As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Thai Food–Not Just For Eating Out Anymore

This past Christmas I gave Andy (and me) a pass to take a Thai cooking class at Thai Fresh. Last week we finally had a chance to use it! Thai fresh is a neighborhood Thai restaurant in South Central Austin that features Thai food made with seasonal, local food. They also offer cooking classes.

The class we took was “Thai Favorites” which featured the most-ordered recipes at Thai restaurants: Coconut Soup with Chicken and mushrooms, Pad Thai w/ Tofu, Red Curry w/ chicken and seasonal vegetables and Sticky Rice w/ Mango. I have taken several cooking classes at Central Market, which were all great. However, the reason I was really excited about taking this particular class is I felt like I would implement the techniques and knowledge I learned right away.

Both Andy and I are good cooks, but wanted to know the “basics” of Thai cooking, which this class showed us. When I do eat out, I tend to go for ethnic foods that I don’t know how to prepare at home, like Thai or Indian. But I have a growing desire to learn how to create these cuisines at home, where, in my opinion, the food is always a step above restaurant food.

There were about 13 of us in the class. We all stood around a large stainless steel prep table in the back of the kitchen as Jam, the owner of Thai Fresh, took us us through the steps of the recipes, which we prepared together. As we sat down to eat the 4 delicious recipes, I thought, wow, that was not too difficult; really it is understanding the base and then the rest is fairly easy.

Did you know that Thai food is known for it’s balance of 5 fundamental tastes–spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter? These flavors can be encompassed in one dish or several dishes that make up one meal. When Jam first moved to the US, she had a hard time finding all of the necessary ingredients. Slowly but surely she has found distributors for some of the ingredients, as well as started to grow the items that thrive here, like kaffir limes, lemongrass and Thai chilis. And, as a matter of fact, I have lemongrass growing as well as lots of chilis (but not Thai chilis this year). Kaffir limes grow well in Central TX, so I might be adding that to my culinary garden…

Stay tuned for upcoming blog entries that I’ll share upon making these recipes in my own kitchen!

Some of the ingredients for Pad Thai: Garlic chives, bean sprouts, tamarind water and fish sauce mixture, rice noodles, shallots

Andy helping prepare the pad Thai

Making red curry

Sticky Rice

Kaffir lime tree on restaurant patio

Kaffir lime leaves, up close. The leaves are primarily used.

Coconut soup and recipe

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2 responses

  1. Leah

    I’ve always wanted to try to cooking classes there! Hey, kaffir lime trees are really easy to grow in a pot, and the leaves freeze very well. Same with lemongrass.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

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