A friend who recently studied and lived in Thailand recommended Tom Yum Cooking School to us, so we booked a half day class to learn about (and taste) some traditional Thai dishes. The class was fantastic! The instructor was nice, helpful, and funny and the food was delicious. We walked away feeling like we really could make some of these meals when we’re back home (one day we’ll have a home and a kitchen again, right?!).
- Thai cooking requires the extensive use of a mortar and pestle. In fact, one of the most interesting things we did was prepare fresh curry paste for the green curry and panang curry we made, and this included a lot of grinding, pounding, and mixing ingredients with the mortar and pestle (being careful that the chilis didn’t splash up into our face!). Even the salad we made was mixed in this way. I guess we need to invest in one of these when we get home.
- We were a bit surprised to discover that Thai cooking often includes pre-made ingredients, such as bottled fish sauce, that cut down on time and allow for a consistent taste. Although this was a bit of a relief and made us feel like recreating the dishes at home would be easier and less time consuming.
- Once the task of chopping is complete, Thai cooking is very fast paced. For example, our Pad Thai only took about three minutes to cook once we had it in the wok. This means that it’s important to add each ingredient to the pan at just the right moment.
- Almost everything includes sugar. (No wonder it all tastes so good!) Palm sugar is the most common type of sweetener, and it is comes in the form of a thick, brown paste. However, apparently in the US you only get palm sugar in blocks.
During this class we tasted each dish right after we finished making it so the meals were piping hot and full of maximum spice and flavor. I think my favorites were the Tom Yum Soup and the Mango Sticky Rice we had for dessert. Jeff loved the Spring Rolls and the Mango Sticky Rice, too. Hopefully we’ll make these again one day, and if they taste half as good as they did in Thailand we’ll be satisfied.