February 28, 2012

A Market + Wok + A GREAT Teacher = Delicious Thai Food

Lady Hiva signed us up for a Thai cooking class. It is her goal to take a cooking class in every country we visit.  After perusing several cooking classes online, we decided on Thai Homecooking with Angsana. One of the reasons we decided Angsana was best is because it is a private lesson for just the two of us and it truly is HOME cooking. The class is taught in a kitchen at the back of her home in Bangkok.
The Kitchen Classroom
We made the arrangements early and scoured her website online to decide which dishes to make. We made Cashew Chicken, Green Thai Curry, and Phat Thai.

Angsana met us at a train station and we rode with her to the ‘wet market’. The wet market is similar to the wet markets in Manila. Stall after stall of people sell their wares of freshly butchered meats, fruits and vegetables. (The only difference is that the festering meat smell is overpowering in Manila’s and not so bad at the one we went with Angsana) These markets are good for locals because they can sell their products AND people with small homes that typically do not have fridges or stoves can come buy the food they need for the day. I followed and took photos as Angsana and Lady Hiva picked through vegetables and ingredients for our dishes. Angsana was patient and informative as we asked several questions.

I wandered off a few times to see what I could find. I can see why some people like the fact that their meat comes in a nice sealed Styrofoam package on the meat aisle of the market. Places like this you cannot deny where the meat comes from. You see all stages of the chicken, from egg, to alive,  to chopped up bits. Or I saw the head of a pig displayed proudly on ice and just above it all the “entrails” as Lady called them, were sorted out on the table.

Chopping the Chicken

I was a bit disturbed when I saw the crates of turtles and tubs of eels though. Neither of them were things I wanted to know people ate. Luckily Angsana told us that they DO NOT eat them, in Thai culture it is believed to give long life if you release a turtle or baby eel in the canal. Phew…close call. (As I walked away I wondered if the chicken and pig are disappointed they did not symbolize anything special)

Angsana taught us how to make all three dishes—step by step. We started with making paste for the green curry.  Limes, chilies, lemon grass, garlic, galangal (cousin to garlic)—the aroma was amazing.  We diced the ingredients and grounded the oils out with a mortar and pestle.  As we crushed each ingredients the kitchen was filled with delectable fragrances and as we added the next ingredient the fragrance shifted and became more tantalizing; When it finally resembled a paste, we sautéed the paste on the wok with coconut milk and other ingredients until we had our very own authentic Thai Green Curry. 

The other dishes were also done on the wok so the actually cooking time was quick.  If you blinked, you burned your vegetables so it was a bit intense.  Either way, it was well worth it because the food was delicious and we had a great time!  As soon as the Phat Thai was done, we sat down to eat and chowed down until we couldn’t breathe.    Both Lady Hiva and I loved Angsana’s gentle demeanor, she was so welcoming and warm. Lady Hiva was so happy to get some of her recipes at the end of the lesson—as they are recipes Angsana’s mother used to use as well. Later that night I came into the hotel room and found Lady Hiva studying the recipes trying to decide when the next time we would make them!

So if you are in Bangkok and want to learn how to cook that delicious Thai food in your home, Angsana is a wonderful choice!


  1. Thanks for a true report.
    I am also a pupil of Angsana (and her mother). My 60th birhday present was a four-days long cooking course almost 4 years ago.
    (On her Facebook-page You can find a picture of me.(Big, bearded swede))

  2. when are you going to have a party to show off your new skills? I'll gladly eat!