or at least Pad Thai
23.05.2007 - 23.05.2007 38 °C
We chose to participate in the Blue Lagoon Cooking School on the premises of our guesthouse. It cost 1000B for four hours, more expensive than the other cooking schools, but it was very good so we considered it money well spent.
Two classes are run a day and in our class there was me and Katherine. They didn't have an afternoon class but I did see them at other times with 5 or 6 students. I guess they are more busy in high season. They told us they quite like the odd free afternoon or morning, otherwise they are quite busy for most of the day.
The main teacher is Ju and she runs the cooking school with her friend and brother. They greeted us with a cup of special tea made from a fruit that is related to the orange tree. Ju introduced what we would be cooking - pad thai, a soup, a curry and mango and sticky rice (yum).
The format for all dishes was similar. Ju or her friend would give us some background, talk about and show us the ingredients, we would prepare some food (chopping) and then we would cook away. Actually, we followed their instructions and our main job seemed to be stirring the food in the wok so it wouldn't stick.
The thing I learnt about pad thai is that it came about after World War II. The government wanted to promote national unity so devised this dish with common ingredients. The pad means noodle and Thai means Thailand so together it means the noodle dish of Thailand. Of course, you can get other noodle dishes but this one is the national one. Originally it was made with shrimps but now they are expensive so often the pad thai excludes them.
After pad thai we took our dishes to a nicely-prepared table (table-cloth, water glasses, big bottle of water etc) and ate them. We were so full already as we had had a bread roll for breakfast from the nearby bakery. Completely unnecessary as we discovered too late.
Next we prepared two soups, tom yum (clear soup) and tom kha (coconut milk soup). I cooked the tom yum and Katherine cooked the tom kha. The ingredients for both soups is the same. They differ in that tom yum uses a shrimp stock base while tom kha uses coconut milk. They end up with quite a different flavour.
Ju introduced all the curries to us - green, red (panaeng, sour, jungle) and yellow. We chose to cook panaeng curry. I cooked it regular style while Katherine cooked it with spaghetti. Now our lunch was prepared and we sat down to our soups and curries.
Our stomachs were bulging and still there was mango and sticky rice to go. We had seen this in the market but not sampled it yet. It was one of the things on Katherine's list of things to eat/do before leaving Thailand. I want to know what she does if she doesn't tick off all items on her list. Does it mean that she needs to stay behind until she completes them? I think she would like to stay but not without me as I do all the organising, ordering and buying. Life is easy for her.
Ahh, mango and sticky rice. It was the best.
Thai Cooking School was great fun, very slick and well-presented. The two women who taught us were so nice and knowledgeable too.
We took another walk in the afternoon. This time a bit later than yesterday's walk so it was maybe 1 degree cooler. Not that we really noticed, it was just permanently hot. Meanwhile the ants in our semi-outdoor bathroom had made a nice covered tunnel to their new nest.