Four Seasons Bangkok WGF10: David Thompson

David Thompson's dish, Prawns with shredded herbs/Nahm yaa sai gung sap, World Gourmet Festival, Four Seasons, BangkokPrawns with shredded herbs/Nahm yaa sai gung sap

I'm always excited when David Thompson is in town. I first met him several years ago when he hosted a dinner at the Metropolitan Bangkok, and we've stayed in touch since then, having had quite a few food-based adventures together in Thailand. Although David is often associated with his London restaurant, Nahm, the only Thai restaurant to have received Michelin stardom, he's also established himself as an author. His second book, Thai Food, is widely considered the most authoritative English-language book on the topic, and his third book, Thai Street Food, has just been printed and will soon be available in Australia (the rest of the world has to wait until next October). And fans of Thompson's cooking who live here in Bangkok have something else to be excited about: the chef has recently agreed to open a branch of Nahm at the Metropolitan Bangkok, to be open sometime next year.

Yesterday, as part of the Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet Festival, Thompson demonstrated three different recipes featuring khanom jeen, what he reckons is the only type of noodle native to Southeast Asia.

David Thompson and Newley Purnell, World Gourmet Festival, Four Seasons, Bangkok David Thompson and Bangkok-based blogger, Newley Purnell

The recipe below, which Thompson suspects has its origins in the 1950s, requires relatively few exotic ingredients and is, according to him, more accessible to an audience outside of Thailand.

Prawns with shredded herbs/Nahm yaa sai gung sap

500 g medium small prawns 1 cup coconut cream a few tablespoons stock or water pinch of salt 1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce pinch palm sugar 2 tablespoons sliced red shallots 1 heaped tablespoon sliced Thai garlic 2 tablespoons sliced lemongrass ½ teaspoon sliced galangal 4 tablespoons shredded grachai (a root also known as Chinese key) several sliced scuds – optional a little additional fish sauce – to taste 3 – 4 shredded kaffir lime leaves additional ½ cup coconut cream

Peel the prawns. Carefully de-vein. They should now weigh about 250 g. Scrape out any tomalley – there should be about 3 tablespoons.

Bring the coconut cream to the boil with the salt. Add the tomalley and simmer for a minute or two. Season the sauce with the fish sauce and palm sugar. Add the prawns and when just cooked, add the chopped prawns and the sliced ingredients and simmer for a moment:

David Thompson's dish, Prawns with shredded herbs/Nahm yaa sai gung sap, World Gourmet Festival, Four Seasons, Bangkok

Finish with the additional coconut cream, the fish sauce if needed. Stir in most of the kaffir lime leaves. Serve sprinkled with the remaining kaffir lime leaves. It should taste rich and creamy, aromatic and just a little salty and hot.

Serve accompanied by

* khanom jin (fresh rice noodles) * lemon basil * white turmeric * sliced cucumbers * trimmed bean sprouts

David will be hosting dinner at the Four Seasons Bangkok tonight and tomorrow, October 6 & 7, and on the morning of the 7th, will be leading a market tour. Some of the events are already sold out, so if you’re in Bangkok and interested, act fast. Call the hotel at +66 (0) 2 126 8866, or email the hotel at