an omelet to make this
Like everything at the Four Seasons, the Cooking School was
well appointed and in very beautiful surroundings.
Certainly all of these places offer a pricey alternative
(although I should add the Siripanna dinner is extremely
reasonable, with the buffet at 599 Baht and the ala carte
dishes extra) but for those looking for high quality,
delicious food in a beautiful ambiance, these new menus all
come highly recommended.
RECIPES BY NOI: Kaeng Ma Fak
pumpkin always brings back memories for me. One day while I
was visiting Doi Suthep temple, my mom called and told me
the sad news that my grandma had just passed away. Two
months later hidden in the back of the garden I found
pumpkin and melon plants with their big, ripe fruits. We
recalled that grandma was the one who planted them.
That meal with Kaeng Ma Fak (Pumpkin curry) was a
bittersweet memory of her. A year later I still think of her
when I cook pumpkin and I won’t be surprised to find
Grandma’s pumpkins growing all over Thailand after I shared
some seeds to folks on the internet who like pumpkins.
Take 500g pumpkin, chopped into 1x1inch cubes, 300g pork,
100g lemon basil leaf.
Make chili paste by pound fresh chili, salt, garlic,
shallots, lemongrass, shrimp paste and chopped plara
(fermented fish) all together.
Boil 1 liter of water and add chili paste. Add the pork to
the boiling water and cook until the soup has a good flavor.
Add the pumpkin and cook for about 15 minutes, until the
pumpkin is cooked. Remove from the heat and add the lemon
A simple and easy but delicious meal.