Do you have a bucket list? Of course you have a bucket list, everyone has a bucket list! But CCU, being the strange little munchkin she is, actually has gazillions of bucket lists. Um, just off the top of her head, she has the 30-before-30 (shhh… top secret list!), she has the do-before-you-wed list, she has a 30-with-the-bestie list.
Lots of list, so little time!
She also has a bucket list of restaurants to visit in every restaurant in Australia. And a few restaurants on a global scale. Yes, CCU thinks big, but is that truly so wrong? 😛
So can you imagine her surprise when a restaurant she had on her bucket list from Melbourne asked her to do a review of their menu from all they offer? And try and share one of her recipes with you?
Bucket list magic, it works every time… 🙂
Now I am not going to put my iconic ‘ccu-undercover’ sticker on this because I haven’t actually visited Som Tam Thai Restaurant. Like all good bucket lists, the reason this restaurant was on mine was because I casually stalked all Melbourne restaurants on Urbanspoon and went through their menus online.
Restaurants, take note, a good menu will always get you on my bucket list!
The first thing I noticed when I visited the website’s menu that they have an extensive range, which they display proudly with lots of categories. From the entrees to noodles to rice to everything between, Som Tam seems to offer a range of Thai dishes.
I have been to some Thai restaurants (that I didn’t even review because of the reason to follow!) in Sydney that just about, offer Pad Thai with different topics and spring rolls. People, restaurant people, Thai cuisine is much more diverse than that!
In the starters alone, Som Tam offers the traditional Thai dishes such as cream sweet and sour soups with core Thai ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves and galangal fragrance. So the focus of their menu is evidently not on adding a contemporary touch to their dishes.
They also have some fun names to really get your head into the menu such as the “Son in Law”. This is a silky egg yolk with crispy skin, caramelised onion, fried chilli and herb relish. I don’t know any son-in-laws who are sound so delicious but hey, I would order it!
Moving on to mains, there is a selection ranging from stir fry, to noodles to curries, all in keeping with the dishes we all know and love, as well as a few eclectic ones tossed in to mix it up! For example, we have the Pad Thai, the Thai Fried Rice, but on top of that, have you heard of Kaw Krook Kapi? It includes caramelised onion pork so I suppose it must be pretty popular with every carnivore I have ever met 🙂
Sifting through the different curries, the various stir fry dishes, I am noticing a trend. Som Tam has no qualms in their menu to add the traditional names to their dishes. Being in a Westernised society, you would be surprised at how a lot of restaurants tend to anglicise their names, to make it easier to understand for their customers!
I think keeping the traditional name (provided it comes with the clear, concise description that Som Tam shows on their menu) adds an authentic touch if I may be honest!
There is also a gourmet section part of the mains and while it may be a little politically incorrect considering Australian (stupid) politics these days, the ‘off the boat’ section features fresh seafood cooked in classic Thai style. These dishes focus on taking the core Aussie fish such as barramundi and snapper,
As far as desserts at Som Tam, I do kind of wish they had a larger selection. An exotic one it definitely is, with the banana roti, or the black sticky rice with coconut ice cream, but with only three dishes on show, I am sure they could extend this a bit. Not that it would stop me from trying the whole lot! 🙂
Overall, I am pretty sure you can see why Som Tam has been on my Must-Eat-At-Melbourne bucket list for ages now. The menu, while leaning towards the pricier side, has an extensive range, is also detailed and with its descriptions, makes me drool a little 😛
Being a vegetarian, I also SUPER appreciate the fact that there is a generous range of vegetarian dishes on offer, as well as the offer to actually vegetarianise certain dishes on the menu as well. Always a plus that is not available at enough restaurants!
Som Tam Thai Restaurant:
You will be excited to know that I MAY be actually visiting Melbourne this summer, where I can than firsthand review Som Tam for you lovely people 😀
But until I get to cross them off my bucket list, I will have to keep making this recipe. Yes, a recipe actually from the kitchens of Som Tam. You are SO welcome! This one is actually for their Red Curry Roast Duck! You could potentially be making restaurant standard food tonight and guys, coming from a cooking rookie like myself, it is actually the simplest dish to whip up!
Combining sweet and strong savoury flavours courtesy of a red curry paste, the additions of pineapple and grapes in this is inspired! It was creamy, the colour inviting and I was really excited that I also got to change this to be my vegetarianised version of it! But of course, I shall post up the carnivore version too lovelies! 😀
I also had to make a few changes because some ingredients were too exotic to find (like Thai Apple Eggplants!) but there you go, I emphasise again – love the traditional basis of the dishes at Som Tam!
The curry turned out to be nice and spicy since I really upped the amount of red curry paste added! It was rich and creamy, without being too filling, and the bursts of almost tropical flavour in it really tied the dish together! Plus, look at that gorgeous colour no?
Just before I give you the first ever restaurant recipe I have ever shared on my blog, can I just shout out to my Food Tech teacher who taught me how to make rice look pretty? You are a gem, who knew packing it into a bowl had such devastatingly awesome effects? 😀
Thai Tofu Red Curry
Adapted from: Som Tam‘s recipe for Roasted Duck Red Curry
Printable Recipe – includes the original recipe as well.
1 1/2 cups (375ml) coconut mill
Generous 1/2 cup Thai red curry paste (I bought mine, but there are plenty of easy make-your-own ones out there!)
1/2 cup (125ml) coconut cream
10 fresh curry leaves, roughly torn
3/4 large eggplant, roughly chopped
150g pineapple, cut into 2cm pieces
10 cherry tomatoes tomatoes, chopped in half
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1 tbs soy sauce
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Steamed Jasmine Rice, to serve
- Heat up 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a nonstick frypan on medium heat
- While it is heating, cut the tofu into medium sized cubes
- Place the cubes into the heated frypan and let cook on each side for around 3-4 minutes till lightly browned with some dark brown patches (it looks extraordinarily like chicken!)
- Put aside, and set a large wok/frypan on medium-high heat.
- Heat 1/4 cup of the coconut milk in it for 3-5 minutes or till the oil separates from the milk. Add the curry paste, and stir through till fragrant and roasted.
- Add the remaining coconut milk and cream, bringing the mixture to boil. Add in the curry leaves and eggplant.
- Cook this mixture for 3-5 minutes (I kept the moisture in by covering the top of the wok) or till the eggplant has softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients (tofu, thai basil leaves, pineapple tomato, grapes, caster sugar, sauces, salt) and cook for 3-5 minutes longer.
- Et voila! Serve with steamed rice and try not to eat the entire curry in one serving 🙂
It was really nice to be able to be in the kitchen again, even if I didn’t have time to bake 😛
Till next time mes cheris!
Disclaimer: Go Bake Yourself was sponsored for this post and wrote in collaboration with Som Tam Restaurant. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and her own.