This time, when Thai Pavillion at Vivanta by Taj invited me, I was not very sure if they would have anything new to offer. Then they said, Chef, is going to explain the Parallels In Thai & Indian Cuisine and there I was there to understand it.
They started by showing us some exotic raw ingredients that included the following:
- Pumpkin- Small dark green pumpkin that looks like a baby pumpkin but is a full-grown pumpkin.
- Kewra Leaves – Yes, the same Kewra that is sprinkled on Indian Mithais
- Lemon Grass
- Krachai or Finger Ginger – a long finger-shaped Ginger – reddish-brown in color
- Jumbo Red Chilly
Indian & Thai Cuisine parallels
As we ate the sumptuous food, Chef Benjamin, who hails from Mizoram explained the parallels between various Indian and Thai cuisines and here is the list that I gathered Tom Yum Soup can be equated with Tamatar Shorba Massaman Curry, whose name comes from Musalman curry from the Muslim communities living in Southern Thailand, can be compared with Rogan Josh and both of these are traditionally made with lamb. Stir Fry, but for the difference in the batter used can be our very own Bhajji or pakoras.
Water Chestnut in Coconut curry is inspired by Payasam that is also based in Coconut milk. In fact, the chef told us that coconut milk got added to Thai curries when Portuguese came to Thailand and could not take the spice levels there and they used coconut milk to make it milder.
In fact, when Chef was narrating the five elements of Thai Cuisine i.e. Sweet, Sour, Salty, Spicy, Bitter, it reminded of six tastes that Ayurveda talks of in a complete meal, and are traditionally a part of Indian Thali. Comparative Cuisine can be an interesting study in itself.