Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Thai Food Teaser!

Life in Hanoi is not always easy. Dealing with the traffic and madness every day gets to a person, so sometimes a break is needed. Combine that feeling with a long weekend and I was headed to relative civilization....Bangkok!

One of my favourite temples in Bangkok - Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)

Considering that I've spent plenty of time in Bangkok before, I didn't really feel the need to do a lot of touristy stuff. It was more about shopping and just wandering, and since Thai food is delicious, I took a cooking class at Silom Thai Cooking School!

We started off with a market tour, where our guide introduced all the different vegetables you might find in a Thai market. Living in Hanoi, I'd seen lots of these before, but there were a few new ones that I'd seen here and wanted to know about, so I think the guide was actually getting annoyed with me interrupting his lecture to ask questions!

We then went back to the cooking school itself, which consisted of just two rooms (for prep and eating!), a small kitchen with two sinks, and a balcony where we did the actual cooking. We were immediately put to work washing all the vegetables we'd bought.

The bountiful harvest!
The next step was to make coconut milk and cream - from scratch! They grind the meat out of a coconut with a special tool, then add water and kind of massage it with your hands until the cream comes out! Strain it, save the cream, add more water, massage and strain again, and you have coconut milk! It's easier than I thought, (although I didn't have to get the meat out of the coconut so maybe not!) but still not as easy as getting it from a can (and honestly, when it's cooked up with other ingredients I can't tell the difference!)

Getting messy making coconut cream.
We then went into the next room, where they had laid out cushions on the floor for us, and all the ingredients we would need for our first dish. They showed us how to carefully cut or prepare each ingredient to get maximum flavour, and then when everything was ready for one dish, we'd go out onto the balcony and cook it! By the time we'd cooked and eaten our dish, some magical invisible being had laid out everything we'd need for the next one in the prep room.

Here are some of the ingredients:



It wasn't all done for us though...we all had to have a go at pounding the red curry paste!

One of my classmates struggling with the REALLY heavy mortar and pestle!
Cooks all lined up in a row on the balcony.
So I know by now you're thinking "C' us the FOOD!"
Well, first we started with a Chicken Galangal Coconut Soup....

Then Stir-fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Spicy Mungbean Noodle Salad.... 

Then Red Curry Chicken and Fried Fish Cakes (which I didn't take pictures of, apparently), and finished off with Steamed Banana in Coconut Milk.

In case you're wondering, yes, it did all taste as good as it looks! I left that place with a stuffed belly and a book of the recipes we'd cooked that day. Not bad for four hours of fun!

1 comment:

  1. arrrrghhh, i'm not much of a cooker, but i am an eater... this stuff all looks amazing jenn! ^^


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