I have just returned from Thailand where the flavours and indeed textures of that country’s vibrant cuisine reminded me how much I enjoyed those dishes at home. Well, when I say at home I really mean in Thai restaurants in London, and that includes the famed chain of Rosa’s.
Rosa doesn’t sound like a very Thai name and in fact it isn’t. Rosa’s was the original name of an empty caff which Saiphin Moore and her husband turned into their first restaurant. Saiphin is a Thai name and she is the real deal and has been cooking professionally since she was just 14 years old.
Saiphin Moore was born in Thailand where she learnt family recipes from her mum and aunties. She moved to Hong Kong and met Alex Moore in 2001. They married four years later and set up a restaurant together. They then moved to London and Saiphin opened a food stall on the weekends in Brick Lane. She opened Rosa’s Thai Café on Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, which became so successful that it expanded to become a chain across London. I can attest to the quality of the food at Rosa’s Thai Café and I am delighted that now I can replicate some of these amazing dishes at home. That will never actually replace a visit to Rosa’s, but what does one do for those other 6 dinners?
New and delicious discoveries
Rosa’s Thai Café -The Cookbook showcases over 100 recipes, including dishes from the popular menu at Rosa’s, along with regional plates from Saiphin’s family. Some of these might be familiar to those who have visited Thailand, but others will likely be new and delicious discoveries. There is something for every taste.
I have several favourite recipes from Rosa’s Thai Café – The Cookbook so far, although I plan to eat my way through so many more. Fish Cake Mousse would make a great starter, or smaller versions could be presented as stylish nibbles with drinks. The white fish doesn’t have to be expensive and the rest of the ingredients are not difficult to find. Saiphin gives permission to use commercial curry pastes if you don’t have time to make your own.
A must-try with universal appeal is Saiphin’s version of a Cornish Pasty. The usual filling is replaced with Chicken Kra Pow, a spicy preparation which could also be a light starter when presented on a crunchy lettuce leaf. These fusion pasties make a perfect packed-lunch item or a picnic dish for those long summer afternoons. The Chicken Kra Pow Pasty is predictably good even if the weather isn’t.
Rosa’s Green Curry with Chicken is bound to be high on the list of recipes to make for any who have visited the restaurants. This dish is so quintessentially Thai and is redolent with those flavours of fish sauce and coconut. This is comfort food at its best.
Rosa’s Thai Café – The Cookbook would be a superb addition to any cookbook collection. The recipes are accessible and exciting and remind one of why we fell in love with this cuisine.
Rosa’s Thai Café – The Cookbook
Author: Saiphin Moore
Published by: Mitchell Beazley