Today we decided to do something different, and take a Thai cooking class. We both enjoy Thai food, and we both enjoy cooking, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn a little bit about how authentic Thai food is made. After a short investigation, we signed up for the daytime class at Baan Thai cooking school.
The rest of this update feels a bit like a powerpoint presentation gone bad, but it seems like the best way to share our experiences at the course (other than the photos of the yummy food of course!)
Our class began with a tour if the local market. Among other things, we learned:
- what a Kaffir lime (the fruit of the tree that makes Kaffir lime leaf) looks like,
- how coconut milk is made,
- that eggplant comes in a variety of sizes and colours including ones that look like large peas
- that the difference between the white tofu and yellow tofu is that the yellow tofu has been marinated in turmeric.
In the class we prepared:
- a stir fry (Becky: fried cashew nut with chicken – kai pat med ma maung him ma pan, Scott: fried noodle thai style – phad thai)
- an appetizer (Becky: Papaya salad – som tam, Scott: spring roll – pho pea thod)
- a soup (Becky: Hot and sour prawn soup – tom yum kung, Scott: Seafood in coconut milk – tom kaa koong),
- a curry paste (Becky: red curry paste – namphrik gaeng phet, Scott: Panaeng curry paste – namphrik gaeng hung lay)
- a curry (Becky: Chiang Mai noodle with chicken – kao soy, Scott: Panaeng curry with chicken – pha naeng kai)
- a dessert (Becky: Water chestnuts in coconut milk – tub tim krawp, Scott: Mango with sticky rice – kao neeaw ma muang)
Some of the fun things we learned from the class include:
- That Thai food isn’t that hard to make when you have a team of invisible (and visible) helpers there to ensure everything runs smoothly.
- A controllable gas flame for the wok makes wok cooking much easier.
- Coconut milk can be boiled vigorously without harm (note that the coconut milk we used here was much thinner than the canned stuff from home).
- Proper wok implements make stirring/mixing easier (curved metal spoon and spatula – not wooden spoons).
- An extra-large mortar and pestle (and wooden elephant stand) work great for making curries.
- Deep fried cashew nuts are really yummy!
After the class, we learned from Maddie, one of the students in our class, of an inexpensive and really nice set of bungalows centered around a beautiful courtyard garden. We rode over to check it out, and ended up visiting with people there for a few hours. We will move over to the Gong Kaew Huen Kum tomorrow. It’s on Singharat 3 Soi if you’re looking for it. They have nice air conditioned bungalow rooms for 680 Baht per night, including Internet (wireless and a couple of kiosks), coffee, and toast. The people are really friendly, and there is definitely a backpacker culture there. The Sira Boutique was nice, but felt a bit too upscale for our “style”. It feels weird saying that, since we both used to like nice hotels!