So. Thai Cooking! I took a Thai cooking class at Cook’s World from Anna, a local who used to run/cook for a Thai restaurant near campus. Cooks World has an interesting kitchen set up, with a big island the instructor works at, under a mirror so everyone can see. The first thing we made were spring rolls, which I had imagined would be quite a challenge, but it turns out they’re really easy! Yahoo! Before we began though, Anna talked about the main flavors in Thai food; spicy (chilis), sweet (sugar of all varieties), salty (…fish sauce?), and sour (lime, Ithink). The spring rolls weren’t too big in any of these flavors, although the sauce was definitely sweet, seeing as it was half sugar. We all got to go up an make a spring roll filled with lettuce, rice noodles, julienned carrots, and shrimp. Really tasty! Especially withe the sugary-limey sauce and a little Sriracha. After the spring rolls we had green papaya salad, which I honestly didn’t really care for. It tasted like an unripe papaya. Oh, right because it was. Green papaya salad essentially entails shredded papaya, cold green beans, and dried shrimp, all mixed up with spicy dressing (the only flavorful part). It had interesting flavors, but it was all a bit too cardboard-ish on the texture side of things. And dried shrimp are just wrong. I can’t really even talk about them. Little, dry, salty bits of fish matter. Ok, moving on. next we made green curry with fish balls, which I actually liked a lot, although I wish I hadn’t seen the fish paste before I ate it. This dish was more like a stew or soup though, less like the curry I expected. After Anna made the fish balls she boiled them in the curry-coconut milk soup, and after they were done she threw some red bell peppers on top and served it. Pretty good! (And it had these Thai eggplants in it which I’ve never had before- not really anything like regular eggplants, but pretty ok)

Next we made pad thai, which I usually hate, so I did not have high hopes for. Every time I’ve had pad thai it’s been very peanut heavy and a bit mushy. But Anna’s pad thai was really really delicious, and much more fresh tasting than previous pad thai experiences. Our pad thai had bean sprouts, tofu, eggs, red onions, green onions, and shrimp. And this really yummy pad thai sauce with tamarind in it. After the good pad thai we moved on to the last dish of the day, one that had been cooking since we arrived- black sticky rice pudding. Essentially black rice and sugar, with a scoop of coconut ice cream on top. It didn’t taste very rice-ish at all, but it was delicious. Probably my favorite of the day. As I ate it the coconut ice cream melted all into the rice so each bite had the sweet coconut flavor…yum.

This class was pretty fun, and really interesting because I’ve never done that kind of cooking before. A lot different from the classes at Diane’s Market Kitchen which were full of market fresh foods, as most of the ingredients for the Thai recipes were canned and imported. Yummy pad thai and egg rolls though, and rather interesting to see a foreign food prepared and learn how.

The kitchen as viewed in the overhead mirror during pad thai prep.

Dried shrimp. Gross.