Our final day in Bangkok we had a Thai cooking course scheduled with Baipai Cooking School. We met our host Jit and had the mandatory group introductions, most of whom were just looking to improve their Thai cooking at home, with the exception being a guy from Switzerland doing a six week course who was starting a Thai restaurant back home. The course started with a wonder through the herb garden with a brief introduction to how we would be using them in our cooking today. We then had a go at creating coconut cream and milk from fresh coconuts with the use of of the “Rabbit” coconut grater (local name – maybe because it grates so fast?) which is a stool as well as kitchen implement; definitely wouldn’t fit in the second draw down. We then got on to the cooking class proper and where really impressed with how well organised everything was. As we prepared all the vegetables and meats while watching Chief Noi cooking the dish at her workstation (even had mirrors above the stove so we could see down into her pots and pans), our work station was being prepared for cooking and when we transitioned over to our work station for cooking all the ingredients for the next meal were set up. Everything ran really smoothly and there was plenty of assistance on hand to help you tell if your prawns were cooked enough to avoid food poisoning.
We made the following dishes –
– Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts (Gai pad med-ma-muang)
– Spicy grilled beef salad (Yum nuea yang)
– Stir-fried rice noodle thai style (Pad thai)
– Water chestnut in coconut milk (Tab tim grobb)
Best part was obviously eating the food. All came out pretty well, although I made the mistake of pouring all my salad dressing on my beef salad as opposed to just coating everything so that the bottom part of the salad definitely lived up to the ‘spicy’ part of the name. Farah went for the more decorative approach to plating the dishes (“added value”, according to Chief Noi) while I went for the more functional approach of having everything well mixed – it being easier to plate that way is purely coincidence.
After the course, we spent the afternoon wondering around Bangkok and went through the crime and punishment museum, part of which was set within an old prison. Very eerie place, you certainly wouldn’t want to spend the night (or several years) there. The different punishments shown seemed fairly. . .unpleasant. . .would highly recommend not being a criminal in 1700-1950 Thailand. They also had a display showing the history of the death penalty within Thailand, changed in 2003 from firing squad to lethal injection, with more graphic photos than I would have expected. Lovely. We retreated to the relative pleasantry of one of the local inner city parks and also checked out a couple more wats before heading back to Rambuttri for a final night of food and drinks before our flight out of Thailand.