Chef for a day : Cooking Class in Bangkok

Well, I’ve learned my lesson : I won’t be getting my hair dyed, nor a bikini wax in Bangkok this trip. But there is one thing I have been meaning to do for a long time, and today was the day. Learn how to cook Thai food from a proper academy.
I’ve loved Thai food for as long as I can remember. My first memory of it was finding a small import shop in San Luis Obispo, California. I would buy the premade curry paste and a can of coconut milk, thinking I was Thailand’s next top chef.

I routinely burned the bottom of my rice and always left the coconut milk for too late. A lot has changed since that day.

Chef & Me

Chef & Me

Today my cooking journey begins with Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy. Our wonderful chef, Lek, just returned from her latest stint in Sweden where she worked as head chef for a Thai restaurant.

We started in the market, looking for the right ingredients for all the dishes on the menu. Look at this beautiful, fresh produce!

I love fresh veggies!

I love fresh veggies!

the babiest eggplants ever

the babiest eggplants ever

tomatoes

Back at the academy, I met the two other students in the class Stephanie and Amanda who both work for LUSH cosmetics and were great cooking company. They regaled me of their last project volunteering to build houses in rural Cambodia through LUSH’s non-profit charity. I was thrilled to learn that LUSH is doing so much good outside of making us hippie kids cleaner.

Our menu for the day was:
Massaman Red Curry
Sweet & Sour Vegetables
Stir Fried Tofu with Basil
Papaya Salad

My favorite part about a cooking class is that all the necessary items and ingredients are all ready for you upon your arrival (oh, and they do the dishes, too). Look at how beautifully the class is laid out!

if only every meal prep was so easy!

if only every meal prep was so easy!

First, our instructor taught us how to make the curry paste by hand. Hint: it involves a lot of arm strength. In the mortar we added our spices and ground them into a fine paste, awaiting further instruction.

Next, we diced up all our ingredients : julienned onions and red pepper, cubed tofu, minced garlic and birds eye chilies, smashed cardamom pods, nutmeg… all the spices!

The hardest part was not motor boating my mortar; the smell was so incredibly wonderful. Imagine the pungent lemongrass beaten into the earthy ginger and galangal… and then, the sharp lime juice and shrimp paste (or in my case, a tofu paste). Whew, so delicious.

Getting to use a large wok in the open air was an experience in and of itself : as if it’s not hot enough in Thailand, the blazing heat coming from the pan was enough to send a bead of sweat down to my ankle. Yikes.
My respect and admiration for the hordes of food vendors in South East Asia just went up another notch!

all our hard work

all our hard work

Now for the fun part : devouring our hard work. Why is it that a meal that takes two hours to create takes only 30 minutes to demolish? My favorite was the curry : the spiciness rounded out with the sweet coconut milk was just what I was craving. A close second was the papaya salad – it was refreshing, crisp, cool, and fresh as can be – I just loved it!

So excited to eat this!

So excited to eat this!

I’m most looking forward to when I can bring these recipes back home and share them with my friends and family. Who wants a second hand cooking class back in Madrid?

 

Great Success : Two Thumbs Up!

Great Success : Two Thumbs Up!

Please note : we were guests of the academy for this course however my opinions are always my own and cannot be bought. For more info on how this works, check out my disclaimer.


Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She’s been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.


'Chef for a day : Cooking Class in Bangkok' have 2 comments

  1. January 3, 2016 @ 9:03 am Sandra Samuel

    I think that cooking Thai food is a matter of great delight. I love to eat Thai food and I personally have been to many restaurants in Bangkok to enjoy the taste of Thai food. Very informative article. Loved reading.

    Reply

    • January 6, 2016 @ 6:04 pm brandy bell

      Thanks so much, Sandra! What’s your favorite Thai food dish?

      Reply


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