A Peek Into Som Tam

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 RestaurantLike 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!

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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!

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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!

My brother insisted on eating something so I put it to good use! :D

My brother insisted on eating something so I put it to good use!😀

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!

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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,

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As far as desserts at Som TamI 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😛

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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:

Menu Links:

Som Tam on Urbanspoon

 

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 TamYou 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!

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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!😀

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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?

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

  • 400g fresh tofu (we used semi-soft but it crumbled a bit in the curry so medium to hard tofu is better)
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  • 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

  • 1 tbs vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce
    IMG_8750

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • Steamed Jasmine Rice, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat up 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a nonstick frypan on medium heat
  2. While it is heating, cut the tofu into medium sized cubes
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  3. 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!)
    IMG_8744
  4. Put aside, and set a large wok/frypan on medium-high heat.
  5. 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.
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  6. Add the remaining coconut milk and cream, bringing the mixture to boil. Add in the curry leaves and eggplant.
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  7. 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.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients (tofu, thai basil leaves, pineapple tomato, grapes, caster sugar, sauces, salt) and cook for 3-5 minutes longer.
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  9. 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.

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79 Comments

  1. I see you are on good form! You know Son in Law” eggs are amazing, totally delicious,, In fact I need to make that dish again soon, but in the meantime you’ve reminded me how good red thai curry is🙂 Hmmm maybe you ar egetting the idea that I like veggie Thai dishes🙂

  2. viveka says:

    Big fan of Thai food … prefer it to the Chinese, tofu is something I have never tried – at least not what I know of. As I open this post I was just thinking that you always write about non vegetarian dishes and you’re a vegetarian yourself Not much of a curry eater, except Thai. Have to try tofu when I visit Hong Kong. *smile

  3. mjskit says:

    If I had a bucket list, I would have this recipe on it as well (and no, I’ve never made a bucket list, but that’s a LONG story!). You Som Tam looks delicious and wasn’t sure if I had had it before until I looked as the ingredients. I think I’ve had it once and loved it. Hope you get to eat at this recipe when you’re in Melbourne!

  4. hohohoho your bucket list sounds exactly like mine. Guess I’ll need to fly myself to Australia again one of these days, eh? Shouldn’t be reading this post on an empty stomach though…anyway you can airmail this meal over?😉

  5. Love Thai food. Love kaffir lime leaves and galangal fragrance even more. We love tofu and eggplant so will have give this recipe a try. May have to omit the pineapple as hubby is not a big fan of pineapple in savory dishes. Thanks for sharing Uru.

    • Haven’t heard of galangal fragrances before, but I would love to try it🙂
      I’m sure it would be sweet enough with grapes so the pineapple is just an extra (like pizza :P)
      Enjoy and my pleasure!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  6. Next Stop: Food says:

    My bucket list just keeps to grow longer and longer! I love tofu and hopefully will have a chance to try out your recipe😀

  7. hotlyspiced says:

    I do love it when you go to a Thai restaurant and there are things on the menu that are surprising rather than what can be typically expected. Thai and Italian cuisines are my favourite. I love the look of your tofu curry and excellent how it has Thai basil in it. Love Thai basil! xx

  8. I think this place just made it onto my bucket list too, but I’m so happy I can still enjoy this fabulous curry in the meantime! It looks so rich, warming, and perfect for the colder weather that has begun to settle in.

    • I know right? I was worried for a sec and thought I mixed them up with my bro😛
      And yep, I used a mix because I couldn’t find a lot of Thai basil leaves!🙂 – Didn’t have enough left for decoration so used the curry leaves for that!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  9. shenANNAgans says:

    Do before wed list…. Now this sounds interesting Uru.🙂
    I am the same, I have food bucket lists, travel bucket lists, single Anna bucket list, married Anna bucket list…. My lists go onnnnnn. LOL!
    Looks like a big tick for your bucket list, and cause you said so, Ill add it to the food bucket list. Happy Monday my friend.🙂

  10. I Wilkerson says:

    Maybe you’ll get a personal invitation after this! I have only two bucket lists–one of things I’d like to do and a separate one of foods I want to try making, which includes Creme Brulee, Oysters Rockefeller and homemade beer.

  11. kitchenriffs says:

    I’m big on checking out online menus, too. I’ve often visited places simply because I liked the menu. Anyway, terrific dish — and I love spicy, so this would be perfect for me. Great rice! And fun p os t– thanks.

  12. A_Boleyn says:

    What a lovely dish, Uru. The fried tofu does resemble chunks of chicken and the sweet grapes and pineapple should offset any spiciness from some commercial curry pastes you get. Lovely colour and creaminess as well.

    I don’t make nearly enough Thai recipes barring my go-to Chicken Pad Thai which I can have on the table in 30 minutes if I don’t stop to take pictures. I actually made it today after putting together a more challenging Tom Kha Talaya (Thai Seafood with Coconut Milk soup). I was debating on whether I should use a red or green canned curry paste mix for the soup but then made it from scratch.🙂 I’ll have to check out the Son in law Eggs cause they sound intriguing.

    • Thanks for much😀 Wow the Tom Kha Talaya sounds so difficult to make, seafood is a hard ingredient to work with!
      Haha from scratch is good, I’m going to try that next time!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

      • A_Boleyn says:

        The thai seafood soup was actually quite easy to put together. Using fresh crab (cook live crab, pick out the meat) was what took the most time. More recently, I’ve been making tasty cocktails which is a lot of fun too.

        PS: I only have one bucket list…recipes that I want to cook one day. It gets longer every year. I’m kind of at a standstill right now cause there are mostly desserts/cakes/tortes left on the list.

        http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/134513.html

  13. I love a good Thai meal and this definitely falls into that category! Love the version with tofu too!

    I know the origins of the Son in Law eggs, (also have s version in Cantonese cuisine.) The mother in law cooks the dish and serves it to her son in law, as a reminder of what will happen (if he) doesn’t treat her daughter right. The eggs are meant to be the (eggy bits) of a man’s (err privates) and that’s what she’ll do if he steps out of line!😉

  14. navane64 says:

    I love this tofu Thai curry, Thank you for the recipe. Gonna try for next week’s vegetarian meal. Yum al right all the way.

  15. G’day What a great post Chop Chip Uru and might now have to try making roast duck curry!
    Of course, we all have a bucket list and well done of the the restaurants that was on your list, you got to review!
    Cheers! Joanne @What’s On The List

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