Would you like to learn the secret behind the distinctive Thai flavours responsible for the deliciousness of your favourite Thai dishes?
Mr GG and I are attending a Thai cooking class at Absolute Sea Pearl in Patong, Phuket. We have chosen three dishes from the twelve available, and we will be learning to cook them with the help of Executive Chef Anthony Healy and his team of Thai chefs.
We were welcomed into the restaurant dining area which is located poolside at the resort. It is a lovely location for a cooking class, and I am guessing, cooler than the chef’s kitchen. All the vegetables, herbs and meat have been prepped prior to our arrival and sauces are at the ready. We are given a menu and the recipes for our chosen dishes.
Anthony explains that the dishes we will be cooking are all very traditional Thai dishes which can be found throughout the country and vary from region to region.
Mr GG and I were the given a chilled washer each which had been soaked in Eucalyptus. It felt amazing to clean our hands and face with this icy cloth. Then a refreshing glass of fruit punch was brought to us with a bottle of “Absolute” water, the resorts own branded bottled water.
All three of these refreshments were gratefully accepted by Mr GG and myself.
The first dish on the menu was “Tom Yam Goong” a traditional spicy lemon grass soup with prawns and mushroom.
Two cooking stations had been set up for this dish. Our Thai chef proceeded to add the ingredients at the first station and explain the process behind the cooking technique. We tasted her dish periodically and she explained what flavours should be noticed first and how to balance the sweet, sour, and salty flavours until we had a balanced dish.
It was an incredibly quick dish to make and in a few minutes it was my turn to take up position at the second cooking station and practise what I had been shown.
With the help of my chef assistants I managed to produce a delicious Tom Yam Goong. We like our food hot so I added a little more smoked chilli paste and chilli oil to the initial recipe and the flavour was amazing.
This dish is often served with coconut milk but the traditional Thai style is without. I preferred the soup without the coconut milk and I would make it this way at home. After a tasting by the chefs I received a 9/10 for my dish. When I asked what was missing I was told the first taste should be sour for this dish.
When this was pointed out I immediately understood! I too had felt there was something not quite right and chef had immediately picked it. The dish would have been improved by a dash more of lime juice; having said that, I was still in food heaven.
Next up it was Mr GG’s turn to watch as the chef prepared a Phad Prew Wan Pla, or Stir Fried Sweet & Sour Fish. The Executive chef explained that this dish is the first choice of children staying at the resort, and is requested constantly. I am surprised as it also includes chilli!
Mr GG does a great job cooking and has the dish ready for plating in no time. Prior to serving we all taste and agree the dish needed a little more vinegar. I am surprised by the melding of flavours, it is the nicest sweet and sour sauce I have tried and nothing like the Chinese style I am used to.
The sauce is rich and there is a slight caramel flavour and not even a hint of heat from the chilli. I am hoping my children enjoy the sweet and sour too because I will be asking hubby to repeat this dish often at home.
We were beginning to get quite full. Mr GG and I had already had lunch prior to attending the class and we were two courses into a second lunch, with a third course yet to be prepared. There was so much food left that Brett requested a takeaway container for the remaining sweet and sour. We thought the children might like this for dinner tonight. It turned out to be a good move as the little ones demolished the dish. They were very proud of the dish their daddy prepared.
It was my turn to prepare the final dish, Kra Prao Gai. I was looking forward to making this dish as I had ordered it for dinner the previous night. The dish had been so delicious, but I didn’t have a clue how to prepare it myself.
The dish is a sautéed mince chicken with chilli and hot basil leaves. It’s traditional to add fresh seasonal vegetables to the base dish. Today we used chopped snake beans and large chillies with very little heat. Any mince meat can be used as a substitute to the chicken, my dish the previous night used pork mince.
Again the dish came together very quickly and I found it really easy to make. I am so pleased I will now be able to make this delicious at home.
I am surprised at how simple it is to achieve authentic Thai flavours with the guidance of the chefs from the Absolute Cooking Class. Thai cooking relies on quick cooking techniques and fresh ingredients with the right combination of sauces and spices. It seems easy when you have been shown how to master the flavours by the experts.
Spicy flavoursome food is my favourite so I will be putting this class to good use when I get home.
Let me know what recipe you would like me to share.
Absolute Thai Cooking
Sea Pearl Beach Resort & Spa
42/11 Tweewong Rd
Patong Beach, Phuket