Monday, June 18, 2012

Smart Cook

The next day I got up and had my banana pancake, then headed to the beach only to discover that the tide was so high that the waves were hitting the stairs leading down to the beach. I should really look into tide cycles. Since there was no beach to lie on, I walked around a bit just wandering. I planned to take a Thai cooking class that day because the weather wasn’t supposed to be fantastic. 

I was picked up at my hotel by ‘Bunny,’ my Thai cooking teacher. Turns outs out low season has its advantages. No one else signed up for cooking that day so I had a private session. The way Smart Cook- Thai cookery school worked, was each person picked out 7 dishes to cook. I chose spring rolls, hot & sour prawn soup, red curry paste which I then used to make red curry, pad thai, papaya salad, and fried bananas in coconut milk. Let me tell you. I am not too shabby of a cook because 1) they all came out without any disaster like setting things on fire or burning anything, and 2) it actually tasted really good. It also helped that Bunny was supervising the whole time. I think she was slightly worried when she saw me chopping. I am not the best. Plus it was a massive knife, and I was chopping with caution. I also was not allowed to put the spring rolls in the oil to fry. “Safety First.” Bunny said they don’t let tourists, I mean students fry them. I have a suspicion it might have been just me. Lol. Really I was ok with it. The less chance of injuring myself, the better.

We made each dish one at a time, starting with the curry paste. Bunny told me said to smile the whole time. If you smile things turn out tastier because you were happier while making it. I am still skeptical but what else is new. To make the curry paste, you basically put all of the ingredients in a stone mortar and smash away. The louder you are at smashing the better cook you are. Bunny says it also means you are better at something else, but I’ll leave it at that. After the curry paste, I was taught how to make spring rolls. We made baby ones. I am pretty awesome at rolling those little suckers. After spring rolls, it was hot & sour soup, and then pad thai. Then I ate that, not all of it clearly because it was a ton, but they bagged the extra so I could take it home. After that I made the red chicken curry, papaya salad, and bananas in coconut milk. For the papaya salad (and really any thai dish) how spicy you want it depends on how many times you hit a chili. If you don’t smash it, it won’t be very spicy at all, one hit, mild, two hits moderate to spicy, 3 +…yikes. The more you hit it the more the seeds and juices come out. I was a two-hit person.

After my cooking class, I decided I need a mortar and a wok. Which would bring my cooking supplies up substantially. Right now I own a George Forman, a tagine, a sushi rolling pad, and some mugs. Oh and an old fashion popcorn popper. Maybe I should invest in dishes before a mortar… eh.

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