If you're booked on to go on the Thailand Experience, one thing you'll try during your time in Thailand is a Thai cookery lesson. The dishes we made were SO yummy, so I thought I'd share the recipes with you!
There are two things that I can guarantee you'll hear about travelling in Thailand- 1) "OMG, it is so cheap!" and 2) "OMG, the food is so good". After spending a few days in Bangkok, we'd already had the chance to experience the cheapness of the country (after Australia I think anything will seem cheap!) but now we've started the second part of our journey, it was now the time to get our hands dirty and broaden our culinary knowledge with our Thai cookery course!
The course was taking place on one of the house boats which sits on the River Kwai; it's such a beautiful setting. Our Thai tour leaders, Sugar and Jib, would be leading the course, telling us what goes in where to make Thai food so delicious! All our ingredients were cut up by staff from the hotel, so it meant all of the fiddly bits of peeling lemongrass or chopping galangal were taken away from us and we could just focus on making some delicious food to show off to our friends on our return home!
Firstly we made Pad Thai- the backpackers staple diet whilst travelling through Thailand due to its sweet sauce, and the fact it's the fastest fast food I've ever seen! To make this dish, we popped in our thinly sliced chicken and sealed it, before putting some chopped garlic onions and a tamarind sauce into the wok. It is the tamarind sauce, which along with sugar, gives the dish its disinctive sweet taste. After 30 seconds or so, we popped in our veg; carrots, spring onions, beansprouts- if it cooks quickly, then it can go on (I think that's the rule!). Toss it around the pan for a few seconds, mix in with the noodles, then plate up and start tucking in!
Time taken: 5 minutes
Tasty Factor: 5/5
Our second dish of the day was Cashew chicken- a dish that had quickly stolen the crown away from Pad Thai as the group's favourite dish! Cashew Chicken traditionally has a sweet and sour sauce (though more tomatoey than the S&S sauce you get at your local chinese!). Once again we fried some chicken off, before popping in a bit of onion and garlic. After this followed some tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and corn into the pan, as well as the tomato sauce, before stirring them all together into the wok. Conclusion: easier than boiling a spud and by the room of empty plates, tastier too!
Time taken 5 minutes
Tasty Factor: 4/5
Our third and final dish of the day was the classic Tom Yum soup: a hot and spicy tomato based soup, which is traditionally served with seafood. To make this dish, we had a wok 1/3 of plain water, which we left to heat, while we crushed up a tomato fish stock with chilli with a splash of fish stock. The spiciness of the dish is controlled through this sauce, so if you like a little bit of heat, put in a few chillis. If (like me) you enjoy heat, then throw in a few more, but just don't go crazy- these bird eyes chillis are hot! We put our sauce into the water and left it to mix for a few minutes, before placing in our lemon grass, galangal, mushrooms and tomatos. We left it simmer for a minute, before placing our seafood in- ensuring not to stir the prawns, otherwise they would fall apart. After the prawns had turned to their nice pink colour, it was time to turn off the heat and to tuck in!
This was the one dish I was excited to learn, having perfected a spicy chicken noodle soup back home. The results of this didn't just match expectations, they exceeded it and it was certainly anything better than I have tried in a restaurant! We were all stuffed from our other courses, but we all made rooms for seconds for this tasty dish!
Time taken: 8 minutes
Tasty Factor: Off the tastiness scale!
If you're going ton the Thailand Exp, you're going to LOVE the cookery course. I can't wait to cook a load of Thai food for my friends and family back home!