Cozy Cooking Class on a Snowy Night

Wow, I cannot believe it is already Thursday and I have not found a spare moment until now to write a recap and sort through many photos from last Friday ” Thai Soups”class at Ketmala’s Kitchen. Thank you again to my awesome attendees who were willing to drive through the falling snow to cook with me. So sorry for the ones who could not make it due to the long drive in weather condition, I promise to reschedule another session down the road since I have received additional inquiries about that particular class already!

In 2 1/4 hours, we travelled to Thailand, or rather to a taste of it by discovering and cooking with its variety of ingredients from bean sprouts, cilantro (coriander), coconut, galangal, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, limes, pak choi (bok choy), Thai chili (also called bird’s eye chili), scallion, and so on. In the Thai kitchen, all the herbs, spices and aromatics are combined together to achieve precisely a desired savor in each dish, creating a true balance of the five fundamental Thai tastes and cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter.

We started the session by getting acquainted with Thai fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, followed by knives sharpening and practicing the basic knife skills, preparing all the ingredients needed for our three soups of the evening, from peeling ginger, dicing carrot, bruising lemongrass, slicing galangal, mincing scallion, cleaning mushrooms to making homemade vegetable broth as well as shrimp stock.

Once we had the “mise en place” or everything was arranged and ready to go, it was time to cook!

Our first soup of the night was the “Gaeng Jued Kai” or Vegetable Soup with Omelette Chiffonade, a very satisfying, mild-flavored, soup, that is quick and easy to prepare. We made it with baby bok choy and carrot though it is a versatile soup, meaning you can use any vegetables according to what is available and seasonal. This simple soup is a good accompaniment for any meals.

We then moved onto the “Tom Kha” or Galangal & Coconut Soup. This aromatic dinner soup is rich with coconut milk and intensely flavored with  galangal (kha), lemongrass and fresh kaffir lime leaves. Instead of using chicken like in the traditional recipe, we decided to use sprouted tofu and a blend of  Maitake, Enoki, Oyster and Shiitaki mushrooms for this superb vegetarian version. A thick, rich and more filling soup for any occasions.

Finally, we concluded our cooking session with the “Tom Yam Goong” also known as Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup. A subtle blend of hot and sour citrus overtones, “Tom Yum Goong”, a classic soup, is also the most popular and best-known Thai soup. We made it with homemade shrimp stock, Tiger shrimps, Oyster mushrooms, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, tomato, and stir in fresh herbs at the end for extra flavor. I demonstrated three different versions of that soup depending on how hot you prefer to eat yours: #1: With a whole Thai chili for garnish only (mild), #2: With Buckwheat Soba noodles and sliced Thai chili for a more filling soup (medium heat), #3: With a touch of homemade roasted chili paste and sliced Thai chili (spicy).

The wonderful aroma of the flavorings used in Thai cuisine was enough to make your mouth water.  We had much fun playing around with the fragrant Thai spices, herbs and flavors that make each soup a unique treat to savor.

While it was cold and snowing outside we enjoyed our homemade heartwarming Thai soups and shared our little anecdotes of the evening.

It sure was a cozy cooking class on a snowy night, a fascinating journey to beautiful Thailand for all including myself!  🙂

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS AND CONTENTS © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13 AND CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION.
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