As part of our Health & Wellness 2010 Series
From the age of 5, Kai had a passion for cooking. He started early with his first job in the kitchen at an Austrian ski resort at the age of 16 and from there moved on to London where he worked at Mossimann’s who pioneered healthier cooking through Cuisine Naturelle, healthy foods which do not sacrifice on taste. From there, Kai went to Thailand in 2006 to take the position as Executive chef at Kamalaya. Evolving his approach to healthy cuisine by blending it with Thai culinary traditions, Kai worked with Kamalaya to develop a healthy, spa cuisine menu that is shockingly good and good for you.
To make the spa cuisine that Kamalays guests rave about, Kai focuses on building flavours through curry pastes and herbs rather than butter. And he uses all of the herb when cooking. For example, the stem and root of the coriander it is much more potent that the leaves of the herb. Plus fresh herbs have great antioxidant benefits. Nuts and seeds and high fiber grains are a dominant part of Kai’s cuisine along with high quality proteins like fish, chicken and legumes. He also prefers to use virgin coconut oilwhen cooking at high heat – it has a higher smoking point, so doesn’t break down as quickly. In most tropical coastal areas, like that of Koh Samui, this is the oil that locals use (instead of corn oil) – if you have ever been to Thailand, you will see they are all quite thin and healthy. When cooking at low heat he likes to use sesame oil or olive oil.
Kai shared with us some of Kamalaya’s recipes (a couple of my personal favourites), for you to try at home.
Stir Fried Glass Noodles (Serves 2)
Glass noodles (soaked for 2 hours) 120g
Carrot, cut into thin half moons 40g
Cauliflower, cut into bite size florets 50g
Broccoli, cut into bite size florets 50g
Snow peas 30g
Asparagus, cut into 3cm sticks 30g
Shitake mushrooms, whole 20g
Cabbage, shredded 20g
Carrot, shredded 20g
Lemongrass, sliced very fine 5g
Ginger, chopped very fine 5g
Spring onions, sliced very fine 5g
Sesame oil 5ml
Tamarind juice 30ml
Bean sprouts 60g
Sesame seeds 10g
Sea salt Dash
Coriander leaf (garnish) 5g
Heat the sesame oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger and shallots and sauté for 15 seconds. Next, add the carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, asparagus and shitake mushrooms. Stir for another 15 seconds before adding the drained noodles, tamarind juice and a dash of sea salt .Keep stirring (or it will stick to the pan) until heated through, this should take about 30 seconds. Just before you remove the pan from the heat stir in the spring onions, bean sprouts and sesame seeds. Place in the center of a plate and garmish with coriander.
Poached Sea Bass with Soya and Thai Seafood Sauce (Serves 2)
Sea bass filet, 2 filets 320g
Spring Onion 30g
Red Chilli 15g
Soya Sauce mix (see below) 180g
Sea salt Dash
Black Pepper Dash
Vegetable stock 250ml
Thai seafood sauce (see below) 100ml
Coconut or Sesame Oil 40ml
Lime juice 20ml
Bay leaf 1 leaf
Soya Sauce Mix:(makes approximately 250ml)
Carrot, with skin 100g
Soy sauce 100ml
White soya sauce 40ml
Vegetable stock 300ml
Thai Seafood Sauce: (makes 300ml)
Fish sauce 150ml
Lime juice 150ml
Garlic clove, finely chopped 4 pcs
Chilli, finely chopped 3 pcs
Palm sugar 1tbsp
Coriander root, finely chopped 2 pcs
Begin by preparing the Soya Sauce Mix at least 1 hour before you need it. Cut all vegetables into 5cm slices. Place all ingredients into a wide pot and simmer on a low temperature for 1 hour. Strain the liquid, discard vegetables. Store the liquid in the refrigerator until you need it (you can also freeze leftover and use later).
Prepare the Thai Seafood Sauce by placing all ingredients in a blender and blending for 1-2 minutes. Place mixture into a serving bowl.
Now you are ready to prepare the fish. Cut the ginger, celery and spring onion into fine strips, but not as thin as julienne. Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan to a very light simmer and season with the bay leaf, celery, lime juice and sea salt. Place the fish into the pan and poach for 7-10 minutes. Once the fish is cooked, remove from saucepan. (If you want, you can save the stock for a clear fish soup later.)
Meanwhile heat the soya sauce mix and the sesame oil in separate and small sauce pans.
To serve place the cooked fish skin side up on the plate with the vegetable strips on top. Drizzle with the warmed soya sauce followed by a drizzle of the warm sesame oil. Serve with the Thai seafood sauce on the side.
Kamalaya Koh Samui
102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang
Koh Samui, Suratthani 84140 Thailand
Telephone: +66 (0) 77 429 800
Fax: +66 (0) 77 429 899