If you haven’t tried Thai food before or you still don’t love it, then please make sure you are eating the real deal!
Yesterday I was honored to be invited by the Embassy of Thailand in Egypt and the Egyptian Chefs Association (ECA) to a Thai cooking demonstration at Dusit Thani – Lake View Hotel. The guest list comprised of journalists, bloggers, food enthusiasts, aspiring chefs from the ECA and the embassy and hotel staff.
First, the Ambassador gave us an inspiring introductory speech; after which random guests from the event were given the chance to stand at each of four cooking stations in order to cook along with the Chef. Now THAT was exciting! 😀 The stations were set up with mini gas hobs and a very impressive mise-en-place of ingredients.
To kickstart the demonstration we put together a simple Thai Beef Salad. You would be surprised how simple it is to make and how much it just relies on fresh ingredients and quality beef. The resulting salad was oozing with fresh tang and savory flavors from the beef.
Then we moved on to cooking a red chicken curry. The process is quite sophisticated and you really have to be careful to follow the steps carefully. One of the first things you do, is throw some very spicy curry base to dissolve in hot oil… Oh boy! That head went on fire! After lots of coughing and sneezing I gave the curry and little taste before serving.. Yeah.. It is HOT! It is also very delicious and the coconut milk really dampens out the heat. The four guests from the four cooking stations, served their curries on the tasting table for the Ambassador to try. I don’t mean to brag, but His Excellency said that mine was the best. Sorry guys… 🙂 You would normally have to eat such a rich and spicy curry with some steamed sticky rice on the side, but the edge of my dish was that you could almost eat it just by itself because it was so delicately balanced. I was also told that this curry we had prepared, really bore the authentic taste and that some more globalized restaurants would actually use less spice and more sweeteners to tone down the pyromania.
To finish off the demonstration, the Chef showed us how to prepare a very rare Thai dessert called Kanom Dok Jok. Even in Thailand, the Ambassador pointed out that it is hard to find this Lotus blossom-shaped sweet snack. It’s basically a very thin batter made with coconut milk and a mix of flours with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. In a big frying pot, awaits a very specifically shaped piece of equipment that is submerged in hot oil. This flower-shaped metal lattice is then taken out of the oil, dunked into the batter and then put back in the hot oil to continue frying the batter into an ultra-thin crisp. Simply cool!
Following the cooking demonstration, the guests were escorted to the restaurant’s dining area for an all-Thai lunch with a very sweet and interesting finish.
To be able to cook along the demonstration was an amazingly educational experience that provided a lot of knowledge and better understanding of Thai food principles. I am really glad and grateful that attended such a wonderful event with the very polite, friendly and inspirational Thai team.