|Vegetable curry, Ghetto Dinner, Grand Prize Bar, Houston, TX|
When I first saw the plates, I was impressed, thinking that the chefs had paid an homage to the Indonesian tumpeng by creating conical mounds of rice to be surrounded by the curry. Turns out that they were just using a funnel to portion out the rice. Overall, I enjoyed what I had, but it was by no means a rollicking success. My biggest issue is the rice itself - I recognized immediately that this was short grain glutinous ("sticky") rice. That was boiled.
Glutinous rice is certainly quite traditional in Thai cuisine. Served in little baskets, one pinches off little knobs of them to eat the food, as one would with African fufu. But it should be steamed; boiling creates this pasty goop that was just a textural failure. The vegetarian curry itself was all right, I certainly tasted the inclusion of pineapple in the mix, and I suspect cubes of kohlrabi. I wonder why pineapple is so prevalent in Thai cooking, considering that the plant itself originated from South America? Another discussion for another day.
Would this win over Thai traditionalists? Certainly not (I spotted the clever use of Marmite as an umami agent in the vegetarian broth), but it was a decent and flavorful curry. The rice, though, could use a lot of work.