‘Verse of Food and Dessert’ by King Rama II
There is a famous Thai poem written by His Majesty King Rama II in homage to one of his wives, Phra Sri Suriyendramataya, or Princess Bunrod, whose skills in the kitchens so impressed her husband that he wrote a poem to be spread far and wide in honour of her talents. She is today considered the pioneer of fusion Thai food, having studied European cooking techniques and integrating them into the Thai kitchen. She was also a culinary explorer and is credited with adapting Southern Thai and Malaysia’s Malayu’s masaman to Thai tastes, leading it to become one of the most popular Thai dishes. By adding dried chillis, galangal, lemongrass, onions, garlic, coriander, caraway, asterisk and cloves the curry dish, it became an instant hit with the king who wrote in his poem that any man who had a bite of this curry would surely dream of the woman who cooked it.
“Chicken massaman is a popular dish that is hard to master, but with the right ingredients and techniques, it can be spectacular. Only the legs and thighs of the chicken should be used to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients which complement the fattier cuts. The paste made with both fresh and dried chilies should be fried before being added to the base of coconut milk, along with herbs such as cumin, coriander seed, lotus nut, star anise and cinnamon. Just before serving, sweeten with some coconut sugar, enhance the flavour with some pink Himalayan salt and serve. But in reality, you can’t read about how good a massaman curry tastes, you just have to try it for yourself.” – Khao Ton Khao Lang Restaurant