09 December 2012

Thai cooking class

categories: , ,
While we were on Koh Samui, I went to a cooking class one afternoon. It was at Chaweng beach, the beach next on from where we were at Lamai beach. Our Lonely Planet recommended the Samui Institute of Thai Culinery Arts (SITCA) and I definitely agree with them. I've never done any other cooking classes to compare it with, but I loved this one. I was a little worried about going alone, but everyone was so friendly and we were so busy that I didn't get a chance to feel awkward.

SITCA has two classes a day, Monday to Saturday, with different food being cooked at each class. I went to the Tuesday morning class where we made the following:

  • Homemade Green Curry Paste
  • Green Curry with Chicken and Potatoes
  • Spicy Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp
  • Fried Vegetables and Tofu in Sweet & Sour Sauce
You get a recipe book and a CD with photos of all the steps to take home.

They replaced the meat with tofu for me. Some of the preparation is done for you, so you don't have to spend hours chopping vegetables. There's enough that you do yourself to have fun, but not get bored. You don't have to know much about cooking because the classes are small and the instructor can give you extra attention if you need it. You prepare all the ingredients for the separate dishes first and then you cook it later. After the class everything is taken upstairs to the dining room and you can invite someone to join you to eat. You can also get a takeaway of anything you don't finish. 

Roselle flower tea. Tip: It works really well to soothe a burning mouth.
First we prepared the Fried Vegetables and Tofu in Sweet & Sour Sauce. The tofu block is already fried. I only tried to make this once at home so far. There is a specific chili sauce used for this recipe that I don't have and I think it influences the taste very much. 

This is everything for this dish all chopped up and the sauce prepared. It's all numbered so you don't accidentally end up with the wrong food later.

Next we started on the Spicy Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp. I saw glass noodles for the first time in Thailand and they look so cool. I learnt at the class that they are made from mung beans and have a lot of protein. I haven't been able to find them in South Africa yet.

Last was the green curry. We started with the vegetables.

We talked about all the ingredients in the recipes and what we could substitute if we couldn't find it in our own countries. There's two different types of eggplant in this recipe and we don't have either of them in South Africa, but the regular eggplant we do get can also be used. Something I really wish we could get is the Thai basil we used in this recipe. It tastes completely different from regular basil. I haven't even seen it dried here.

After chopping the vegetables, we had to make the curry paste. There's shrimp paste in the original recipe, but I just left that out.

This was the first time I used a pestle and mortar. It was fun, but I usually just use the blender at home. We ended up getting our own pestle and mortar just to make green papaya salad.

When everything was done, we went into the cooking room to cook our food. Thai cooking is very fast, but somehow the Thai food we make at home only tastes as good as over there if we eat it the next day.

The green curry isn't very pretty, but it was one of my favourite dishes of the whole trip. I learnt that many people use food colouring in their green curries, because it is actually brown. We used coriander here to add some colour.

The sweet and sour vegetables and tofu. There was so much food, we could only eat half.

After eating we went to have a drink at a hotel on Chaweng beach. It's beautiful, but a lot busier than Lamai beach.

I loved this class and I would want to do another one if I get the chance. The most important thing I learned is that I should soak the dried ingredients overnight. I can only get some of the Thai ingredients dried and I used to put them straight into my food. It has made a big difference in my Thai cooking.


  1. this looks delish! what a lovely post, Natasha! Thanks for sharing your Thailand experience with us. I must say you are really making me want to travel there:-)

  2. What a fantastic cooking class! I'm going to bookmark this, I think my partner's father is more interested in this!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you! (Don't worry if your comment doesn't show up right away, it has to be approved by me before going onto the site to avoid spam messages)