Saturday, December 30, 2006

Meal 39. Thai Thom Yum Kung


When I see all the ingredients Bibi has gathered around her to prepare the Thai meal, I am seriously intimidated. I give up ever recreating this meal before she has even started. When she tells me she's planning to open a Thai restaurant, I feel somewhat better...I'm dealing with a professional here.


Like Mike (from my Chinese meal), Bibi is a "European" name, as her Thai name is too long and complicated to pronounce for most Westerners.
Most Thai have a nickname, and even the
kings are not known by their full name! Bibi says:"We just call them King nr. 5 or King nr. 9."

The official name for Bangkok is so long, there's even a special song to help you remember is. Mostly it's just called Krung Thep, which roughly translates into "City of Angels". Anyway, Bibi isn't even from Bangkok!

While I'm helping her remove the heads of the big shrimp for our soup, she explains how she needs to be in a good mood while cooking: "I have to be in a good mood for the food to taste good! If I'm in a bad mood, the dishes somehow always turn out too salty or too sweet..."

I'd never heard that before!

As she is cooking for non-Thai, Bibi has been so nice as to adapt the level of hotness to our tastes. She says what we are eating is "children's level". She herself always brings a little box of chili powder whenever she's eating out or at a restaurant. This way, she can surreptitiously add a bit of spice to the dishes that taste very bland to her.

But even within Thai adults there is a variation in what people can stand. Bibi's aunt cooks such spicy food that Bibi's father will not accept dinner invitations to her home anymore!

Our meal starts with little snacks; egg rolls, meat patties and frothy omelet. The omelet is so airy because it's poured into the pan from great heights...Bibi jokes:"We will pour it from the second floor, if we want it to be really light!"

The spicy Thom Yum Kung, brings a nice flush to my cheeks and every spoonful springs a new surprise of mushrooms, coriander or shrimp. Somehow I find it impossible to make good pictures of the food this time. Especially of the main dish, white rice with Beef Curry Matsaman. This is a special recipe, originally only eaten in the King's Palace, according to Bibi. "Every dish has a story in Thailand."

I feel blessed to be able to taste it on this cold rainy winter day in Holland.


As a final lesson, Bibi shows me how to make a spring roll with a napkin (photo at right). I still feel as if I'm in a course about Shakespeare before even learning the alphabet! If she does indeed open a restaurant, I will be the first visitor.




Click here for a simplified recipe for Thom Yum Kung.

3 comments:

The TriniGourmet said...

Looks and sounds good :) Definitely bookmarking :)

Anonymous said...

Mmm...Thom Yum Kung is probably one of my favorite foods in the world. Wish I could've been there for this one.

--Cousin Adam

aniksha said...

my name is aniksha. I live in India and am trying to get the hang of blogging!!!!........am more interested in getting to know more about other cultural foods and sharing receipes.