Friday, December 4, 2009

cooking with Bon

Every meal begins with marketing and we started off the day with a trip to Bon's favourite stalls.

When I asked my friend Bon if she could suggest a place to take a Thai cooking class, she jumped right in and generously offered to teach me a few basic dishes. Bon's culinary skills are legendary in my circle of friends. You just have to mention her name and people start salivating. Their faces get dreamy and they say "Bon's an amazing cook you know". The glazed look in their eyes tells you that they have left your presence and are now mentally savoring every taste and smell of the last meal that they had at Bon's table. I knew I was a lucky girl to get an offer to watch her whip around the kitchen.

She asked me what I would like to make and threw in a couple of extras. We spent last Saturday afternoon whipping up Tom Kha Gai (lemongrass flavoured coconut soup with chicken), Pad Thai (fried noodle), Kaeng Keow Wan Gai (green curry with chicken), Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad) and Pork with Oyster Sauce.

The veg selection came first and Bon heaped her basket full of fresh greens, buttery mushrooms, herbs and peppers.

I don't speak Thai but even I could understand that Bon was selecting the tender chicken thighs for her curry.

I need to send this whole stall back home. It's spice heaven. We stopped to get some grated coconut. She threw a few chunks into her magic machine and out shot a fresh and fragrant pile of coconut snow. Just add hot water, squeeze through cheesecloth ét voila, coconut milk.

The spice lady dug into huge spice paste mounds and concocted curries for each dish.

Soup flavourings come already bundled...a few stalks of lemon grass, several kaffir lime leaves and a woody slice of galangal. Tom Kha Gai and Tom Yam use these staples ingredients as a base.

Bon uses these mini green eggplant-y things in her green curry. She says that zucchini is a perfect substitute.

Pounding up the chili and garlic for the Som Tam

Spicy SomTam is quick to make and is sold on almost every street corner. The Thai staple is fantastic with BBQ chicken.

The photos don't do the food justice Big Shamu. You would have approved of the flavour though.


willow said...

Very impressive, MLou! Beautiful food. My mouth is watering!! YUM-eee!

Margaret said...

Hope you are taking good notes so that you can offer Thai cooking classes when you get back.


Susan said...

Wow !! coconut snow ! photographs beautiful, food looks fantastic and we "so" approve of les hot pink xo s

Big Shamu said...

The photos are fine, taking right back to my time in Bangkok. You are a very lucky woman. There are so many things that imprinted on me while I was there, things you can't really explain but can only the smells. The smell of a the street carts, the spice shops, or the fragrant abundant flowers.
Thank you for the little walk down memory lane.