Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bangkok: Cooking School

I finally succumbed to it. I went for a cooking course in Bangkok. The idea had flit through my mind on and off, whenever I read through a blog, browsed through a food site or flipped through a magazine. I would be not fair to myself and my blog readers if I do not go and learn the secrets of Thai Cooking right?

I researched the net for the cooking school that would suit me, finally settling for Silom Cooking School because it has the most reasonable price with good review as well. Extra bonus is that it includes local market shopping beforehand.

My cooking instructor, N, a really sweet guy, guided me to his place and paid for the fare as well as he could not pick me from my busy hotel at Sukhumvit road.Once there, I joined up with a family from Hong Kong, a lady with her husband, daughter of six and mother (or in-law, I’m not sure). They are really a nice bunch and it was great fun learning cooking with them.

The first session was we head straight to a small local market near N’s place. First thing we bought is freshly grated coconut for our curries. Then N proceeds to explain the various kinds of curry paste used in Thai cooking. He says that there are 3 common curry pastes: green, red and yellow. All are nearly the same except that green paste is made from fresh green chillies while the red paste is from dried red chillies and the yellow paste added with turmeric for color. It does sound simple the way he said it.


Then we head out to the vegetable stall, where it seems like N’s usual place to go for the students as the lady at the stall knows what to get for him straight away. She was also oblivious to N poking at her vegetables while explaining to us about it. N explained various Thai herbs to various gingers as well as various eggplants.


Each of us had a little basket to do our market shopping. Here is my bountiful basket herbs and spices:


After that we lug our basket of treasures back to his place. I was impressed by the beautiful cooking place setup.


Everything was nicely plan, with one room for wet preparation, such as pressing coconut juice included with a place to wash the vegetables.


Another room was for the dry preparations such as cutting, pounding and so on. At the dry preparation, we are all rationed from the tray with what is needed to cook our one-portion dish. Then N showed us what to do with it.

Then we head out with our tray and do some cooking. Here is my final own cooked version of Tom Kha Gai (coconut milk chicken). It is my first time eating this dish so I can’t judge with the authentic ones out there, but this soup is definitely a filling one. I could not finish the coconut milk.


Next I dished up another one-person portion of Gai Pad Med Mamuang (Fried Cashew Nut with Chicken).


Then N explained on various Thai rice and how each is cooked and consumed. Then he proceeds to show how they traditionally steam the sticky rice.


Next N showed us how to make Yam Wun Sen (Spicy Mungbean Noodle Salad). It is served nicely presented with the now-cooked sticky rice.


Next we shared make Thod Mun Pla (Fried Fish Cakes). The process was a bit messy but the finish product, once again nicely presented by N, was definitely a delicious sight and delicious to eat as well. We also get to make the Thai Sweet Chilly Sauce to accompanied it ourselves.


Next we prepare the red curry paste and then dished up Kang Phet Gai (Red Curry Chicken).


Finally, courtesy from N as I requested, he taught me how to make Som Tam. How can I missed this beloved dish right? I get to pok-pok the salad together. Turn out it is really simple, now I am going to go against what I preach, and make one for myself at home soon.


So that’s the end of my experience in Silom Cooking School. I had tremendous fun and would like to thank N for the wonderful dishes and expanded waistline. N also gave us his own compiled recipes before we leave, how thoughtful. So what is the secret of Thai cooking? The secret lies in fresh local ingredients. That’s all really. Everything else is really simple and easy, especially if you know Asian way of cooking. Now when am I going to make these dishes at home as I promised to J?

13 comments:

Kamarulzaman Suief said...

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Dear Sir,

We have not received confirmation from you concerning our link exchange.

If you agree to exchange a link, kindly send me an email as below. I will explain to you the procedure to exchange a link.

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teckiee said...

hm.. i actually got this message on email. Anyway... whch area is the cooking school? how much did u pay for your session?

ballad said...

"I hate tremendous fun"

rokh said...

teckie, i'll email you the info :)

ballad, thanks for the tip on my typo! haha

teckiee said...

hey thats for the email and the link!

DreaMachine said...

That seems really interesting! So "Discovery Travel and Living" When am I going to taste your cooking?

KampungboyCitygal said...

i can feel ur passion in thai cooking..is this the same class that chubby hubby went?

samshiki said...

Hi rokh,

I loved all these pictures. Can drool just looking at them. I loved the days where I go to Yaowarat in BKK just to see what vegetables they have which SG doesn't have. Missed all the Som Tam, catfish salad, and Poo Pad Phong Kari (Curry crab)... :~

boo_licious said...

Ah, so lucky of you that u went for a cooking class at BKK. It looks like great fun. There are places in KL where u can get Thai ingredients - that's where the Thais shop for their food and spices.

Wandernut said...

I so jeles!!!! :D

Everything looks yummy!
HOW FUN!!

durianberry said...

Ah, must be a great experience to visit their market to source for fresh ingredients

Ed Tep said...

Rokh - It sounds like you enjoyed your cooking class as much as I did! Thanks for sharing all the pictures. They definitely reminded me of how much fun I had. I definitely hope to make it back to Bangkok soon!

burekaboy said...

rokh, thanks for your visit & comment on my blog. looks like a fantastic experience you had and an amazing cooking school. interesting just how many little eggplants there are!

btw, the mahlep can probably be bought from markets that cater to the muslim community.

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