Fresh coriander . . . Fresh kaffir lime leaf . . . Freshly chopped ginger and galangal . . . Spicy chilli that makes you sneeze . . . Fish sauce . . . Oh I could go on and on about my favourite Thai ingredients. I could also go on about how cooking with them on the weekend, at my Thai cooking class, brought back memories of being in Thailand, wishing I was there, sitting by the pool or beach, drinking Singha and eating fish cakes or fresh red curry crab . . . Sorry, got a bit carried away! I wish we had smell-o-net.
Thai cooking while over in Thailand – another amazing experience that I will remember forever. And now I get another chance to learn more about one of my favourite cuisines! Awesome, I can’t wait!
Paladarr restaurant in Alphington is where the class was held, with Chef Chaloem teaching 6 lucky people, which is intimate and friendly. All guests – myself, Lauri, Elizabeth, Michelle, Blado & Carmel – meet in the dining room before starting, getting to know one another over a refreshing drink. Bryan, the restaurant manager, hands us our aprons and we head into the kitchen. This is where the amazing fresh aromatics begin and continue throughout the next 3-4 hours.
We’re introduced to a quietly spoken Chaloem, who gets us started with creating a curry paste. We move to our benches, ready set up with ingredients and begin chopping away – being told to be careful as the knives are super, super sharp! A small cut & I continue chopping everything finely, unbeknown to me that the ingredients were all going into a Thermomix with rehydrated dried chillis to blend together!
The Penang curry paste is done – we all cough a little bit at this stage as the chilli and garlic are quite intense – and we then continue to make a Penang chicken curry. Making the curry paste from scratch gives the finished curry dish such amazing flavour that every single ingredient can be tasted. WOW! I could have eaten the whole thing right there and then but I wanted to share my fantastic work with my husband. We place our finished dish in take away containers to enjoy at home for dinner – we get to do that with all of our dishes!
We then continued to make the rest of our dishes:
- Tom Yum with prawns (with just the right amount of sweetness, sourness and saltiness)
- A hot spicy seared-prawn salad (with fresh coriander and chilli to make all your senses work in overtime). Pictured below is Chef Chaloem’s creation.
- Pad Thai with vegetables (cold-soaked noodles with tofu and seasonal vegetables,) and
- Curry puffs (minced chicken in puff pastry – learning how to fold the puffs was the highlight for everyone, especially Blado!)
We all enjoyed the curry puffs together with a refreshing beer or wine and shared our stories with one another, laughing and talking about our favourite moments or dish of the day.
All of us had an amazing time and found Chaloem very easy to understand while being thorough in explaining each recipe in simple terms. We all appreciated this as it would make it easier to replicate these dishes when we got home. Not only did we receive the recipes we had cooked in a lovely presentation folder to take home with us, but a certificate for completing the class and a voucher to use in Paladarr! Then when things couldn’t get any better, we got given one of the knives we used in class to take home with us! We were all so excited and very appreciative (and we couldn’t help but be in awe of these amazing knives).
Amazing – is all I have to say about this Thai cooking class! I had a truly wonderful time and I learnt some new dishes that I didn’t have the chance to make while over in Thailand last year. I would highly recommend this Thai cooking class to everyone. You’ll have so much fun learning, cooking and eating Thai food while meeting new people who share a common passion for cooking great food. By the way, is that knife awesome or what!?! Sorry, love my new knife.
What sorts of cuisines would you love to learn about? Have you been to any cooking classes? What is the dish you liked the most and cook on a regular basis? If any of you ever have the chance to cook your favourite food with a well renowned chef or expert, definitely do it! I loved every second of my cooking experience and would highly recommend to anyone to follow your passion and learn more about the cuisine/s you love.