Last year I had gone on a mini break to Goa with my friend. We both just wanted to get away from our busy lives just for 2 days. She being the big celebrity dress designer wanted to take a break from her high heels lifestyle and I being a full time mom who wanted to dress up and wear heels which is impossible to wear in India when you are carrying your toodler all day.
So here we are in Goa, which we could not belive that we finally made it happen. We decided to go for a Thai dinner at ” Banyan Tree” or something like that.
Almost a tetotaller, I was one small drink down thats half my capacity. Me all dressed up, may be over as I was on a break (a chef at another resturant from whome I took a curry recipe asked me “oh so all alone on a break”, trying to get information if I am available and I had to slip in the conversation that I have a husband who was home baby sitting, poor guy! his expression wasof obvious disappointment but I just enjoyed being hit by someone after having a child, a great confidence booster)
So back to this Thai resturant, it was a long uncomfortable walk, by now I had lost practice to walk in heels. I remember there was a plank like bridge entering the resturant, oh god! the horror to walk on that.. As we entered a waiter was standing about 10 foot away and he greeted us, as I was about to acknowelege, my leg missed its balance, luckly my friend caught me in time so well I fell on her and we started gigling like school girls. We disrupted the serene atmostphere of the resturant, very few people were sitting there, all scattered. Everyone started staring at us. Holding my friend’s hand so that I don’t fall again we reached our table. First thing I did was I threw my heels and rested my bare foot on the table support, thinking gone are the days that I could dance all night in these heels. By now a waiter, who was in his late 50’s had come, he was looking at us blankly, he must be thinking “oh another drunk customers”, we greeted him and ordered.
When he came to take our dinner order, me second drink down and my friend many drinks down by now we were tipsy. So we tell him “its too dark here we can’t read the menu properly can you suggest whats good here?” He tells us in is south indian accent(don’t get me wrong, I am not a racist, I like the singing south indian tone a lot)” yevrything is good here”, so my friends forgets her polish english and tells him “Arrey suggest karo na bhaai”. So he suggest us Som Tum salad for starters assures us its very good.
I was in full mood so I joked with him teasingly “well I hope it is cause I make this salad I know what is good, cause mine is really good”
Long pause, he takes it seriously, in a very offending tone, ” yat Taj yeverything is always good” oops! I pissed a very old loyal employee. Me and my friend looked at each other and God knows what happened we busted out laughing, he just walked away.
After we had the meal, like strict boarding teacher who asks a child if every thing is fine and most of the time a child has to reply yes, he asked me and I just told him “ok” honestly it was not as good as mine but I did not dare to tell him. Once he left the table I though wait a minute I am the customer and going to pay for the dinner but I gulped this thought with the last sip of my drink…
Actually, I am very proud of my Som Tum salad cause I had got this recipe from a cook called Joy in Karabi from whome I had gone to take a cooking class.
It was my earlier days when I had just started cooking, I realised that I Love to cook and I don’t want to work as a Chartered Accountant. The feeling to learn cooking was with so much excitement, just as one feels during the begining of a love affair. During the earlier days you just go crazy being in love.
After a long travel we reached our resort, I remember after freshening up, immediately I went to learn Thai cooking as no other day was possible for them to teach me.
That day I realised I love cooking so much I was not feeling tired at all. When Joy was teaching me, I asked her to help so she gave we some veggies to cut. As we were comparing our culture, the common styles of cooking and eating, Joy points out to me that I cut food like a professional. For me it was an amazing feeling as she was a top chef who has cooked for celebrities and knows so much about cooking giving me a certificate, I got an affirmation that I can cook!
I am writing the exact recipe that joy gave me, like me feel free to advoid the shrimp.
Garlic glove 2
Bird’s eye chilli 2
Shredded green papaya 150 gm
Shredded carrot 30 gm
Sun dried shrimp 10 gm
Cherry tomato 20 gm
Long bean cut into 1 inch length 30 gm
Palm sugar 1 tbsp
Lime juice 2 tbsp
Soya sauce 2 tbsp
Roasted peanut 1/2 cup
Salt to tast
In a mortar and pestle mix garlic, palm sugar, lime juice, soya sauce and roasted peanuts. Do not grind them just mash them into coarse pieces.
Mix it with the rest of the ingredients
Taste and if needed add salt.
Serve cold as a started when you make Thai food.
I always feel joy then I make and eat this recipe 😊