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J Gamboa’s Thai recipes: Green chicken curry, steamed ‘apahap,’ chili garlic prawns

CHEF J Gamboa,Maya Kitchen manager Rory Subida, chefMalichat

Instead of sinigang na hipon, try cooking Tom Yam Goong. The spicy prawn soup gives one’s meal a distinct Thai taste.

Thai dishes can easily be incorporated in a Filipino spread, said chef J Gamboa. Tom Yam Goong, for instance, can be paired with grilled chicken, pork or fish. Green curry can also be used with any  protein-rich ingredient.

“Filipinos love chicken curry. Try using green curry instead of the usual yellow curry,” he said.

Gamboa established Azuthai restaurant in Makati, which serves home-style Thai food. He recently did a cooking demo at The Maya Kitchen with chef Malichat from Nakhon Sawan, Thailand. She has worked in hotels in Germany, China, Pakistan, Ukraine and in Thailand for over 20 years.

For the “Chef J Gamboa Cooks Thai at The Maya Kitchen” demo, the duo prepared Azuthai favorites, starting with the popular soup followed by Chili Garlic Prawns. Gamboa said that fresh prawns should always be used because they lend a hint of sweetness to the dish.

We loved the Green Chicken Curry, a bit spicy and made rich with coconut milk, which was perfect when eaten with freshly cooked rice. The Steamed Whole Apahap was flavored with

lime, fish sauce, garlic, coriander and chili. Other meaty fish like cream dory, lapu-lapu and even tilapia can be used as  substitute, said Gamboa.

For dessert, traditional Mango Sticky Rice, similar to the local suman, was served. Sweet, plump mango is best used for this, but if they are out of season, sweetened saba bananas will do.

What is Gamboa’s secret to authentic Thai food? Authentic Thai spices.

“There is no substitute,” he said. “If the recipe calls for Thai bagoong, chili or fish sauce, you have to use them.”

Azuthai is at 900 A. Arnaiz Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas, San Lorenzo Village,  Makati City. Call tel. 8176252. It is open daily from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch, and 5:30-10 p.m. for dinner.  

The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center is at 8/F, Liberty Bldg., 835 A. Arnaiz Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati City. Call tel. 8925011 loc. 108.

STEAMED Whole Boneless Apahap

AzuThai Steamed Whole Boneless Apahap (Pla Naeng Ma Naw)

  • 1 pc (800 g) apahap, whole, scaled, gutted
  • To be placed inside the fish:
  • 1 pc  kaffir leaves
  • 3 slices  ginger
  • 3 slices  lemongrass
  • 1 stalk  celery
  • 3 pcs spring onion
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp  lemon juice

For the sauce:

  • 4 tbsp  lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp  fish sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp  palm sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp  sugar
  • 4 pcs chili, minced
  • 1 tsp  garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp  coriander, chopped

Remove the spine of the apahap from the back. Put all the ingredients inside the fish. Then, steam the fish for 10 minutes. When fish is done, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and pour over the fish.

For garnish, place three slices of green lemon and coriander leaf on top of the fish.

CHILI Garlic Prawns

AzuThai Chili Garlic Prawns  (Goong Pad Prik Kratiem)


  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp Thai light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ c water
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g prawns (5 pcs), headless,   split,      with tail and shell
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili, minced
  • 1 tbsp spring onions, chopped

Combine the seasoning in a bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

In a wok, heat oil and stir fry prawns until just done.  Remove prawns and set aside. In the same wok, sauté garlic and chili, add seasoning mix.  Bring to a boil.  Return prawns and add chili.  Toss well and top with spring onions.

AzuThai Green Chicken Curry (Geng Kew Wan Gai)

  • 200 g chicken breast, cut to ¾-in cubes
  • 10 g brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1 c water
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • ½ c coconut milk
  • 1 pc eggplant, cut to ¾-in cubes
  • ½ c coconut Milk
  • 1 pc chili, sliced
  • ½ c Thai basil
  • 1 piece  kaffir lime leaf, cut to 1/8-in strips

Combine chicken with sugar and fish sauce and marinate for 20 minutes. Place in saucepan with coconut milk and water.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.

Prepare the sauce by heating oil and sautéing the green curry paste for 20 seconds.  Add coconut milk and mix well.

Drain the cooked chicken from the cooking liquid and add to the green curry sauce.  Add eggplant and coconut milk, and simmer until eggplant is tender.  Then add the chili, basil and kaffir lime leaf.  Bring to a boil then serve.

MANGO with Sticky Rice

AzuThai Mango with Sticky Rice

  • 400 g glutinous rice
  • 400 ml   coconut milk
  • 100 g palm sugar
  • 100 g white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sesame seeds

Soak glutinous rice in water overnight.

Place the steamer with cheesecloth and steam for about 20 minutes or until rice is translucent and cooked. Remove from steamer and set aside.

In a saucepan, carefully heat coconut milk and mix in palm sugar, white sugar and salt. Be careful not to boil the sauce as this may curdle.

Pour sweetened coconut milk over rice to absorb.

Serve with fresh sliced mangoes and top rice with toasted sesame seeds.

TOM Yam Goong Soup

AzuThai Tom Yam Goong Soup  (Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

  • 2.5 c shrimp stock
  • 1 c button mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 pcs oyster mushrooms
  • 1 pc  kaffir lime leaf (torn)
  • 2 pcs  lemongrass, 4 in long, bruised
  • 3 slices galangal, 1/3-in thick
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp dayap juice (calamansi or lemon)
  • 1.5 tbsp Thai Nam Prik Pao chili paste
  • 1.5 pcs  tomato, quartered
  • 3 pcs prawns, split
  • ¼ c coriander leaves

Bring shrimp stock to a boil.  Add mushrooms, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and galangal.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add fish sauce, dayap juice, Thai chili paste, tomato and prawns.  When prawns are cooked in about one minute place in bowl and serve.  Top with fresh coriander leaves.


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Tags: Azuthai , Food , J Gamboa , Lifestyle , thai cuisine , The Maya Kitchen

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