Friday, January 4, 2013

Thai Cooking School

I have been living in Bangkok for more than 14 years and I still do not cook Thai food and have not attended any Thai food cooking class. Lots of tourists come to Thailand and other than eating, shopping and relaxing at the spa with facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, they also attend cooking class. So, why not me?

Thanks to my sister and my 10-year-old nephew, I finally attended my first Thai cooking class in December. I must admit, it is kind-of fake but a jolly good way to spend a morning or afternoon in Bangkok. I say this is kind-of fake because we probably did about 50% of the work and the instructor and his assistant did the rest. And this is what made it 'jolly' since I did not have to do all the work. =)

Name of the cooking school on my apron. Love the batik and quilt work on it!

The cooking school is located at the Silom area. We visited a nearby wet market and learnt about the different types of chilli, eggplant, ginger, basil leaves, etc that we have in Asia. Great knowledge for me! We took some ingredients back to the cooking school.

Learning about ingredients at the wet market

First thing that we did when we got back was to use lots of running water to wash the ingredients - carrots, spring onion, lime, shallots, tomatoes, etc. As we were doing that, the assistant helped arrange them beautifully on a round netted flat basket.

The ingredients that we used. A bit of an overkill as we had a lot of leftover ingredients. But it provided a great photo opportunity. =)

Now, please remember that I am an amateur cook, so I still have a lot of learn. I learnt that in Thai cooking, the meat, seafood and vegetables can be changed to your liking. But the seasoning and key ingredients are critical as they add aroma and flavor to the dishes. So, we absolutely cannot leave them out of any Thai dish.

Our cooking instructor. He not only taught us how to cook the dishes and he is the cameraman as well.

We cut and prepared the ingredients in a room, all seated on the floor and in a circle. A tip: please come in pants or bermudas and not a short, tight denim shirt. Th actual cooking / stir frying is done outside, along the corridor. Then there is another room, where there are tables and chairs for us to sit down and enjoy what we have cooked. 

We went on a Sunday and the dishes that we actively made were: chicken in coconut milk (tom kah gai), red curry with chicken (kaeng ped gai) and chicken with cashew nuts (gai pad med mamuang). I say 'actively' because these are the dishes that we actually did the chopping and the stir frying. The other dishes that were demonstrated to us by the instructor and we made limited effort are glass noodle salad (yum woon sen), fish cake (thod mun pla) and banana in coconut milk (kluay buad chee).

Chopping, stir frying and tasty chicken with cashew nuts in just a few minutes. It helps when you have all the ingredients and equipment ready at your arm's length. =)

There are different dishes planned for different days of the week. Maybe next year when my sister and nephew come to Bangkok again, we can go on Monday and learn how to make red rubies (my favorite Thai dessert) and green curry.

Some of the dishes that we 'made'.

Like I said before, this cooking class is a jolly way of spending an afternoon with your loved ones and getting some knowledge and hands-on experience on Thai cooking. And it is Baht 1000 for the experience, food and a recipe book. Try it! =)

Till my next blog post, cook! =)

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