Thai cooking

Koh Lanta, 02.01.2013
Our friends know we love food and cooking, and Helena has a particular passion for Thai cooking (and me an even bigger one for eating Helena’s Thai cooking). So far it has been autodidactic, but today is the day we go pro: with our first Thai cooking course, that I won in a game of our New Year’s Eve show!
After a morning of intense sleeping, breakfasting, beaching, swimming, reading and doing nothing we drove to the main town to the cooking school. And for the record (friends listen up) we were not only on time, but 3 mins early and the first participants to arrive! 😉
There were 6 other participants in our course, a Brazilian and a German couple and 2 sisters from England. We choose to cook coconut milk soup, pad thai noodles, stir fried chicken/beef/seafood with ginger and massaman curry with chicken. The preparations went well, we cut vegetables for all 4 dishes and everybody was eager to start cooking. In the end this was probably the best part of the course since everybody was still concentrated and we learned about a lot of little secrets on how to use vegetables in day to day cooking that are unusual in Europe. I found similar to my Italian cooking background the way the preparation of a dish is built up. Prep work is important, then you start off with a base, add the primary ingredients, give taste with spices and finally add the last few items. What’s different though is the the constant turning of ingredients in the pan or wok. And I learned to use the nose in cooking, to decide when to add a piece or spice. This is a sense I didn’t use as a tool in the kitchen so far.
Finally we started with the soup, which went quite quick and easy. The taste was a little too normal, Helena and I would have preferred something more interesting. We ate our soups, started sweating quite quickly and then we went for the noodles. Also this dish wasn’t too complicated, but some things were prepared, like the precooked noodles. We would have lost too much time. After eating the second dish attention levels of the group dropped significantly. I was so hungry before the course that I just started to feel OK, no idea why the others got so slow.
The next dish we prepared in different versions each, chicken meat or seafood. First takeaway bags appeared. And the curry at the end saw half the group abandoning the woks somehow. I didn’t understand this really, also because the curry smelled really good.
So in essence the “so what” is that Thai cuisine is really simple, very tasty (we knew this one before), depending on a lot of amazing fresh ingredients and fun to cook! We’ll show off our learnings once we’re back in Madrid.