In Asia we all just celebrated the Chinese New Year holiday - bring on the year of the Dragon!!! How cool would it be to be born in that year huh? I, on the other hand, was born in the year of the Rat...far less impressive.
Anyways, Justin and I spent the last 5 days in Thailand - Koh Samui to be exact. Our good friend Ben was celebrating his 30th there and a bunch of us decided to join him. 5 days of partying, tanning, swimming, snorkeling (have I made you jealous yet??) and it was time to get back home.
One of the highlights of our trip though, was when Justin and I took a Thai cooking class. We've taken one before in Chiang Mai last Christmas - and to be honest I think that one was better. For anyone headed that way, it was called the Thai Farms Cookery Class and it was fabulous. The one we just took in Samui - pretty much the only one on the island, was slightly different, but the food was equally delicious. Here's just a glance at some of the fresh and exciting ingredients that we not only used but learned a lot about as well.
We ended the class by eating our Massaman Curry, Spicy Prawn Salad and Fried Spring Rolls along with the other classmates and a few Chang beers. We were absolutely starving and the food didn't disappoint!
The positives of taking this class are that you get to learn a lot about the ingredients that go into the food. They are some great recipes that would definitely impress guests and you can meet some really fun people as well. Both the cooking classes that I attended give out copies of the recipes for you to take home and there is always more than enough food. Justin and I are both big eaters and I don't think we ate even half of our food - great leftovers for later though!
Although some Thai recipes are incredibly easy, some are difficult, require a lot of preparation and great timing. I would definitely recommend anyone try spring rolls, chicken cashew-nut (or any other type of stirfry) and Mango Sticky Rice - all of these are easy recipes that even a beginner cook could make as long as he/she had good instructions. Thai curries are also easy to make - but the paste requires A LOT of ingredients, some that would be particularly difficult to find in North America. I have used store-bought curry pastes in the past and though it might take a few tries to get a proper balance of paste to coconut milk, I find they are a great alternative to making your own.
So if you're craving Thai after reading this post, go out and buy yourself some new ingredients - grab one of those dusty cookbooks on your shelf or check the web - and experiment in the kitchen!! Here's my super-easy Green Curry Recipe if you wanna try one. It will take you less than 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Speedy Green Curry (for two)
1 packet of Green Curry Paste (about two tablespoons)
200 mL coconut milk
200 mL water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite sized cubes
An assortment of veggies - simple can be red onion and green pepper but it would be great if you could replace the pepper with some long bean
Pour coconut milk, water and paste into a large wok and bring to a boil. Add diced chicken and poach in the curry. Keep the curry boiling steadily as the chicken cooks, about 8-10 minutes. Add chopped veggies and basil and boil for another 3-5 minutes - until they have reached desired tenderness (veggies will continue to cook after removed from heat so under-done is best). Top 2 large scoops of the curry onto a bed of rice and devour!