Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thai Cooking: An Amazing Experience

One of my Christmas presents from my parents was a cooking class at Ngam in the East Village. My dad couldn't have found a better class. I wasn't sure how hard Thai cooking could be, but I was pleasantly surprised that I could easily recreate the 3 dishes on my own at home. The only difficult part might be finding the ingredients, but in NYC you can basically find anything. Also, the chef/owner, Hong Thaimee, of the restaurant/teacher said that if we had any difficulty finding ingredients to contact her and she'd just order extra for us to pick up.

Julia Child quote on the wall

the restaurant is open and operating while you take your class

I love that the classes are capped at 10 people because then each person gets to make his or her own 3 course meal and it's much more hands on. I was one of 3 people in my class, so it was great, but they said the classes are usually full.

We started off with an intro to Thai food and different ingredients and methods that are popular. Then we made the curry paste by hand with a stone mortar and pestle. Definitely a workout for the day. This was the finished product.
green curry paste

ingredients for green curry paste and some for green papaya salad
Next we made the green papaya salad, which was amazing. It was a tad bit spicy (no one else thought it was, but I can't handle the heat. I love it though!), but so good and so simple to make.
green papaya salad
Next we made the curry dish, which had chicken, eggplant, zucchini, and insert other veggies. I couldn't get over how easy this was, too! However, making the curry paste, as I said before, is a bit labor intensive. It's kind of therapeutic though. I've never had green curry before and it's definitely one of the best things I've ever tasted.
For all of you narrow minded people out there, curries don't smell. They don't even have the yellow curry powder in them that you think of when you hear "curry." There are so many different types of curries, but they're just a blend of herbs, spices, vegetables, coconut milk and then some sautéed veggies/choice of meat are just added into them. They're so fun because you can play around with ingredients and add whatever you want! Red curry gets its color from red chili peppers and green is from the green pepper. 
green curry with veggies
brown rice with the green curry
Finally we made pad thai! I opted for tofu pad thai, but the other two people made chicken pad thai. Once you put the oil in the wok the cooking process is all of a minute and a half. It's amazing! If you've never had pad thai you are definitely missing out.
tofu pad thair
close up shot
me, the chef, and one of the other girls in the class cooking up pad thai

a huge portion size

For $80 you can't beat a 2 hour class where you learn an immense amount of material, get to have a hands on experience, and make your own 3 course meal. You also get a complimentary cocktail to enjoy with your creations!

I highly, highly urge anyone and everyone to take this class. If you're not a cooking enthusiast then just go to Ngam and eat there because the food is fabulous.


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