Sap, sap, sap, sap, sap, (x2)
Mun pet mun sab sap kaothung shaong,
Tom Thai tom lao hat hung,
Pat Thai tom pai hat hung,
Tom yam tom kang aroy,
Sud May Kaidee nun sep elee elee
There are no references to May Kaidee’s pumpkin hummus in her Thai-language “Sap Cooking Song”, which we all sang during the morning session of her fun-filled (and very filling) cooking class, held twice daily at the Samsen Road branch of her mini-empire of vegetarian restaurants.
Perhaps there should be, however, because it’s the jewel in her vegetarian food crown. After 5 years of eating my way through May’s bulletproof menu of Thai classics without the meat, I’ve settled on the hummus (made with a Thai twist, of course) as my favorite dish.
Served with a mound of nutty long-grain brown rice, May’s pumpkin hummus is a simple mixture of cooked pumpkin, flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein), cashew nuts, sesame seeds, and coriander pounded together in a mortar bowl. The coriander is the “glue” ingredient that links the balanced flavors of this light dish, and perfectly accentuates the pumpkin, cashew nuts, and sesame. The hummus goes well with the rice, but can easily be eaten by itself.
I used to make pilgrimages to May Kaidee’s branch on Tanao Road, a quiet alley running perpendicular to
Hell on Earth Khao San Road, strictly for the massaman curry, but since the hummus introduction during that four-hour cooking class a few years ago, I’ve gradually phased out the heavier curry in favor of one or, yes, sometimes two orders of this creamy goodness.
I’m now armed with the recipe and it’s fairly easy to make, but not quite the same at home; maybe it’ll help if I sing the “Sap Cooking Song” next time.
There are three branches of May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai. Cooking classes are offered every day, as long as there’s enough people, at 9am and 1pm. The cost is 1200 baht for adults, 600 baht for children 10 years and under. For more on May Kaidee, including info on how to order her cookbook, visit maykaidee.com.
We could play the “Must-Eat Food in Bangkok” game every day for years and still have plenty of culinary fodder to feature. In that sense, the “BKK Must Eats” series will not be comprehensive, nor will it exclusively list dishes that are “the best” of anything (though it might, from time to time). The modest goal of this series is simply to spotlight, somewhat randomly, damned delicious dishes in Bangkok that I’ve indulged on many occasions, and that I recommend you indulge too.
Photo credit and copyright Brian Spencer