Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hanuman Restaurant

Holiday Inn Esplanade, 93 Mitchell Street, Darwin

Hanuman has now become a Darwin institution that a visit to this city would not be complete without dining there. Although the restaurant is classified in the directory as Thai it actually has a lot more to offer. Mixed in together with traditional Thai curries are Indian influenced dishes and the restaurant’s own creations.

When I go to a restaurant I would only order what I know they do well. I would not deviate from this mindset unless I have been to the same restaurant day after day after day…you know what I mean. I’m sure there is a name for this way of thinking. Conservative? Traditionalist? Risk averse? I don’t know… I need to improve my English language skills, I know. Please do not hesitate to comment to advise me of the name for my condition.

Kang Kong Greens

Hanuman is no exception to this approach. For entrĂ©e it’s got to be the Hanuman Oysters. And for main it is always their Thai Crispy Whole Fish.

Thai Crispy Whole Fish

During my recent visit to Hanuman I was accompanied by six other colleagues. Everyone tried the oysters and half of us had the fish. The fish was excellent but everyone unanimously voted the Hanuman Oysters as the highlight of the evening’s meal. Not only did it taste terrific the restaurant also devised a way to present it in an unconventional way (read: not in shell on a bunch of something). The oysters come in a tagine inspired clay platter with seven pockets (six for the oysters with the middle seventh for extra sauce…just in case). The dish is certainly Thai influenced with the liberal use of sweet basil, lemongrass, coriander, and fish sauce.

Hanuman Oysters

I would like to think of it as Divine intervention. As I was sitting in my room flicking through a magazine pondering what to write I came across…*drum roll please*…the Hanuman Oysters recipe! How cool is that! For the benefit of you all I’ve copied it below, verbatim. Enjoy!

Hanuman oysters

Serves six in a restaurant enough for me if I make this at home!

2 stalks of coriander, roots attached

1 stalk sweet basil, leaves removed, stems reserved

½ teaspoon finely grated galangal

2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon grass, white part only

1 small red chilli, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

60ml (¼ cup) lime juice

30ml fish sauce

2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar

36 pacific oysters

  1. Cut roots and 5cm of stems from coriander and chop finely, reserving leaves.

  2. Finely chop basil stems.

  3. Process roots and stems, galangal, lemon grass, chilli, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.

  4. Check for the balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot and adjust if necessary.

  5. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Makes ¾ cup and will keep refrigerated for up to one month.

  6. Place oysters on an oven tray in 200C oven or under a hot grill for one minute until warm.

  7. Thinly slice basil leaves.

  8. Drizzle each oyster with ½ teaspoon of sauce, scatter with basil and coriander leaves and serve remaining sauce passed separately.

Source: Northern Territory Scoop Traveller Magazine December-June 2008 edition or visit

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