Sunday, March 29, 2015

Discover a Taste of Thailand with the Asian Food Channel's Chef Ian Kittichai

The blend of distinct flavors, from sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy notes, weave seamlessly in a delicate yet harmonious balance that can only come from authentic Thai cuisine. The complexity of flavors in a single Thai dish alone is impressive, and to experience an elegant 6-course menu delivers the full range and depth of an authentic Thai dining experience. 

The Asian Food Channel brings the complex and authentic flavors of Thailand with one if its best chefs in a culinary tour dubbed the "Taste of Thailand with Ian Kittichai." An award-winning chef, author, and renowned TV personality of The Asian Food Channel's "3 Chefs 1 City," Chef Pongtawat "Ian Kittichai" Chalermkittichai shares his take on traditional Thai cuisine with a modern twist, featuring his signature dishes from his flagship restaurant ranked No. 31 on 2014's Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, the Issaya Siamese Club.

Taste of Thailand with Ian Kittichai is a regional culinary tour by the Asian Food Channel, with stops in Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. The Philippine leg of Chef Ian Kittichai's culinary tour included a private lunch at Dusit Thani Manila's Benjarong, where Chef Kittichai showcased his mastery of authentic Thai flavors.

The graceful interiors of Dusit Thani Manila's Benjarong was the perfect setting for Chef Ian Kittichai's signature dishes. The first two courses of appetizers by Chef Ian Kittichai were then served, starting with the Meing Tuna (L), a refreshing diced tuna tartare with ginger, betel leaves, and palm sugar fish sauce dressing; and Ma-Hor (R), a tasty caramelized minced shrimp ball with peanuts on sweet pineapple. The freshness of the tuna, with its clean flavors, are given that unique Thai touch with a rich blend of contrasting notes, from the sharpness of the ginger, the subtle bitterness from the betel leaves, the sweetness of the palm sugar, and the vibrant salty kick from the fish sauce. The subtle flavors of the fresh tuna are draped in layers of flavor from the different ingredients, without overpowering the other, for perfectly balanced flavors.  The Ma-Hor presented a unique texture, soft yet chewy, with the caramelized minced shrimps releasing a burst of flavor in each bite, finished by the sweet and tart pineapple.

After the appetizers were served, Chef Ian Kittichai then takes the stage to prepare one of the signature dishes of his flagship restaurant, Issaya Siamese Club's Grilled Beef Salad. The sheer number of fresh herbs and spices is an indication of the bold and complex layers of flavors in the dish. 

As Chef Ian Kittichai prepared the dressing, the sharp and pungent aroma filled the room, playfully teasing your palate. The hearty Grilled Beef Salad, with grilled beef tenderloin and fresh herbs drizzled with bird's eye chili vinaigrette, looked deceptively simple, yet one bite quickly changes that. The robust beefy notes of the tenderloin are spiced up with a soothing layer of heat from the chili, as the herbs add its own distinct minty flavor, capped by a hint of the deep and salty fish sauce. Like the previous dishes, all the different flavors are masterfully balanced for a richness and depth that can only come from a perfectly executed dish.

The traditional Tom Kha Goong, with seared Tiger Prawns in a light galangal coconut broth with kaffir lime, delivers familiar and comforting flavors. Chef Ian Kittichai's version may not appear as "fully loaded" as the usual vegetable-laden Thai soup, yet the richness of the broth says its all there. A few more sips of the thick and flavorful broth revealed the plump tiger prawns, with its fresh snap and briny sweetness. It's an elegant interpretation of the rustic and classic Thai soup.

The first of the mains were then served, a delicate Chili Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, with the soft, white and tender fillet rubbed with house-blended chili paste. The noticeable sharpness of the chili glaze adds a distinct and lingering heat without overwhelming the delicate Chilean sea bass, or the palate. The bold notes of the chili glaze are tempered and balanced in another masterful weave of contrasting flavors.

The second main course arrived, a hefty Beef Short Ribs in Green Curry Sauce, with slow-cooked beef short ribs in a thick homemade green curry, served with steamed Jasmine Rice. The fork-tender beef, draped in a rich green curry, isn't shy with flavor, not at all. The flavors are bold and upfront, with the rich blend of spices perfectly rounding out the flavors of the tender beef. Add some of the curry to the fragrant Jasmine rice, and you've got a winning pair. And you'll probably want some extra jasmine rice too. Each dish is different, but the culinary thread that binds all the dishes together is the delicate balance of flavors.

Chef Ian Kittichai then caps his authentic Thai feast by drawing inspiration from the iconic Jasmine flower for his intricate dessert, an indulgent Jasmine Flower Panna Cotta served with Jasmine Rice Ice Cream and crisp Jasmine Rice Tuille. The flowery fragrance of the jasmine lends a unique flavor to the dessert, and a unique taste of Thailand.  Complex yet balanced flavors, from appetizers to dessert, each reflecting Chef Ian Kittichai's mastery with authentic Thai flavors. You can catch more of Ian Kittichai's Thai flavors on the Asian Food Channel (details below) or recreate the some of the flavors at home with these recipes:

Grilled Beef Salad
Red Seafood Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
20 g Garlic
25 g Coriander root
30 g Red finger chili , deseeded
22 g Red bird's eye chili
100 ml Fish sauce
1oo ml Lime juice
30 g Palm sugar

In blender, combine roasted peppers and remaining ingredients until smooth.

20 g Coriander roots
1 tsp Black peppercorn
30 g Oyster sauce
40 g Garlic
1 tbs Vegetable oil
4 pcs 200 g Beef tenderloin
200 g Cucumber
200 g Cherry tomato
200 g Onion, sliced
20 g Red finger chili, thinly sliced
200 g Celery, thinly sliced diagonally

1. Pound coriander roots, black peppercorn and garlic until smooth, stir in oyster sauce and oil, rub the mixture with tenderloin and marinate overnight.
2.  Thinly cut cucumber lengthwise into 3-inch strips, cut tomatoes in half, and soak in seafood dressing for 30 minutes.
3.  Heat oil in large non-stick frying pan, grill tenderloin on both sides until desired doneness. Rest on wire rack for 5 minutes then thinly slice to 1 cm strips.
4.  On each plate, place cucumber strips, tomatoes, and grilled beef slices on top.
5.  Pour red seafood dipping sauce on top and decorate with onion, red finger chili, pepper and celery.

Chilean Sea Bass

Chill Glazing Ingredients:
500 g Palm sugar
160 g Fermented beans (salted yellow beans, soy bean paste)
250 g Red curry paste

Chilean Sea Bass
2 Cups Chili Glaze
10 Fillets Chilean Sea Bass, 170 g each
500 g Gailan, blanched

1.  Marinate sea bass with chili glaze overnight.
2.  Place the fish in a tray with greased aluminum foil, bake at 180C oven for 7 minutes. Serve with blanched gailan.

Catch Chef Ian Kittichai on the Asian Food Channel's 3 Chefs 1 City every Tuesday at 9:00pm on SkyCable 22, Dream Satellite TV, Channel 27, Cignal, Channel 26, and Destiny Cable TV, Channel 71 (Analog) and Channel 22 (Digital).

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