Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Blue Elephant Bangkok: Royal Thai Cuisine

With branches in Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, and London, The Blue Elephant Group are among the most successful Thai restaurants in the world, serving Royal Thai Cuisine, a lighter more refined version of traditional Thai cooking. At the centre of this company is chef and owner Nooror Somany Steppe, a luminary of Thai cuisine whose passion and skill for authentic Thai cuisine brought forth the birth of her iconic Blue Elephant restaurants, earning accolades from Paris to Dubai. Bangkok is still very much the hub of her business, and the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School in Sathorn stands out one of Bangkok’s most highly praised cookery schools. Behind the pale lemon facade of an antique colonial-style house with a classic interior of dark rattan furnishings and authentic Asian artifacts, Chef Nooror and her team faithfully recreate dishes from the past, serving Royal Thai cuisine with authentic flavour each night at her Blue Elephant Bangkok.

The lovely table setting at The Blue Elephant Bangkok with its colonial-style Thai-Chine interior complete with wooden shutters and ceiling fans

Ginger Martini with Vodka and fresh Thai ginger

The Blue Orchid with Absolut Kurant, Blue Curacao and Cranberry Juice

Complimentary Amuse-Bouche

Pearls of the Blue Elephant, the chef's selection of Thai fish cake, paper prawn, 
dim sum, chicken Satay, vermicelli salad and spring rolls

Sileni Estates Pinot Gris

A glass of Minervois

Stir fried Blue Swimmer crab meat in yellow curry and Blue Elephant
homemade roasted chili paste

Stir-Fried Morning Glory with organic Thai garlic and red chili

Crispy Larb Ped, Blue Elephant style spicy salad of crispy duck, with a hint
of mint leaves and organic young galangal, accompanied by Tokboki

Our gracious and friendly server 'Bank' with a bamboo steamer of white and brown sticky Jasmin rice

An elephant-shaped tea pot with Jasmin Tea being served table side

A steaming cup of Thai Jasmin tea

Chef Nooror Somany Steppe

The Blue Elephant Cookbook

Massaman Curry with Lamb
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Nooror, Blue Elephant Bangkok

This is a tender lamb curry of dried spices in coconut milk, with Thai sweet potatoes and succulent roasted peanuts accompanied by cashew nuts, a home recipe originally from the far South.

4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slivers of ginger
4 stems of cilantro with roots
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 lb lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes (or as rack of lamb cut into chops)
4 medium potatoes, quartered
12 tbsp vegetable oil
12 tbsp Massaman curry paste
4 bay leaves
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cardamom
Pinch ground coriander seeds
4 cups grams coconut milk
12 whole shallots
12 tbsp tamarind juice
12 tbsp fish sauce
12 tbsp palm sugar
20 tbsp water
1 teaspoon salt

20 deep-fried cashews
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp coconut cream

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the cilantro root, garlic, and ginger together, then set aside. Using a large pan, deep-fry the lamb in very hot oil for 5 minutes. Remove the lamb, then deep-fry the potato pieces for 10 minutes. In a wok or saucepan set on medium heat, add 12 tablespoons of vegetable oil until very hot, then add the Massaman curry paste, pounded cilantro-ginger-garlic paste, bay leaf and ground spices, and stir-fry until an aroma develops. Add the coconut milk, lamb, potato and shallots and bring to a boil. Next add the palm sugar and fish sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding the tamarind juice and water until the sauce has a medium consistency. Transfer to a serving tureen and garnish with with fried cashew nuts, float the coconut cream on top and sprinkle with cilantro.