As Delhi bids adieu to summer, what better way to celebrate it than with a live cookout by Chef Veena Arora, chef de cuisine at The Spice Route, The Imperial, who has brought to life their first-ever Asian Market. The menu explores the expanse of South-East Asian cuisine, presenting the local favourites from the regions of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Kerala.
The menu is Chef Arora’s ode to the native culture of South East Asia and a precious gift to the progressive culinary scene of India. “Local food culture not only inspire us in our daily lives but help us stay connected with our roots. As I was born and brought up in Thailand, my biggest dream has always been to bring the traditions of South East Asia to the Indian Palate at The Spice Route. Now with Asian Market, I am happy to bring forth the local exotic dishes which have not been explored earlier and have not been part of this restaurant’s menu ever,” shared chef Arora.
We started with the Chef’s Special Soup that Chef Arora cooked in a live session. The noodle soup had a rich broth with flavours of fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and ginger. To further enhance its taste and add texture, one can mix roasted garlic, brown shallot, coriander and chilli flakes. Chef Arora pointed out that though the soup is quite well known in Vietnam, not many are aware that Thai locals love it too. Next, we had Pla Nil Krob, a crispy whole tilapia fish served with raw mango dressing along with a hint of mint. If you are having the fish, Chef Arora says its best to eat with hands. Though the fish was on the spicier side, the mango and palm sugar balanced it out. As for the mango, the chef preserved raw mango over a few months for the local Thai favourite dish. You can also pair it with Khao Mali which is Thai steamed jasmine rice.
We also tried Kozhi Sukha, perfectly cooked chicken legs with whole spice in Kerala style. For the menu, Chef Arora used traditional recipes which are unique, healthy and have diverse flavours and ingredients. These recipes are also a complete departure from the regular ones, generally associated with these regions.
On the vegetarian side, one can try Phak Bunk Man-Korn, wok-fried morning glory with garlic and chilli flavoured with Thai soya bean paste.