My friends know me too well… for my birthday they gave me, and two other friends, a cooking course at Tawai Thai Cooking School during our time in Phuket, Thailand.
Jet lagged and suffering from the humidity we tentatively made our way to Tawai Cooking School, unsure what to expect. We were greeted by the pinnacle of authentic Thai cooking, not to mention overwhelming heat. Fresh local ingredients, traditional dishes and recipes passed down through the family who transformed the school into a restaurant at night. All new to Thai cooking, although very experienced in eating English Thai food, we wanted to prove ourselves to our eagerly awaiting friends. Who were hopeful we would arrive laden with food for dinner on our return.
On the volume of food, we were not disappointed: each of us making what can only be described as a four course banquet. Starting with Prawn Vermicelli, then Tom Kha Talay (Seafood), Prawn Pad Thai and finally a Basil Seafood stir fry. We fully intended on taking it all home, but sampling each dish was never going to be just one spoonful.
Round 1. Our Prawn Vermicelli pre and post cooking.
The recipes below are the original ones from Tawai Cooking School and Restaurant.
Prawn Pad Thai –the most iconic Thai dish
Strangely enough I had never actually had a Pad Thai before my trip to Thailand. This was my first one and wow, did it set the bar high! Nothing has quite lived up to this initial love affair, not even in Thailand, let alone England. This said, the school’s recipe is easy to follow and makes the most amazing dish. It has become my go-to recipe when attempting to impress friends and family with my new skills. It truly does brings together the flavours of Thailand in one dish.
Ingredients per 1 serving:
100 g of Raw Prawns
100 g thin Rice Noodles
1 tbsp Tamarind
1 tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 tbsp Sugar
1tsp Seasoning Powder
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
100 g Bean Sprouts
4 (chopped) Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Ground Peanuts
1 tbsp Ground Dried Shrimp
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Water
Optional: extra vegetables if desired eg. Shredded cabbage, peppers, carrot, mushroom.
To serve: Crushed peanuts, fresh lime and raw bean sprouts.
First place the oil in the wok and heat up.
Once the oil is hot add the egg and whisk until practically cooked before adding the prawns.
When the prawns are cooked tilt the wok and add the noodles. Move the egg and prawns to the top of the wok off the heat, with the noodles on the heat at the bottom. Stir fry the noodles continually adding the water to keep them soft.
Once the noodles are cooked add the tamarind, sweet chilli sauce, sugar, seasoning powder, oyster sauce, soy sauce and mix everything together well.
Finally, add the bean sprouts (plus any additional veg), garlic, ground peanut and ground shrimp. Mix continuously until the bean sprouts are cooked and the dish is well combined.
Serve piping hot garnished with sliced lime, chopped peanuts and raw bean sprouts.
Tom Kha Goong (Prawn) or Tom Kha Talay (Seafood)
Seafood in a spicy coconut milk and lemongrass soup.
Ingredients per 1 serving:
200 g Fresh Seafood Mix (eg. Fish, prawns, squid mussels and scallops)
2 cups Coconut milk
100g Mushroom (sliced)
10g Galanga (use ginger if not available)
10g Lemon Grass (sliced)
5 Kaffir Lime Leaves
20g Diced Onions
1 tsp Seasoning powder
2 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 ½ tbsp Lime Juice
1-2 Fresh Chillies (depending on how spicy you want the soup).
To Garnish: Spring Onion and Coriander (optional: fresh chilli)
Bring the coconut milk to the boil in a pan.
Add the mushroom, galangal, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves and onion. Stir slowly and cook until you can smell a strong aroma. I smells incredible… you will know what I mean when you smell it.
Next, add the seafood, seasoning powder, fish sauce, chillies and sugar. Stir occasionally until the seafood is cooked.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice.
Serve hot and garnish with sliced spring onion, coriander and fresh chillies if desired.
Our final course:
A huge thank you to my gorgeous friends for gifting me with this experience; it was a highlight of the trip and even more special that I was able to share it with Harriet and Natalie, who made sure the afternoon was not short of comedy and a healthy measurement of *improvisation* when it came to dealing with measurements.