One of my more inspired Christmas presents to Joel last year was a Thai food cooking class. We both adore Thai food, and we both like to cook. But despite numerable attempts to make pad Thai at home, it’s never quite right.
And since our class wasn’t until last week, it’s almost like it’s still Christmas! (Not really.) ANYway, it was at the West Seattle PCC with Prawnee Halvorson, who keeps a blog about Thai cooking, called Prawnee’s Thai Kitchen.
Prawnee is originally from Thailand, and had lots of insights to share, and she was quite funny. She taught us three different recipes, saving the pad Thai for last in order to keep our attention, because as she said, “you’re all just here for the pad Thai sauce recipe.”
Her cooking style was very intuitive – she emphasized using vegetables that were in season, and gave some tips for using up produce you already have (for example, she shredded an entire bunch of kale for the first course, but only ended up using about 2/3 of it; she used the rest in the pad Thai so it wouldn’t go to waste.)
First up was a winter vegetable soup. Joel loved it, mostly because it included five different types of mushrooms that were in it; I ate it but was less enamored, mostly because of the five different types of mushrooms (I’m not a fan!)
Then, the main course: massaman curry with chicken, potatoes, and onions. Prawnee had cooked the chicken, potatoes, and onions before class started. She demonstrated making the sauce from scratch, and then mixed it all together.
Lastly, she demonstrated pad Thai, then coached a couple of audience volunteers through making it. Instead of bean sprouts, she added a bunch of shredded kale and purple cabbage.
I’m not posting the recipes as they aren’t mine to share, but here’s a pad Thai recipe from Prawnee’s blog.
Here were my key takeaways:
- Apparently, cooking Thai curry in the crock pot is a surefire way to ruin it. (I’ve totally done this before – I always figured that it cooks longer, so the flavors can meld! Guess that’s not the case.)
- Bulking up the pad Thai with vegetables is a great way to make it a bit healthier, cut down on the carbs, and eat more greens! Let’s be honest, vegetables that have been stir fried in oil and drenched in delicious pad Thai sauce are way tastier than plain, steamed greens.
- Cooking Thai food at home is not unlike cooking any other food – sometimes it turns out better than others, and it never tastes quite like what you’d get from a restaurant. I’m not a professional chef, and I am probably a bit more stingy with fat and salt, so of course it tastes different.