Spice Route at The Imperial is one of the best places in the Capital for Thai and coastal food. The flagship restaurant for the property, Spice Route is what it is under the deft expertise of Chef Veena Arora. No one knows Thai food better than Arora and you know you are in very good hands when it comes to a culinary session where Arora is the teacher.
The Imperial Culinary Club is an initiative to share the finer nuances filled with secrets of what makes The Imperial cuisine so sought after. It is a platform to capture the culinary interest of cooking enthusiasts with a live cookery show conducted by the top chefs of the hotel.
This week Arora pulled on the apron to show the gathered enthusiasts the art of making healthy and authentic Thai cuisine. The menu included Arora’s all time favourite Yum Mamuang - Spicy and tangy Thai raw mango salad followed by the Laab kai - Thai minced chicken salad with roasted glutinous rice. The Kaeng Cherd Tauhu - silky bean curd soup with chicken dumplings came next followed by Phad Phed Kai- Wok fried chicken and green beans with red curry paste and Phad Thai Chae- stir fried Thai rice noodles with chives and leeks flavoured with tamarind juice, palm sugar and crushed peanuts. Finally Arora wrapped the session off with Kai Kraphao-Wok fried minced chicken with basil and red chillies, flavoured with oyster sauce.
The audience took notes, asked questions and got some very cool cooking tips from Arora. Like how carrots or cucumbers can replace raw mangoes in Yum Mamuang and how the temperature of the pan must be kept at a constant when one is making the red curry paste and that palm sugar should not be refrigerated. Thank us for this if you try cooking Thai food ever.
The session was followed by an incredible lunch where everyone got to taste the dishes Arora had whipped up. Thai food is very healthy because of the profusion of fresh vegetables and very little oil that goes into preparation and Arora encouraged all the people there to definitely try the recipes at home.
‘When one is passionate about food the live cooking lessons are an experience to cherish. I believe, in Thai cuisine, easy techniques, right and traditional ingredients with fine innovative culinary skills can create the whole process of exploring its finer nuances, fun-loving for any culinary enthusiast,’ she said.
I am terrible in the kitchen and I admitted it flat out when I spoke to her. ‘I am not going to try any of those but they were amazing,’ I said. She laughed and said, ‘Try the salad at least?’ Raw mangoes, chilies, mint and onion...what’s not to like? Perhaps I will try it after all!