When I saw a Thai Cooking class on my itinerary before heading to Bangkok, I really did not pay much attention. After all, before I leave there are thousand other things that clamor for my attention. However, I was really uneasy when I realized on day two at Bangkok, that I was staring at my doom.
It is not that I never cook, but let us put it this way, cooking is not my forte. I don’t think my daughter will miss mummy ke hath ka khana (mom’s food) when she has grown up! Why did I not try to wriggle out? I was traveling alone with the Director of TAT New Delhi, Runjuan Tongrut, how could I say to her I was really scared about going into a cooking class!
So, with a heavy heart, I headed to the class at the Blue Elephant Cooking School, Bangkok. It is a school established by the famous chef Nooror Somany Steppe. Next time when you shop for Thai curry and other stuff at the Suvarnabhumi airport do notice that a lot of the stock is from the Blue Elephant brand.
I filled a form before the class in which I declared myself a vegetarian. The more I travel, the more it hits me that you become the odd person when you are a vegetarian. In our group of 7, I was the only vegetarian.
We tried at least 5 to 6 recipes and all I can say is that I managed not to set the place on fire! I actually did alright as they would cut the ingredients and put them ready for us. All I would need to do is to pound it, mix it and follow the recipe.
But let me elaborate. The classes went like this. All of us would assemble in the demo room where the master chef would demonstrate the recipes. As all the dishes were meat based they substituted it with tofu or mushroom for me. Then we would go into the cooking room and try it out ourselves. Here we had chef’s assistants monitoring the room and help was ready at hand.
I was surprised to see that Thai cooking involves lemon leaf as a flavoring ingredient. We also have so much of lemon and lemon leaf but I am not sure that we use it as a flavor in our dishes. And even though we do use coriander leafs for seasoning in Thai cooking they use the roots too! I also realized that the colors came for the seasoning. For example green curry had a lot of green bell peppers in it!
The stuff you make, you can sit down and eat as well. I had no time so I out it all as a take away. But my dinner was at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit so I gave away the food to the driver of the van. I met him again after coming back from Krabi but I am so unsure of my cooking that I didn’t dare to ask how was the food that day!
Now that I have survived the scare, I wonder why was I so scared in the beginning! If I ever do it again, I hope I would have time to sit down and eat what I cooked rather than giving it away to someone unsuspecting.