Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Different Sort of Cooking Classes At Aleenta Pranburi

'Tom Kha Gai' (วิธีทำ ต้มข่าไก่)

It's totally different in the sense that we didn't stand in front of cooking stations to do this class. We literally invaded the resort's kitchen to cook some of our meals. Muahahaha. Pedantic cooks will be annoyed because there aren't hard copies of recipes provided. The dvd given couldn't play on any of our devices but later on, the kitchen helpfully sent over digital files. Yay.

The man studied the provided recipes and announced that the actual process and ingredients were slightly different. He wanted to re-create those dishes precisely to those flavors. Luckily we wrote our own notes, took methodical photos and had the hands-on experiences. The resort doesn't structure these 'classes' like the way professional cooking schools do in Bangkok. But, it's a professional kitchen and we wanted to learn their secrets. Wooohooo. The kitchen accommodated all our choices of dishes. We skipped all appetizers and desserts, choosing to focus on soups and mains.

'Phad Thai Kung' (ผัดไทยกุ้ง)

Love the wet markets. We did rounds on our own, and the friendly chef who took us through the cooking also accompanied us to the same market in the mornings to buy the necessary ingredients. We popped by Aleenta's very own organic farm to grab some kangkong, oyster mushrooms and coriander and all that as well.

We can make a kick-ass tom yam clear soup with prawns or seafood. We were curious about 'Tom Kha Gai' (วิธีทำ ต้มข่าไก่, creamy coconut milk broth with chicken). It's more gravy and light curry. Of course one needs to like coconut milk. I rarely like the versions at the restaurants. It tends to end up heavy and too creamy. I want a zesty rendition. Had the freshest farm-grown oyster mushrooms with it too. Plucked a huge bunch to use. Woot.

'Gaeng Panang Neua' (แกงพะแนงเนื้อ)

Like fried rice/nasi goreng, phad thai tastes very different at each stall. The challenge is to produce a version without using fish sauce. Tau chewing or fermented soy bean paste could produce the umami needed but change the underlying flavors of the fried thin noodles. And have those noodles al dente instead of mushy. Attempted 'Phad Thai Kung' (ผัดไทยกุ้ง, fried noodles with prawns). I think we can re-create this at home.

Also cooked 'Gaeng Panang Neua' (แกงพะแนงเนื้อ, Panang curry with beef). This was impressive. One of the better-tasting ones around. Importantly, the kitchen used a generous cut of tenderloin from local cows. Waaah. Very nice. Grass-fed too. Totally satisfying, again, with rice.

Of course we can't eat all these in a day. Spread them over a few meals. Not pigging out here without an equivalent ratio of exercise. There was also simple stir-fried kangkong (ผัดผักโขม, 'phad phak khom') that went really well with beautifully steamed red/wild or white jasmine rice. Just one dish. With a fried egg and some chillies. Very satisfying. How much would we need to eat in a meal? Didn't need recipes for stir-fried green vegetables. We grew up eating them. :)

Stir-fried kangkong (ผัดผักโขม).

No comments: