The mood for celebration is almost never ending, especially in Kolkata, with 2 major festivals falling in the same month. It is quite evident from almost no traffic jam even during peak office hours and commuting to office hasn’t been this amazing and quick, ever. The festivities and fun in the air is clearly visible in the city and at home, we are still in the process of calling people, visiting different homes to wish Bijoya. In all this, work continues. And one of these days, we ended up going to Baan Thai on invitation for understanding and of course, trying out the Hor Mok menu.
Now ‘Hor Mok’, also known as ‘Hormok’, is not about a dish but an entire amalgamation of ingredients into one dish; which is steamed in banana leaf and then served. It is a traditional method of cooking in Thailand where they have food in hor mok style usually to celebrate an occasion, which could be just about anything. It is quite popularly presented in marriages, since a hor mok is a marriage of ingredients.
Baan Thai has always had a couple of hor mok dishes in their menu. However, Chef Klae Somsuay from Thailand, who has been part of the restaurant since its inception, is all enthusiastic about educating the people of Kolkata in the various nuances and flavours of Thai cuisine along with an understanding of the culture of Thailand. Hence he decided on dedicating an entire month of celebration by having an extensive Hor Mok menu as an addition to the regular menu at Baan Thai.
On suggestion from Aparna (Ms Aparna Banerjee Paul – the ever gracious perfect hostess who is the communications manager here) and the chef, we tried out hormok phak mapao, which is a medley of exotic vegetables in red curry paste enhanced with the nuttiness of a peanut sauce steamed inside a tender coconut shell. Being a hard core non vegetarian, this was oomph of a dish, especially when paired with a very fragrant sticky rice with edamame beans called hormok khao man edamame. Having recently acquired a Goqii band, Anindya has grown quite conscious about his food intake. And since Hor Mok was essentially steamed food, his guilt went for a toss and enjoyed every bit of the meal. So what he ate more than he could? We also tried Hormok moo normai (pork with bamboo shoots steamed in a banana parcel) and Hormok normai sai kai (chicken with bamboo shoot), the flavours of which was pretty similar to the veggie version which we had, minus the peanut sauce. The pork, on the other hand was very light on the palette and the flavour was accentuated with fragrant basil leaves. The chef suggested that we try the seafood dish called hormok thalay, which I later found out is more popular in the hor mok style. It was a blend of seafood including scallops, prawns, crabs and squids marinated in red curry paste and then steamed in a banana cup. It was like a swim in the ocean. With different flavours from the various sea food all amalgamating in to one smooth dish coupled with the aroma from the red curry paste was a match made in heaven.
Desserts are usually not a part of a hor mok menu but the chef kindly thought of including one here too- a delicious Thai warm coconut rice pudding called Kanom krog. It came along with a scoop of coconut and rice ice cream and when had together with the warm pudding, it was a perfect finish to a meal. The warm pudding was quite similar to a Bengali rice pithe and it actually took me back to the days when my grandmother used to make pithes in winters.
This festival will be on till the 31st of October 2016 and is available for both lunch and dinner service on a la carte basis. However, at a later time if anyone wants to try any of the hormok dishes can always request the chef, who would be more than glad to present it. –
With love Madhushree