Don’t be surprised if a basket adorned with vibrant flowers and full of Thai food arrives at the doorstep when you order from Boraan Thai. This is part of the experience that Scotchie Kandhari, founder of this Noida-based delivery kitchen, wants to create for her customers. A Thai Punjabi, raised in Bangkok, she started Boraan Thai in April, but it is only this month that the Dotpe link for deliveries across Delhi NCR has become operational.
The idea to start a food venture came to her last year during the first nationwide lockdown induced by the covid-19 pandemic. Kandhari, a homemaker, started cooking and experimenting a lot more than before. “I love cooking anyway. Last year I decided to delve deeper into Thai food, which I had grown up eating. I must have made more than a hundred batches of curry paste,” she says. Soon, she was feeding Thai dishes to acquaintances and family. Friends urged her to start her own venture, and she followed their advice.
Kandhari started delivering food to customers close to her neighbourhood, but she had to close the service in October last year as she was the only one cooking. However, on seeing the passion that she had for cooking, her husband suggested starting a professional cloud kitchen with a team of chefs. “We found a few chefs, who had a background in Thai cooking. We then trained them for over four to five months and opened Boraan Thai,” she adds. Her menu is a mix of fun and traditional dishes. You can opt for the por pia thod, or fried Thai spring rolls, satays, salads such as larb, the staple curries, and aromatic steamed fish and chicken. However, what stand out are the stir-fried and grill section, with the kai yang, which is Bangkok-style grilled chicken served with raw mango salad and Nam Jim Jeaw, and the phad phrik keang, or stir-fried vegetables/chicken/pork with snake beans and fresh garden basil.
Also interesting is the spaghetti Tom Yum, which comes with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs. It plays on your mind and palate, with you expecting a chunky Italian tomato sauce with the spaghetti, and getting a mouthful of Thai herbs instead. The idea comes together so well that it makes one wonder why no one thought of this combination before. “This is our signature dish. I want to maintain authenticity, while also playing with the menu to keep people excited and interested. Also, this is a delivery kitchen, so we have to put dishes on the menu that travel well,” says Kandhari.
She would like to put chargrilled lobster or scallops on the menu, but she doesn’t because they might get chewy by the time the package reaches the customers. Today, people from Meerut and Karnal send their drivers in the afternoon to get the food picked up. “For customers in Delhi NCR and Gurugram, I Uber out the food,” she says. While Kandhari safeguards her recipe for the Boraan Thai spaghetti Tom Yum closely, she shares an easier DIY version for home cooks.
Tom Yum Spaghetti
200 gm spaghetti
100 gm vegetables/chicken/prawns
110 gm cherry tomato
3 onions (finely chopped)
2-3 sliced red chillies
1 stalk lemongrass
6 slices of galangal
5-6 kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped)
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Thai chilli paste
1 pinch salt and pepper
Finely chopped coriander
Blend or hand pound the lemongrass, red chillies, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger until they turn to a dry smooth paste. Add a little oil if required. This Tom Yum paste is the hero of the dish.
Cook the tomatoes with one tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan until they soften. Set aside. Now cook the spaghetti in the hot water. In a frying pan, fry the veggies or the meat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until they are cooked. Remove from the frying pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent. Then add the Tom Yum paste and Thai chilli paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or till the sauce is completely mixed in the veggies or meat. Put the cooked tomatoes and season the sauce with the fish sauce and sugar. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add the spaghetti into Tom Yum sauce, followed by veggies or meat of your choice, lime juice, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Mix the ingredients well and serve hot.
Also read: Four Punjabi chefs show how to make dal