Ancient duck “tom kha bpet”

Ancient duck “tom kha bpet”

Som Chai, my Thai restaurant in Bali, tells cultural stories through recipes: coming from the late 19th Century to the table, here is a short story of the “Tom Kha Bpet”

It was a soup…

Tom Kha is originally a type of soup consisting of a spicy chicken-curry in coconut milk. 

The soup typically includes coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai chili peppers, coriander (or dill weed), straw mushrooms (or shiitake or other mushrooms), chicken, fish sauce, and lime juice. Fried chilies are sometimes added.

… but in the late 19th Century, it was not anymore !

In the late 19th century, “tom kha” was not a soup at all: it was a dish of chicken or duck simmered in a light coconut broth with a generous amount of galangal. The coconut broth adds sweetness to the meat, and the galangal helped to mellow the meat odor. It was then served with a basic roasted chili jam as a dipping relish seasoned along the salty-sour-sweet spectrum.

Let me take you on a trip to the Ancient Siam

At Som Chai, I introduced this modern version of “Tom Kha”, and invite you to discover its complex flavours, its rich scent and the guilty pleasure to dip the meat in the roasted chilli jam !

Kalimantan, Warung Hj Yuli and H Alan

Kalimantan, Warung Hj Yuli and H Alan

In this episode, Kevin Cherkas and I are searching for intense flavours for our dinner event that happened back on the 11th May in my restaurant Som Chai. This experience also gave me inspiration for some dishes we now serve at Hujan Locale. We started our culinary journey at Warung Hj. Yuli, in Banjarbaru, where fishes are sublimated in a Kalimantan style. Then, we went on to Amutai city, to try the legendary Warung Itik Tanpa Tulang H. Alan. Pak Haji Ali was serving up his signature duck dish, which is deboned duck marinated in soy and a few other spices. He would rub the duck across the grill as if he wanted it to absorb the flavours of the grill which looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since he opened back in 1993!