KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) The most anyone could do after eating a scrumptious meal at a restaurant is to go home and drool over it for days. But not the patrons of Rama V Fine Thai Cuisine located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
They get to feast on fine Thai cuisine at the restaurant and recreate some of the dishes at home - thanks to MPH Masterclass Kitchens' Rama V Thai Cookbook that was published last year.
The cookbook includes 25 of the restaurant's iconic dishes such as Chor Ladda - the strikingly blue, flower-shaped dumplings stuffed with minced chicken and peanuts; Som Tam Khai Kem - Rama V's signature papaya salad with salted egg yolk; Gaeng Ped Pol Linchee - roasted duck curry with lychee; and Seau Rong Hai - a Thai-style grilled steak with tamarind sauce.
For those who think that the restaurant is making a mistake by revealing the secrets to its money spinners, Rama V CEO Andre Shum said he believes in sharing the authentic Rama V experience and spirit of fine Thai cuisine beyond the restaurant. It also ensures the longevity of the flavours of the now two decades old establishment.
PAD THAI WITH SEAFOOD
Pad Thai sauce
80ml tamarind juice
80ml fish sauce
100g palm sugar
35g fresh prawns, shelled and deveined
35g cooked mussels
40g fresh squid, sliced and scored
90g fresh rice noodles
60ml pad thai sauce
80g bean sprouts
10g Chinese chives, cut into 2.5cm lengths
10g dried shrimps, stirfried until crispy and fragrant
20g beancurd, cubed and deep fried
30g roasted peanuts, crushed
chilli flakes or powder, to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
20g roasted peanuts, crushed
2 stalks Chinese chives, chopped
more chilli flakes or powder, if liked
1 lime, halved
To make Pad Thai sauce:
1. In a pot, add all the ingredients for the sauce and boil until thick, stirring continuously. The texture should be slightly thinner than caramel. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To prepare the dish
1. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and stirfry the garlic until fragrant. Add the egg and scramble. Add seafood and continue to stirfry until the egg is cooked. Then, add the rice noodles and pad thai sauce and continue to stirfry until noodles are aromatic.
2. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the beansprouts, chives, dried shrimps, beancurd, crushed peanuts, chilli powder and pepper.
3. Once all the ingredients have been added, turn the heat up to high and fry for about 2 minutes. Be careful to not overcook, or else the beansprouts and noodles may become too soft. Serve on a plate with some fresh beansprouts, crushed peanuts, chopped chives and a squeeze of lime juice.
1. If you are unable to find fresh rice noodles, you can substitute them with dry noodles. Just make sure to soak the noodles till softened before cooking.
2. Also, we recommend adding a little chicken stock into the pan when stirfrying.
"There are only 25 of the recipes in the book, and we have lots more where they came from, so we are not exactly revealing all of our trade secrets. Besides, our patrons come to Rama V for the experience and ambience on top of the food that we offer," he said.
Opened in 1995, the Thai fine dining institution almost closed down in 2009 before F&B entrepreneur Shum, and travel industry veteran, Danny Jee, swooped in and took over the restaurant along Jalan U-Thant. Jee has since left the restaurant which is currently undergoing renovation.
Those who crave for the authentic Rama V taste can always turn to the pages of the cookbook to get by until the restaurant re-opens some time in June. The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but you may want to tweak some of the quantities of the ingredients according to your taste and expertise. Fret not, as it wouldn't change the taste of the food entirely.
Following this method, we tested some of the recipes and our tester was pretty pleased with the results and gave it the thumbs-up. She noted, however, that the recipes can be quite imprecise and careless, like asking you to slice when shredding is required, or forgetting a step or three, but with the guide of the pictures, and some knowledge of Thai food, a savvy cook should be able to figure it out and still produce tasty Thai dishes with the classic taste promised.
Rama V Thai Cookbook is 144 pages of colourful pictures and recipes that are divided into eight sections - appetisers, salads, soups, curries, mains and desserts. And yes, before you wonder out loud, there is a recipe for the dessert that is synonymous with Thai food - Khao Niaw Ma Muang, or Mango Sticky Rice. Did you know that you can also replace the mango in the recipe with jackfruit or durian - or any other fruit for that matter?
For newbies trying out the recipes, the book is also filled with useful tips and tricks that can be used in the kitchen.
An explanation is also given for each dish, so that you know the history and why it is important to the restaurant before you recreate it at home.
"Authenticity is greatly valued at Rama V, which is why we go back to the root of each dish, to learn how it was prepared traditionally, and proceed to replicate that in our kitchen," said the author. "We don't just offer Thai food that tastes great, we serve original Thai flavours in our efforts to give our customers a truly authentic Thai experience."
Note: Recipes reproduced with permission from Rama V Thai Cookbook (RM39.90, available at MPH bookstores nationwide) here edited for clarity and greater accuracy.