Thai food is an original and rich amalgam of aromas, subtle blends of herbs and spices and contrasting textures and tastes. It contains flavours and techniques that are familiar from Chinese, Indian and Japanese cooking, but they have been so skilfully combined and refined that the resulting dishes have a new and exciting character.
Whether searing hot or subtly mild, the guiding principle in Thai cooking is harmony. Fundamentally an aromatic marriage of centuries – old Eastern and Western influences, the chief characteristics being who cooks it, for whom it is cooked, for what occasion and where it is cooked. In short Thai dishes can be extremely personal to the cook, how they are refined for particular tastes, how they befit a special function or festival and where they originate. The cuisine has its roots in a waterborne lifestyle, with aquatic animals, plants and herbs as major ingredients.
Thai cuisine is inextricably interwoven with culture, a mystical mix of fragrant flavours and intriguing history: given the country’s historical Indian roots - Hindu Buddhism was bought here centuries ago, so many Thai curries are redolent with chillies, garlic, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and onions.
Cut the paneer into half inch sized cubes. Wash and chop lemon grass. Wash and wipe dry lemon leaves. Peel, wash and grate ginger. Remove stems, wash and chop green chillies. Peel, wash and finely slice carrots. Wash and chop baby corns and mushrooms. Wash broccoli and drain. Clean, wash and chop coriander leaves. Peel, wash and chop spring onions.
Roast peanuts and remove skin. Grind coarsely. Wash, deseed and cut capsicum into cubes. Clean and wash basil leaves and drain well. Wash tomatoes and slice thinly. Heat three cups of water in a pan. Add half of the lemon grass, lemon leaves, ginger and green chillies. Boil for five minutes. Strain and keep the stock aside. Make a paste of coriander leaves, spring onions, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, pepper corns, cloves and the remaining lemon grass.
Heat oil in a pan, add carrots, baby corns and mushrooms and cook for two to three minutes. Add broccoli and continue to stir fry. Add the ground paste and stir. Add the stock and mix. Add paneer cubes and bring to a boil. Add crushed roasted peanuts and mix. Add capsicum cubes, basil leaves and salt. Mix well. Add coconut milk, tomato slices and lemon juice. Let it simmer for two to three minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient.
His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.