Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Thai Chicken Biryani - Khao Mok Gai and Muslim Food (ข้าวหมกไก่)

Rice biryani combined with any kind of meat, most often chicken, beef, goat, or fish, is one of the most comforting dishes that exists on the plantet.

Biryani is an amazing food, having origins in Middle Eastern Persia and eventually finding its way to the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and central Asia as well. 

Unlike pilaf (or pilau) rice where the meat and rice are cooked together, with biryani the rice and meat is cooked separately and then combined on a plate to be served. The rice is fragrantly cooked with meat stock, turmeric, and a host of other mouthwatering spices.

In Thailand, biryani is especially known throughout the country as most commonly a Thai Muslim food dish. The most common varieties are khao mok gai (chicken biryani), khao mok neua (beef biryani) and khao mok pa (goat biryani).

In Bangkok, though it's not as common as other cheap street dishes, biryani is not hard to find either - there are some great restaurants serving up the delicacy.

In today's video I head over to Bangkok's Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี), a long standing Thai Muslim food restaurant that has been serving their khao mok recipe for many years and pleasing their happy customers. Oddly, the restaurant itself is located in the midst of Khao San Road (the tourism backpacking headquarters of Bangkok), yet it remains a very local eatery.

There are quite a few things to choose from - fresh and fried spring rolls, beef satay skewers with peanut sauce, curry noodles, roti mataba, roti sweet, and of course the biryani.

I began my meal with fresh steaming bowl of chicken curry noodles (Kuay Teow Gaeng ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแกง), a dish made with blanched rice noodles swimming in a thick and creamy coconut chicken soup. It was hearty and the flavors were nicely balanced.

Next up was the khao mok gai (chicken biryani) the signature and probably the most famous dish from Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี). The rice was so intensely delicious - not over strong, but just comforting good and served with a nice minty fresh sauce.

To wash it down I ordered a bowl of soup gai (chicken soup), a wonderful chicken broth flavored with deep fried shallots, soured with lime juice and garnished with a handful of fresh herbs.

The por pia sot (fresh spring rolls) was an interesting combination that consisted of a variety of ingredients packed into a pancake like wrapper and topped with a variety of things and finally drizzled with lots of sweet syrup. The contrast of sweet and salty was great, but this wasn't my favorite dish of the meal.

Finally, saving the best for last, I dug into my plate of khao mok neua (beef biryani). It was everything I was expecting, fragrant rice mingled with tender stewed beef of exceptional flavor.

As a big fan of rice biryani from around the world and a lover of Thai Muslim food, Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี) is a restaurant in Bangkok that I just can't get enough of!