If there’s one thing I would highly recommend you to do in Thailand, it’s to take a Thai cooking class. I’m far from being domestic, and sautéing vegetables is the best I can do at home.
I learned, though, that despite my culinary limitations, I can learn how to cook Thai food just fine in a few hours.
When I went back to Thailand in January this year, I took advantage of the offer to let me experience the Thai cooking class given by Scenn’s Cooking School in Sangkhlaburi.
Scenn has been giving cooking lessons for years. When not teaching foreigners the basics of Thai cooking, she manages their homestay, teaches dance to kids in shelters, gives Thai language lessons, and even occasionally performs some traditional Thai dances for special occasions. Talk about multi-talented!
Buying the ingredients is as much a part of food preparation as the cooking itself, so off to the market we went early in the morning. My friend and I are not morning people, but we knew the value of accompanying Scenn. The market in Sangkhlaburi, although small, was very clean, like any market in Thailand.
Scenn went to her favorite vendors and bought the ingredients we needed for the day. Our menu was
- Kouaging Neuer / Roasted & Rolled beef Dry curry
- Yam Woon Sen / Vermicelli noodle salad with minced pork
- Green Curry Chicken and Bamboo Baby Egg plant
There were five menus available but I chose this because I really love chicken in green curry. So delicious!
Aside from fish, meat, and vegetables, there were also a lot of foodstuff you can find in the market of Sangkhlaburi. I couldn’t resist to buy some of this sugary temptation. It was absolutely sinful.
Dish 1—Kouaging Neuer (Roasted and Rolled Beef Dry Curry)
Back at her cooking school, we found everything already prepared for us. We started with cooking the beef. Scenn sliced, diced, and pounded the beef, and we followed suit.
I loved it that there were only two of us there. While she could accommodate up to five students at a time, nothing beats a private lesson for learning how to cook.
We made chili paste for this dish; it was my first time to actually make it and I was surprised how easy it was to do. The taste beats supermarket-bought paste, too.
Scenn told us to pound the mortar hard, to make the paste faster. In the olden days, she said, Thai parents chose their daughter’s husband based on his strength in pounding the mortar.
My Rolled Beef Dry Curry turned out well, if I may say so myself. Scenn’s, of course, was much tastier.
Dish 2—Yam Woon Sen (Vermicelli Noodle Salad with Minced Pork and Seafood)
When the cooked beef was set aside, we did the noodle salad next, another of my favorite Thai food. I first had a taste of this in Pattaya, bought from a street vendor across our hotel. It was then when I decided that I would love Thai food forever.
This one is easy for me to remember how to cook. Boil the vermicelli for one minute, then set aside. Then boil the other ingredients, and when cooked, mix with the noodles. Sounds easy, right?
The ingredients are not too exotic, too. You can find them even in the Philippines. Check out the recipe here.
Dish 3—Green Curry Chicken with Bamboo and Baby Eggplant
Now, this is my favorite. I always eat this with noodles, and one serving is only 40 baht in the streets of Bangkok. I was also surprised at how easy it was to cook.
We poured coconut milk into the pot, let it boil, and then put in the other ingredients: the green curry paste, chicken, bamboo shoots, and egg plant, plus the spices. When I tasted mine, I couldn’t believe I made it myself. It was so good.
Once all the dishes were done, we set out to eat. There was too much for just four of us, so my friend and I ate more of it for dinner afterwards. It still tasted great!
There’s only one way to enjoy delicious Thai food anywhere you are in the world, and that is to learn Thai cooking.
Have you enrolled in any cooking class while you were traveling? How was it?