THAI COOKING CLASS
Thai cuisine by focusing on classic Thai recipes and traditional cooking methods
Many so-called ‘classic’ Thai dishes have their origins in the Central part of Thailand. The culinary skills of well-respected chefs from the royal family play a just as important role here as all those simple and no less fascinating preparation methods of the “common people”. Amongst so many other details it is especially this unique blend of cooking techniques that made Thai cuisine so interesting.
But of course there are also countless other influences that found their way into classic Thai cuisine back in the early days already. Influences from both Northern and Southern Thailand are just as important here as dishes with a Laotian or North-Eastern Thai (Isaan) background. Centuries ago, the Kingdom of Siam also had close trade relations with other cultures. This is how “foreign” ingredients and methods of preparation have also found their place in classic Thai cuisine. From Persia to India, from Indonesian to Burmese and Chinese influences, a huge variety can be found here.
At my cooking classes it is my aim to pass on some of those roots of Thai cuisine by focusing on classic Thai recipes and traditional cooking methods in order to attain well-balanced Thai dishes that at the same time have a very exciting touch to them
As a girl from the South and as a native “islander” from Koh Samui in particular, it became really important to me to pass on our local cuisine and its “secrets”.
Southern Thai cuisine is strongly influenced by our connection to the sea: Fish, seafood, and shrimp pastes are an essential part of our cuisine. But also other ingredients, such as the widespread use of turmeric, are also showing how our local cuisine is connected to influences from Malaysia, Indonesia and even India.
At my cooking classes I am trying to also focus on cooking local-style dishes from which some are only known on Koh Samui. These are often simple, but no less fascinating recipes that can only be found at the homes of local island people. Just like I got to know them when I was a kid…
The term “umami” has become quite well-known and popular in recent years. – It describes this rounded and “rich” taste that comes well-balanced to all our senses of flavour. This sort of “taste” was also well known to Thai cooks a long time ago already. They mainly used ingredients such as animal fats, fish sauce, shrimp paste or other animal-based components to give their dishes a foundation that is full of flavour. With every single Thai dish we cook, it is fascinating to observe how this flavourful basement unfolds again and again.
Myself, I have experimented a lot by following these traditional instructions and now I am convinced that this “old” traditional way of cooking is a very valuable and actually indispensable way of a deeper understanding of Thai cuisine. Along with my own experiences, of course it has become important to me, to pass on this classic way of cooking in my cooking classes.
Since the basics just described are an integral part of our kitchen, it is not possible to replace these basic ingredients with vegan or vegetarian substitutes in my cooking class. This would simply distort the original taste of our dishes way too much. Focusing on this traditional way of cooking it is very important to me to remain true to our cultural heritage, so I ask for your understanding in this regard.
This culinary journey across the landscapes of classic Thai cuisine has become a true passion for me – a constant search for the right balance by using natural and local ingredients. With every single dish I am continuing this journey.
In order to fully experience the ingredients and their preparation, an individual setup in a pleasant atmosphere is crucial. Therefore, our private full-day cooking class is designed for a maximum of 2 participants only. We always take a sufficient amount of time for each of the 3 dishes that we prepare per one day of cooking. All ingredients are being prepared from scratch, preparation methods and backgrounds are being discussed – so each participant has the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of our Thai cuisine and its preparation methods.
A very important part of the cooking class – as well as for Thai cooking in general – is a visit to the local fresh market. This is where the life of the villagers takes place, this is where people meet, this is where they trade, gossip and exchange the latest village stories. A nice opportunity to get an insight into the everyday life of Thai people
A major part of the ingredients that can be found at the market are fresh. The products vary greatly – always depending on the region of Thailand and season of the year. The choice of ingredients in Northern or North-Eastern Thailand for example can be completely different from what can be found here on Koh Samui. This of course has a strong influence on the local cooking habits and on local cuisine.
In Thailand people have never had a very rigid concept of cooking. My dad’s answer to the question, what he was going to cook today is usually: “Let’s see what I can find at the market today”.
In traditional Thai cuisine – the way the locals used to cook decades ago – only natural ingredients were available. People had a deep understanding of the ingredients they were using and knew exactly how to get the most out of all those items that nature was offering to them.
Having this in mind, but also because for myself the use of fresh and healthy ingredients is very important, I try to show in my cooking classes how to get a wide range of intense and rich flavours by using natural ingredients.
Until just a few decades ago, Thai people used to cook in a very traditional and old-style way. Especially in rural areas these old traditions have survived to this day. Back in the old days the preparation of ingredients as well as cooking itself took place outdoors, just around their house. A charcoal stove was used for cooking and many dishes, but also simple things like plain rice for example, have usually been cooked in a clay pot.
Eating, enjoying food is a social event in Thailand. All those countless social gatherings that were including loads and loads of food, also took place outside or often under the houses that were built on stilts. People simply sat down on the floor where also the meals were prepared.
Thai people often have large meals with many different kinds of dishes. All of which are being placeed in the middle of one dedicated spot and local people would just have a seat around all those dishes. That way everyone can reach a little portion of each dish and in the end everyone is happy about having enjoyed a very interesting and satisfying meal.
Private cooking classes: max. 2 participants per day only
Cooking classes in English language:
from 9.30 a.m. to approx. 4.30 p.m.