I love Thai food so I was incredibly excited to take a vegetarian cooking class on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand.
This is everything that I learned and what you may expect from taking a Thai cooking class in Thailand. If you’re interested in Southeast Asian vegetarian cooking, then I also have articles on classes in Cambodia and Vietnam.
I went to the Napalai Thai Cuisine School in Klong Prao, run by the enigmatic Bunny (this is not a sponsored post).
I chose the course as it didn’t include a trip to the market as I’m more interested in the cooking, plus it had good reviews on Tripadvisor.
You also got to choose your own vegetarian menu which meant that I could pick my absolute favourite Thai dishes.
We cooked four dishes in 3 hours, which were:
- Hot and sour soup
- Tofu Pad Thai noodles
- Tofu red curry
- Sticky rice and mango
The great thing was that it was off-season so I had the school to myself! The first thing and probably my favourite thing that I made was the hot and sour soup with tofu.
I love hot food so we put six chillies in and boy, did that spice get in the air when we were cooking! To get that hot and sour taste, you use chillies, chilli paste and lime as well as lemongrass, galangal (a type of ginger) and kaffir lime skin.
After the delicious hot and sour soup, I made the classic Thai dish – pad Thai noodles. The key to frying the noodles is to make an ‘X’ shape in the pan to fry the tofu, eggs and noodles together effectively.
The taste in pad Thai comes from tamarind, fish or soy sauce, garlic, sugar, oyster sauce, chilli powder and lime. Vegetarians can substitute oyster sauce for mushroom sauce. Serve with a liberal handful of peanuts!
Next up was the red curry and the chillies in that made the air very spicy! This dish requires the most graft, as you finely dice the chillies, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, coriander root, kaffir lime, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. The colour comes from turmeric.
You grind all the ingredients up with a pestle and mortar then cook them in a pan with coconut milk and tofu. It’s apparently better to self-grind than to put the ingredients in a mixer and make sure to add the paste according to taste. Serve with rice and enjoy the spice!
To make mango sticky rice, preparation is key and you have to soak it overnight and then steam the sticky rice for 30 minutes in advance. Check the sourness of your mango to see how you need to balance the sweetness when you cut it up.
Cook the sticky rice in the coconut milk with sugar until it dissolves. Check if the sugar has dissolved by putting the spoon on the bottom of the pan and then serve with dried mung beans.
I learnt so much from this class, and I left feeling confident that I could recreate them all once I’m back it the UK, being given a cookbook also helps! I also loved the fact that it was so hands-on and that I could eat all the food as I went along instead of at the end.
I stayed at Little Eden Bungalows on Lonely Beach in Koh Chang which had hammocks hanging in every hut! Click the Tripadvisor link below to check reviews and find good deals for hotels in Koh Chang:
If you live in the UK, and you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, then I highly recommend getting a veg box, like this one from Abel & Cole:
Have you done a Thai cooking class? If so, whereabouts did you do it and what did you make? Let me know in the comments below!
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