Actually if given a choice, I would want to enrol in cooking classes everytime I travel to a new country. But time and travel companions sometimes do not allow so when I knew we were going to a cooking school in Krabi for our 3d2n trip compliments from Dove, I was pretty excited!
Ya’s Krabi Thai Cookery was opened in 2000 by Ya (Cholaya “Ya” Laothong). She has been cooking as a professional chef since 1983. With her love of cooking, jovial personality, and attentive nature, Ya’s cookery has since flourished into an establishment that has taught students from around the world (including the famous Chef Gordon Ramsey) the secrets of traditional Thai Cuisine. There are a few types of programs under the school for travelers to take part in, starting from 1000 Thai Baht, inclusive of transportation from Ao Nang or Krabi Town.
What we did was quite similar to Program B, but it could have been a mix-match of items as Ya taught us a Thai coconut and banana dessert which was not listed. Well, anyway, check out which program would interest you here.
The school is big and spacious. The space can be quite ‘open’ so just be aware of notorious flies on your dishes. Behind are some potteries and plants of herbs mostly used in Thai cuisine.
Green and Red curry paste made from scratch.
All the ingredients are measure out in plates and trays for all the dishes, so all you need to do is cut, slice, chop, dice them up. Mise en place is just as important, if not more when it comes to cooking. So always prepare your ingredients before you start the stove.
Ya has a few helpers who have been helping her for more than 10 years so they really know to cut things REALLY fast. Since we were in a group of 10, we were all given things to cut for all the dishes that we are going to cook.
Ya also gave us some tip to cut up certain ingredients to release more aroma, like lemongrass, onion and kaffir lime peel. Use a wooden tool to ‘bang’ hit on it, or rather flatten it before cuting into smaller pieces before puting them into the food processor or pestle and mortar to make it into a paste.
Som Tum, Thai Mango salad, another one of my fav. The balance in Thai cuisine is really spot on, although sometimes I can find it a tad sweet. With the flavours of spicy, sweet, sour and salty, it brings a dish perfect harmony.
Stir Fry Morning glory, they call it, but it’s kangkung. To get it to crispy yet retaining the juice, use a VERY HOT WOK, like smoking hot. In another pot, add in all the veg, beans and sauces. Once the wok is smoking ho, pour everything into it and just in seconds, the dish is ready.
I even got to make pad thai on the wok! I never manage to get pad thai right at home as it can be too wet sometimes. Controlling the flame is pretty important when on the wok station. I can never pull a decent face, can I ?Som tum, green curry, coconut milk chicken, pad thai, stir fried morning glory and minced chicken with holy basil are just SOME of the dishes we made. There were also panaeng curry, red curry, yellow curry, tom yum and a coconut dessert. You can say, we were fed well during this trip. Very well.
Overall it was a rather fun experience with the rest of the girls. I think I’m going to put it on my ‘to-do’ list whenever I travel, try to learn how the locals cook.
*visited in June 2014
Krabi Cookery School
269 Moo 2, Ao Nang, Muang, Krabi 81000 Thailand
Phone: (66) 075.662.155
Mobile: (66) 081.979.0677