Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 78 - Cooking Class in Bangkok

Under the bridge you see the rainless part
of the water, like the shadow in the sun

It was a rainy day when we walked to our cooking class. The rain was as sudden and as heavy as I have never seen it before. Rainy season! Fortunately the air cooled down a little. Arriving at the right place (the restaurant next door pretended to be the cooking class site, but wasn't), we were greeted by a nice, quite good English speaking Thai woman who was going to be our chef. First it was a little difficult to understand because of a different pronunciation, as usual. The room was high-ceiled and hose-like, filled with several metal tables and cookers.

We began with coconuts. Our chef showed us how to scrab the coconut flesh with a special tool (which we didn’t have to do due to diligent background workers). Second step: make coconut cream and coconut milk. For that one we just had to squeeze the coconut with our hands! So easy but such a hard work. To let us know what the difference to mass market ready-made coconut milk / cream is, we tried for comparison. Although the ready-made milk is durable for up to one year, the fresh milk tastes so much more intensive and good, but is durable for only four hours. After a few minutes, our family class was joined by a young couple so that we were a class of six.

The only “not too usual thing” for me was the shrimp affair. As our chef did our all’s part in beheading the shrimps and peeling the shell and everything, we didn’t have to do it, just watch it. We learned that in the Thai kitchen as much as possible is used (that means the shrimp head is eaten crunchy, too, and the empty shrimp shell is cooked to create a fish soup taste).

As far as I remember, during three afternoon hours we cooked our own Tom Yum Chili Paste (that you usually buy in the supermarket in a jar) and about eleven small dishes like Green Curry, Pad Thai, Coconut Chicken Soup, Papaya Salad or Kao New Ma Moang (Mango Sticky Rice). We learned that chili, for example, is not cut into pieces to add spiciness, but beaten to let the spicy oil come out. The young couple ate the Papaya Salad with three whole chili, while my father and I fought with one chili, and my mother and sister with half of a chili ;-)

What positively surprised me was that everything was kept so clean. What fell on the kitchen table wasn’t used anymore, and all the ingredients were prepared in small metal bowls by the three friendly background helpers. The woman was soo cute with her English, she had such a nice character and called my parents always “mum” and “dad”. Once she made such a funny comment “uuuuuooooo, mum so guuuuuoooood” using both of her voice strings at once. She also often made reference to all the grandmas in the world with their cooking skills, especially her grandma that owned a restaurant.

We didn’t need dinner tonight, for sure.

Different sorts of soup

Pad Thai with peanuts, chili, lime
and crunchy shrimp heads
Something and green curry in the back

Yellow curry with cucumber sauce

Papaya salad (too hot), and mango sticky rice
Massaman chicken with sweet potatoe
Our chef showing the steamed sticky rice

What I learned? Always take Thai Tea in a Thai restaurant. Best drink in the entire world (that doesn't only exist in Hawai'i). But I still don't know what it really is.

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