Thai food is simple and at the same time tantalizing to the senses, that’s why when the opportunity to do a crash course in Thai cooking came up we grabbed it. Hubby and me by now were acclimatized to Thailand and the smell of lemon grass that followed us everywhere. We came to know about a cooking class Smart Cook Krabi which had a one day course in Thai cooking followed by a tour of the local market. Thailand is tourist friendly and the competition is high so most activities aimed at tourists have pick up and drop facilities. The car from Smart cook picked us up from our hotel and took us to the class for a day of cooking, eating and lovely company. After alighting we realized that the lady who drove us was also our instructor. The location of the class was the long verandah of her home with a lovely garden beside it. Smart cook needs pre booking and they take small batches of 6-8 people.
We had signed up for a seven course cooking class, there were two options for each course. So us being smart and all we divided up the menu such that both of us made different items for each course. The class started with teaching us about the different unique ingredients in Thai cooking like galangal,basil leaves, lemon grass, chillies, tamarind, fish sauce, etc all required for the sweet, sour, spicy and salty taste that Thai cooking requires. We started with making red and green curry paste with a pestle and mortar . Red and green paste is used in the soups and curry and it moderates the spice levels in Thai food. There is a Thai folk saying which says ‘a man would know if a girl would make a good wife (read cook) by listening to the sound of the pestle on the mortar’. Tom Kha soup which was the first item I made was surprisingly easy as the ingredients and prep was already done and ready for us. We then took our soup bowls to the dining table and had soup and got to taste each others culinary prowess too. The next item on the cook and eat menu was spring rolls for starters with yummy tamarind sauce. After we wolfed down the spring rolls it was time for some salad with glass noodles.
The main course was green, red or yellow curry with rice which is my eternal favorite and since we are our own cooks we could add as much or as little of the spice. This course gave me a deep understanding of how little cooking time chicken and prawns actually needs because the Indian cook in me is prone to slathering anything non veg in spices and cooking it till the chicken would forget that it used to be chicken. We then got a taste of Thai fried rice and Pad Thai and I was in Thai heaven. I wanted to continue cooking but eating it was the problem. My cooking skills were decent but my stomach didn’t have the space for all this yumminess. Thankfully we didn’t have one sit down meal, it was staggered and we cooked and ate alternatively.
For dessert we had sticky rice and mango which was cooked in coconut milk, rice pudding and banana fritters with condensed milk. At this stage I wanted a take away box but I managed to finish it with some help from hubby. After all this eating and cooking we got some much needed exercise at the local market tour. At the market we got a whiff and feel of all these unique and wonderful ingredients some closer to home some not as much. There was basil, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, tamarind, fish, prawns, chicken,mango, galangal and water bugs all for the Thai culinary pursuit. It was a day well spent and I can claim to have learned Thai cooking with lovely class mates from Singapore and Australia.