Ask Singaporeans what their favourite cuisine is and chances are Thai food will easily rank amongst the top three choices. Long before Singaporeans became enamoured with bibimbap and tonkatsu, they had already fallen in love with Tom Yum Goong and Pad Thai.
After all, not only is Thai food easily accessible for the Asian palate, Thai cooking also impresses with its unique complexity in trying to balance the four key tastes of sweet, sour, hot and salty. It is with this goal of bringing about a harmony of flavours to capture the spirit of Thai cuisine that Master Chef Jeeraphon Ritthep of Thailand presents his Chef-in-Box offerings.
Recently in town at the Thai embassy to launch Chef-in-Box World Chef Series’ Thai cuisine range, Chef Jeeraphon hails from a rich pedigree of culinary masters, with his grandmother having served the great King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) 120 years ago. To think that King Chulalongkorn was someone we only read about in our history books!
And here in the flesh was a chef taught by his grandmother who had cooked for the well-known Thai king. Chef Jeeraphon himself has cooked for Thai royalty and was the gold award winner of International Master Chef Challenge 2016. We knew we were in for a treat.
Those who have tried Chef-in-Box would already be well acquainted with the convenience of ready-to-eat meals within easy reach. The cure for midnight hunger pangs is no longer restricted to instant noodles or fast food. Instead, you can now have restaurant-type and restaurant-quality food at your doorstep either through online delivery from the Chef-in-Box website or any of the conveniently located VendCafés which operate 24/7.
The World Chef Series ups the quality factor by bringing in world-renowned chefs to create a gourmet range. The Thai cuisine range follows hot on the heels of the popular Indian cuisine range launched in August of this year.
Anyone who has tried cooking Thai food will know it’s not the easiest to prepare. Not only is it tedious and time-consuming, Thai food ingredients are not always easy to obtain. To ensure a high standard of quality and authenticity, the ingredients used for the Thai World Chef Series are imported from Thailand. In keeping with all Chef-in-Box meals, the dishes do not contain any added MSG or preservatives.
Chef Jeeraphon presented two of his signature dishes at the launch — Stir-fried Basil Chicken with Green Curry Fried Rice, and Thai Fried Rice with Saba Fish, as well as three of his personal favourite offerings: Fish with Tomato, Sweet Basil and Rice, Stir-fried Red Curry Chicken with Rice, and Green Curry Prawn with Rice.
Stir-fried Basil Chicken (Phad Ka-Prao Kai) is a classic Thai street food and locals can often be seen having this for breakfast. Chef Jeeraphon pairs the minced chicken stir-fried with fragrant basil leaves, together with everyone’s favourite green curry reimagined as fried rice. Basil leaves are known to be one of the healthiest herbs around, containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so you know this dish is good for you.
My favourite dish was the Thai Fried Rice with Saba Fish (Khao Phad Nam-Phrik Pla-Saba). The flesh of the fish was firm and fresh yet tender. Originating from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, this dish typically features Mekong fish, but Chef Jeeraphon has wisely swapped it out for saba fish, which is more moist and tender compared to the mackerels typically used in Thailand. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fried rice was spicy as I had assumed the chef would temper the spice factor to cater to the masses. The spiciness provided a robust kick to the dish.
As a fairly health-conscious person, I was happy to learn that Thai long grain rice is used for the fried rice, which tends to have a lower glycaemic index compared to short grain rice. Worth mentioning too is that other than the Thai Fried Rice with Saba Fish, the other four dishes contain fewer than 500 calories and will help with those trying to maintain a healthy yet varied diet.
These dishes are now available for purchase online from www.chefinbox.com.sg at the promotional price of S$6.80 (U.P. S$8.80), which is a steal considering these are gourmet creations. You can also get all five dishes in a Jai Bundle for just S$29.90.
Before you rush out to your nearest VendCafé, we’ll let you in on a secret – we hear desserts are in the works! We tried the Coconut Soya Pudding (Tau Hu Maproaw) and Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Neeo Mamuang). Without giving away too much, let’s just say they were aroi mak mak and I can’t wait for them to be available.
Love Thai food? We’re giving away 10 sets of e-vouchers (worth S$29.90 each) for our readers to try the Chef-in-Box World Chef Series Thai bundle, which consists of five dishes. For a chance to win, simply:
- Like the Asia 361 Facebook page.
- Share this post on Facebook and tag three friends in your post.
- Name one of the five Thai dishes you can find in the Jai bundle of the Chef-in-Box World Chef Series. Answer by commenting below or on our Facebook post.
Contest ends at 11.59pm on 26 November 2017. The winners will be notified via Facebook and must be able to collect the prize in Singapore.