I feel truly blessed to be here in Malacca city, 148 kilometres south east of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. This is one of the cutest cities I have visited during my Asian trip, definitely a more walk-able and pedestrian friendly place where it is possible to survive the morning heat thanks to a colonial architecture offering verandahs, front porches and internal courtyards.
Everyday, after lunch, I try to spend a few hours indoor in order to avoid sunburn and fatigue. Today in Malacca I take advantage of the “curfew” I force myself to tell you about my cookery class experience in Chiang Mai, the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. This happened a week or so before my food poisoning, when I could still comfortably enjoy spicy food.
Having a cooking class with Ann at Zabb-e-Lee turned out to be a great experience, one of the most enjoyable activities I engaged in during my trip. Ann, our teacher, was very thorough in her explanations of ingredients and how to use them. A very professional and personable girl who also made us laugh and smile a lot during the class. What more do you expect from a cooking class? Ah, right: delicious food. We got this too!
The day started at 8:30 am when Ann picked me and my boyfriend up from our hotel in her small truck. It was a fun ride together with other participants, mostly Europeans, during which we spoke about travelling experiences and impressions. After a quick stop at class venue to select the dishes, Ann took us to a local market to introduce us to the typical ingredients of the Thai cuisine. She shared a great deal of information about ingredients I have never seen before.
For example, I had never seen a banana flower (below) this dark purple-red blossom that grows from the end of a bunch of bananas.
Nor I knew about the “existence” of yellow tofu, that is turmeric-marinated tofu.
Each person was able to select an appetizer, soup, stir fry, curry paste and curry dish. There were many options to choose from and each of us was able to individualize the amount of heat/spice for their item (Ann nicknamed my boyfriend as “the hot man” because of his choice of adding 7 chilies to his curry. p.s. 5 chilies is the Thai standard.). Ann was also able to accommodate food allergies and special requests like my vegetarian diet (Thai recipes are not supposed to be vegetarian but she found a great way to replace meat using a soy protein product).
The facilities and utensils were clean and the backyard nicely decorated. We had fun and enjoyed delicious Thai food prepared by ourselves. My boyfriend was a little nervous at first (seriously, look at the concentrated and preoccupied look of the guy wearing the green apron below). Probably I felt a bit “tensed” too since I soon realized that I could easily burn my food due to high fire and type of cooking pan. At the end we both managed to cook yummy dishes such as Pad Thai and Tom Yum without asking for help, meaning that the pacing and accuracy of the instructions were just perfect.
Below: Thai tamarind sauce for Pad Thai.
Below: My perfect Pad Thai!
Tom Kha Pak: a soup packed with Thai herbs and spices such as galangal and lemongrass, blended with coconut milk and loaded up with mushrooms and veggies.
The delicious Tom Yum made by my “hot man”! Ann said it was too hot even for a Thai person.
Thai aubergines and pea aubergines submerged in water. These cuties ended up in our curry dishes.
Massamun curry, a rich Thai dish with peanuts and potatoes.
The dish I am particularly proud of: Thai fresh spring rolls. Dealing with rice paper is not an easy task. Ann thought me a successful technique to roll the sheets like a pro.
The group at the end of class. Proud and happily stuffed with food!
Have you ever attended a cooking class? If so, how was it like?
Where do you stand in terms of spicy and hot foods?