Thai cooking

October 4, 2012

I am in the North of Thailand right now. To be pricise, Chiang Mai, the former capital city of the Lanna Thai kingdom. I will use my spare time after work to explore the local cuisine.

What you see above is my Thai cooking certificate which was given to me after the successful completion of a Thai cooking class in Hua Hin last year. I guess I forgot what I have learned; my inate nature is not the one of the cook. I am more of a gourmet; the one who enjoys the eating rather than the preparation of food.


Thai cooking class at Banyan Village, Hua Hin, Thailand – Part 2

September 4, 2011

The cooking students in action

We were given aprons and chef hats and after a short introduction to the facilities, we were about to start.

Because of the special circumstances of our cooking class, we had only two flames for the four of us. As a consequence we had to do the cooking in turns. Margit and Charlotte were the first to start, followed by Lucy and me.

The ingredients: nicely assembled

The wok in action

The secret ingredient: Hua Tiao Jiu

Some intermediary products: fried fish

The results – four dishes

Proud students I

Proud students II

Thai green curry

Hot Thai soup: Tom yam kung

Chicken with cashew nuts

Sweet sour fish

The students feasting on the results of their efforts

Khun Ae did a very good job – thank you

Conclusion: This was a great experience. It seemed so easy to cook delicious Thai food. However, we were spared the laborious work in the preparation of the sauces and pastes needed for the dishes. Pestle and mortar work is especially hard in the tropical heat. And here the dosage is critical.

We were under no illusion that it needs much more practice to become a good cook, but a start was made. Every long journey starts with a first small step. We had taken it.

Thanks Khun Ae and your colleagues at the Banyan Village for making this cooking class possible.

I hope my esteemed readers are enticed to follow my path.


Thai cooking class at Banyan Village, Hua Hin, Thailand – Part 1

September 3, 2011

The Banyan Village Resort and Golf in Hua Hin

Recently we stayed at the Banyan Village, a great place to stay by the way, in Hua Hin, Thailand for a very special occasion.

We used the opportunity to add to our cooking skills and booked a cooking class on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Normally these classes are only provided on Wednesdays, but the Banyan Village staff was very accommodating and went out of their way to get a cooking lesson organized just for the four of us.

A traditional “wet market” in Hua Hin

Before you can start cooking, you have to go to get the ingredients. In Asia, for that purpose you should to visit a traditional food market. This is exactly what we did.

Khun Ae, our guide, took as to a fresh market in Hua Hin so that we could learn about the ingredients for Thai cooking.

Let me take you around. I will introduce you to some interesting stuff.

Khun Ae explaining to us Thai raw materials for cooking

We explored the wares walking through narrow lanes

Beans, gourds, eggplants and other vegetables

Chilies, capsicums, peas, broccoli and carrots

Fresh ginger

Various curry pastes

Fresh tamarind and peppers

Dried shrimps

Fresh fish

Various kinds of clams

The beef butcher

Fruit- bananas and pineapple

Of course there was much to see at this market. It is impossible to describe the smells, the colours, the fumes and the fusion of sensations, sometimes overwhelming, overpowering, at times disturbing but always amazing. Thanks for coming along.

And now we can start cooking. Just give me a minute to get home to the resort. Stay tuned for episode 2 of Thai cooking at the Banyan Village.


Food and wine pairing

March 31, 2010

Beautiful scrimps in garlic and olive oil

In the hot weather of March and April big meals are not very attractive. Alas, Thailand has a lot of choice in seafood and lighter dishes are the go. Some rice with tofu and green vegetables and plenty of scrimps are the right stuff for a light meal. The question is which wine to drink with it?

A simple “Chinese set” meal

There is a lot of choice actually. As far as white wines are concerned one could choose a Chenin Blanc from Gran Monte, Thailand, for instance. Or one could have a Pinot Grigio from Italy or Germany. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are other possible choices.

If the dish is spicy, and the above one was, the ‘Grande Signature de Rapatel’ by Gérard Eyraud, France, a blend of Roussanne and Bourboulenc, is a great choice. The wine is oily and thick and full of apricot flavour. It balances the spicyness of the food in a wonderful way. I never thought that a Roussanne could be such a good complement to Asian food. My tip of the day: try it.

PS: You can get bottles of this wine in Bangkok from Lake House and Comte de Sibour.


Royal Vanilla – chain restaurant in Bangkok

April 25, 2009

vanilla1

vanilla12

Vanilla (xiang cao) is my favourite flavour in ice cream, my daughters reminded me. Therefore, I should not forget the little restaurant in Ekamai, not far from our neighbourhood in Thonglor, Bangkok. Well, I thought, but what can you expect from a chain restaurant with standardized dishes and tastes? Tearoom and dim sum, I thought, how does that go together? The Chinese characters in ‘pinyin’ read “huang jia xiang cao” which means “royal vanilla”.

vanilla0

The interior of Royal Vanilla looks like a Chinese tea house. The lacquered furniture is not my favourite style, I prefer a simple and more robust wood varnish. The room divider doors were copies but succeeded in creating a private atmosphere. In contrast the wooden door at the entrance seemed to be solid and real. We ordered an assortment of various dishes which, I admit from the outset, were delicious, very delicious.

vanilla7

Without some chilli I cannot live any longer.

vanilla5

Beautiful dim sims.

vanilla6

Spring rolls on a bed of dried seaweed.

vanilla9

Dried tofu (dofu).

vanilla2

The fish (Japanese gindara = silver cod fish) was spectacular.

vanilla3

Also the chicken was very delicious.

vanilla4

The spinach with ham was one of my favourites.

vanilla8

The soup was spicy and very tasteful.

vanilla10

The choice of drink, was a Tsingtao beer, solid traditional German style.

vanillaxx

Pouring a glass of beer.

We had a great time at Royal Vanilla in Bangkok. The garden around it is beautiful too. There is also a cake shop and a book store. If you are around somewhere in Ekamai, check it out. It’s worth it. And in case you are a tourist in Bangkok, I highly recommend to explore this neighbourhood (Ekamai and Thonhglor) with its many charming restaurants and eating places.

Address:

vanilla11


Thai cuisine: Chote Chitr in Bangkok

April 5, 2009

p4040031w

We were nine all together, one Thai, one Burmese, three Germans and three Australians plus myself. A famous Thai restaurant was our object of desire. We assembled at pier N 9 at the Bangkok Chao Phraya river, jumped into two taxis and drove to the area near the Grand Palace. Here, in a little side street called Phraeng Phuton you will find “Chote Chitre”, a family restaurant of the highest order.

p4040024w

The entrance to the living-room restaurant

p4040025w

The menu

p4040028w1

The gods were with us

The owner of the place is Mrs. Krachoichuli Kimangsawat, or Tiem as she is called. Ms Krachoichuli inherited her restaurant from her grandparents whose pictures are stuck to the wall. It’s about 100 years old. Khun Tiem learned her trade from her mother and grandmother. The restaurant is open from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM, six days a week.

p4040030w

Restaurant’s reviews on the wall

The family style cooking produces the most amazing results. All the dishes we ordered were just delectable, delicious, just great food. Awesome. Below you’ll find some of the dishes we had ordered.

p4040041w

p4040042w

p4040046w

p4040044w

p4040050w

Fish and green mango salad

p4040054w

The signature dish: Banana flowers in coconut sauce

We had also some pork but I failed to get a picture. There was no wine but Singha beer. I was told that one can bring wine from home. I might do this the next time (maybe a Spaetlese Riesling).

Table loaded with delicious and magnificent Thai food.
Before

p4040052w

and after

p4040056w

My recommendation: Chote Chitr is a must; I would award it all the stars I can think of. We had such a jolly good time and a great feast.

After dinner we wandered the streets around the restaurant. On some of the many food stalls my friend Bjoern bought some sweets for dessert. We passed by a Chinese temple and I heard singing and music from the door. I could not resist and checked it out. There was a fully fledged Chinese opera performance going on. Mostly older folks were sitting on plastic chairs. The actors were in colourful costumes and sang in a southern Chinese tongue, if I am not mistaken. How wonderful. I love Beijing opera. I was reminded of our times in China in the early nineties and the great time we had there. We watched for a while. What a wonderful end to a great evening.

Address:
Chote Chitr
146 Soi Phraeng Pu Thorn, Thanon Tanao Rd.,
Bangkok, Thailand
Monday to Saturday, 11 am to 11 pm
Telephone: +66-2-221-4082
(Not far from the Grand Palace and the Democracy Monument)


Lazy Saturday in Bangkok

April 4, 2009

p4020005w1

My blue water lily

This is the first weekend in a month that I have for the family. It’s already April, 25% of 2009 are over. We took it easy. Breakfast on the terrace, some exercise, some gardening (after last nights thunderstorm), and listening to many stories the girls had to share with me; that was the morning.

p4040012w

Last night’s thunderstorm played havoc with my pots

For lunch we went to a small restaurant in our neighbourhood. The Thai food was delicious. We enjoyed the food with Singha beer. It is so nice to wander the small streets in our part of Thonglor. We passed by the many little shops, the eating places on the street, our little mosque, taxis waiting for customers and the tuck tucks or motorcycle rickshaws.

p4040017w

Thonglor footpath

p4040019w

Four in a restaurant

p4040020w

A selection of delicious Thai salads

p4040023w

Eat, ate, eaten

I will introduce you to this restaurant at another time.

In the afternoon we watched “Sita sings the Blues”, a most wonderful little film.

Enjoy what is left of your Saturday!