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Spilling the beans – Chef Meaw’s Panang Curry, Villa Wang Nam Jai, Phuket

in Dining by
Chef Meaw

One of the highlights of staying at a private villa on your vacation is that you get to sample superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained at internationally renowned restaurants. Elite Havens’ villa menus showcase an extensive range of Asian delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own particular specialties that shouldn’t be missed. With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve persuaded some of our chefs to spill the beans and share their favourite recipes with us here.

Penang Curry Recipe

In Villa Wang Nam Jai’s sleek modern kitchen, Chef Meaw cooks up the largest prawns we’ve ever seen to make her delicious Penang curry.

Chef Meaw

Penang Curry recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 large fresh prawn (or 4-5 smaller fresh prawns)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. Panang curry paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1 large red chili sliced
  • 4 – 5 Kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced
  • A small handful of pea eggplants
  • Oil

Chef Meaw’s Panang Curry ingredients

Directions:

Step 1.  Heat up a griddle pan and a frying pan.

Step 2. Wash the prawn and cut in half (leave the shell and head on).  

Step 3. Oil the prawn and when the griddle pan is hot place the two halves of prawn flesh side down.

Step 4. Add ½ cup coconut milk to the frying pan and let it come to the boil at a medium heat, making sure to stir.  

Step 5. Add the Panang paste to the frying pan and stir in for 2 minutes and then add the remaining coconut milk and continue to stir for 1 minute.

Step 6. Turn the prawn.  

Step 7. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce to the frying pan and stir and then add the pea eggplants.

Step 8. Once the prawn is pink, add to the frying pan and cook on a low heat for a 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 9. Add some of the sliced chili and sliced Kaffir lime leaves, leaving some for garnish.

Step 10. Place on a plate and garnish with the remaining red chili slices and kaffir lime leaves.

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Spilling the beans – Chef Aoy, Villa Ananda

in Dining by

One of the great expect of staying in a luxury private villa is the superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained in internationally renowned restaurants. Villa menus comprise of an extensive range of Asian delights and cater to every guests’ tastes, however every chef has his or her very own ‘special’ recipe that proudly reflects their culinary expertise. After a little arm twisting we have managed to prise the standout recipes from a few of our chefs.

Chef Aoy and her specialty

Chef Aoy is the outstanding creator of food  at Villa Ananda, (one of the stunning beachfront Jivana Beach Villas on Natai Beach) and has kindly offered her version of the all time classic – Pad Thai with prawns.

This is  equally popular street food as it is  on every menu in Thai restaurants, hotels and cafes and is arguably the National Dish of Thailand.

It can be with made with prawns, chicken, crispy pork or just tofu.

 

Prawn Pad Thai Recipe
Ingredients

  • 5 peeled Thai shrimps 1 Tbsp.
  • chopped garlic 1/2 tbsp.
  • red pepper flakes 3 tbsp.
  • vegetable oil 2 tbsp.
  •  fish sauce 1 tbsp.
  • tamarind juice 1 tbsp.
  • finely chopped shallot 1 tbsp.
  • Thai Radish, finely chopped 1 tbsp.
  • roasted peanuts 50 grams
  • palm sugar 10 grams
  • dried shrimps 50 grams
  • firm tofu, thinly sliced 150 grams
  • thin noodles, 100 grams
  • bean sprouts, 20 grams
  • chives, cut in one inch lengths
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 lime

Chef Aoy's Prawn Pad Thai

Top tip: Prepare your ingredients beforehand and have them nearby. Timing is of utmost importance. Making Pad Thai isn’t hard; it does, however, require a fairly high level of concentration.

Directions

Step 1.  Soak the thin noodles for 5 minutes in water before cooking to soften.

Step 2. Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a pan, fry the garlic and shallot, then add the thin noodles and sprinkle with water until the noodles are soft.

Step 3. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, red pepper flakes and tamarind juice.

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Where Tropical Perfection Meets Gourmet Cuisine

in Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder soft white sandy beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and glittering turquoise shallows gently lap the shores and set the spectacular scene. 

Private coves and hidden beaches abound and are easily discovered through local fisher folk who will happily transport you to these dreamy destinations – or if exquisite coral reefs for a spot of snorkeling are more your style then for a few dollars you can be transported there.

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island, however the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 

Then there is the food for which the entire Thai Kingdom is rightly honoured…

 Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbeque, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all fabulously possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs adore to showcase their regional specialties and to dazzle guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local markets, which is always a cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining in any one of our luxury Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true,

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‘A Chef’s Tour’ A Phuket Must

in Dining/Recreation by
Produce Market Phuket

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

In 2017 Phuket was crowned a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO and anyone who has ever experienced real Thai food will agree that it’s arguably one of the best foods in the world. A balance between sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour is the main reason why Thai food is so special. But in internationally renowned Phuket, you find there’s actually much more than Thai cuisine to tantalize your taste buds.

chinese doors phuket

Having lived and worked in Phuket for the past 11 years I thought I had experienced most of southern Thai food, as well as some of the dishes from the North. In my culinary journey, (which does make me sound like a foodie millennial) have tried chicken feet and chicken heart, fried silk worms, raw prawns in fish sauce, chili and lime (this is one of my favourites to order) and a bitter-tasting green vegetable thing that to this day I have no idea what it was, although it was disgusting.

In May this year, it was announced that the legendary Michelin Guide will now include restaurants from Phuket and Phang Nga. With all the accolades that Thai food has received and now with the car tire manufacturer’s marshmallow man in the picture I thought it time to jump on the food cart wagon and see what is out there in terms of food tours and adventures.

Old Town Phuket

A CHEF’S TOUR

There are of course some fabulous cooking schools in Phuket that will teach you how to cook an authentic Pad Thai or a Green Curry, but isn’t it better to get out of the TV kitchen and hit the streets? I wanted to eat and drink with the locals. So, along with my friend we chose to go on A Chef’s Tour, which is a boutique tour that gives you a true flavor of food in Phuket and as you will find out, this tour gives you a whole lot more.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 4-hour guided walking tour of Phuket Old Town
  • Tastings at hidden “street eats” and local restaurants
  • History and culture lesson on southern Thai cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Drinking water and Thai refreshments
  • Private fully-licensed (foodie) guide

red Chinese lanterns Phuket

On the steps of one of Phuket Town’s largest indoor markets,

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Koh Samui’s magic rum

in Tips by
Cocktails in Koh Samui

Idyllic destination, exciting new experiences, exotic food and summery cocktails all day, right? You bet. Our Koh Samui villas offer exactly that and a whole lot more. Although, when it comes to domestic Thai spirits worth drinking, the selection in Koh Samui is underwhelming. Unless you know this: there is magic rum on this island.

magic alambic rum samui

IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM

Of the few distilleries in Thailand, Magic Alambic Rum is the only one producing a Caribbean agricole-style spirit and they offer a true island experience right here in Koh Samui – local rum tasting.

Located on the southern tip of Koh Samui, this rum distillery was founded in 2003 by entrepreneurial couple Elisa and Michel Gabrel. Elisa, originally from Martinique, and Frenchman Michel experimented with brewing alcohol from the abundance of locally-grown tropical fruits available. Unsuccessful at first, they decided to make rum in the agricole style, a process that uses distillation from freshly-squeezed sugarcane, which is readily available in North Thailand. This facility is the first French distillery in Thailand. 

koh samui fruit market

SAMUI MARKET – IMAGE FROM VILLA WAIMARIE

AGRICOLE SUGARCANE RUM

While most industrial rums are made from molasses and additives like caramel, rum agricole is an exception because it originated in the West Indies where the French government strictly controlled its production.

Agricole-style rum is made from a single ingredient: 100% pure first-press sugarcane juice, which gives it a dynamic and delicate earthy taste and a high alcohol content. Here’s how: raw sugarcane stalks are pressed to extract fresh juice, which is naturally fermented for two to three days before being distilled and put to rest in stainless steel tanks or aged in wooden barrels.

IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM

RUM TASTING IN KOH SAMUI

Visit the Magic Alambic Rum distillery in South Koh Samui for a fun memorable experience. We recommend renting a car for a leisurely day trip to this remote area. Make sure not to drive under the influence after a tasting.

Visitors are greeted by Ludovic or Martial Leplutois (owners since January 2014) with an invitation to see the rum production facilities and sample the final products in the tasting area surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

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