Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe at 115 Aljunied Ave 2 #01-35 S(380115) - Signature Walking Catfish with Spicy Lemon Soup S$28 per serving

This is the Signature Walking Catfish with Spicy Lemon Soup served on hot-plate over charcoal fire & priced at S$28 per serving found on the menu of Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe located at 115 Aljunied Avenue 2 founded by Ron Poh.

Core Ingredients include - lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili, lemon juice, lime, fresh live Catfish.
How it is prepared - The fresh live Catfish is steamed separately from the soup. The Chef makes the soup ala minute to lend a fresh flavor to the soup. When the Catfish fish is ready to serve, the Chef simply pour the freshly made soup over the Catfish on a hotplate & serve over hot Charcoal fire. The Chef cleverly carves the Catfish with eight 2 inch length cuts from the head to the tail end to cook it evenly, & ensures the soup is fully infused into the flesh of the fish.

Tasting Notes - This dish has a distinct spicy sourly flavor much like Tom Yam flavor but with added flavor of garlic. The Catfish flesh is soft , firm, juicy, tastes sweet and fully infused with the lemonly flavor of the soup. 

Founder Ron Poh shared that he uses Catfish at the restaurant here at Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe as Catfish are known not to have too earthy taste. The Catfish meat maintains its soft, smooth, delicate, texture not rubbery at all  though it is on the charcoal fire for 15 minutes. Catfish meat tastes best when it is steamed. 

Chef Boonpeng Meedee carved the sides of the Catfish body to enable the herbs to be infused into the body of fish & this lends a tinge of spiciness of the chilli padi, with a sourly flavor from the lemon, lime used in this recipe. Here at Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe the Catfish used is medium size about 800 to 900 gm per fish, and just about right serving for a family of 5-6 pax. Founder Ron Poh gets the live Catfish & Seabass from Khai Huat Fish Farm in Kranji which delivers daily live Catfish, Seabass to Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe. On average the restaurant sells about 6-8 Catfish daily. Ron Poh shared that for Seabass there are different grade the Sea grade & Freshwater grade there the latter is cheaper. The Seabass used here at Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe is the sea grade where the earthy flavor is milder. 

The Isaan people eats mainly Catfish as it is a freshwater river fish. The Isaan people live inlands away from the coastal sea so their consumption of fish are limited to those from the freshwater rivers & not from the sea. 

The soup base used in this recipe is made from chicken broth, cooked for many hours & infused with a lot of herbs which includes: Thai basil, shallots, ginger, coriander, garlic, pepper, salt. The unique sourly flavor is due to lime used in this recipe. Chef uses chili padi used to lend a spicy tinge. The soup has a strong sourly Tom Yum flavor with an added level of spiciness aftertaste that linger in your mouth after you taste it. A bit of salty flavor in the soup due to fish sauce used in the recipe. 

**Chef's Tip of the Day** - There is a reason for using charcoal to serve the Walking Catfish. The charcoal is used to maintain the temperature of the spicy lemon soup to give you enhanced flavor from all the herbs & spices used in this recipe. 
Notice that if you taste the soup broth when it is cold, the tinge of the spiciness from the chili padi somewhat overpowers the flavor of the rest of the other herbs & as a result you will not be able to taste the other herbs. 
However when the soup broth is served on the charcoal fire the spiciness of the chili padi becomes milder & serves to complement the sweetness of the Catfish flesh. 

Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe is located at :
115 Aljunied Ave 2 #01-35, 
Singapore 380115
Tel : 67478558 
Opening Hours - 11am to 12 am

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