ONE CHEF, ONE RECIPE: Chef Prin Polsuk of Samrub For Thai – “Kaeng Kae”
Chef Prin showcases one of his favourite recipes for “Kaeng Kae,” a northern Thai-style jungle curry with dry beef and herbs.
Chef Prin Polsuk is co-founder of Samrub For Thai (Samrub Samrub Thai), a restaurant in Bangkok’s old town where guests can experience traditional Thai food while gaining a better understanding of the country’s culinary history. Chef Prin previously worked at Nahm, the Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in London founded by Chef David Thompson.
Chef Prin later served as head chef at Nahm in Bangkok, where the restaurant was honoured as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and earned a Michelin star. Despite his international experience, Chef Prin here walks us through one of his favourite home-cooking recipes, for “Kaeng Kae,” a northern Thai-style jungle curry with dry beef and herbs.
Passed down from his grandmother’s generation, the recipe includes a mix of whatever meat you can find (generally dried beef) along with wild and local herbs and vegetables. The result is a harmonious hot and spicy dish.
Chef Prin says the dish is special because you can use whatever herbs or seasonal vegetables you have at hand. This demonstrates the variety and versatility of Thailand’s local ingredients. Chef Prin draws his culinary inspiration from his family, who are originally from Chiang Mai, where his grandmother and mother cook delicious northern Thai food daily.
Paste ingredients (add as much as desired for each):
- Dry Chillis
- Prickly Ash
- Shrimp paste
- Use a mortar and pestle to mash the paste ingredients together
- Heat the oil; stir the paste together until fragrant
- Add salted beef (or other meat); stir fry again with paste; add water
- Add vegetables: piper leaves/long beans/Thai eggplants are all good (kae vegetables) or others
- Season with salt or fish sauce to taste, but keep in mind that northern Thai food typically doesn’t add sugar!
- Serve with hot sticky rice or steamed rice