Home   Blog   Classes   Trips   More   back

Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category

Kasma’s 30-year Anniversary Message

Kasma Loha-unchit, Monday, May 25th, 2015

This June marks the end of 30 years that I have taught Thai cooking classes in my kitchen. Up until six months ago, I was entertaining thoughts about throwing a big anniversary celebration (much like the 20th anniversary party many of you attended), but thoughts of the stresses and strains of planning, preparing for and cleaning up after such a big bash have more than changed my mind. I would like to, however, send a big thank you to all of you who have enthusiastically taken my classes over the past three decades for all the support and the wonderful times shared cooking delicious meals in my kitchen.

In about a week, I will be turning 65 and joining the ranks of Medicare. Over the past few months, I have been seriously mulling over when I would retire, especially when I see that many of my friends (and many of you) have retired and are enjoying the newfound time to pursue myriad interests awaiting them. As much as I enjoy teaching and taking people traveling around Thailand, and I know I will miss doing these things and all of you when I retire, the prospect of not having to run around to shop for classes, to push myself in the tedious and never-ending tasks of cleaning up before and after classes, and to deal with problematic students and trip members (and there have been more than a few each year) who drain me both physically and emotionally, makes retirement more and more appealing every day.

At this point, I am thinking that I will retire possibly within the next five years. So, those of you who have friends or co-workers interested in taking my cooking classes should let them know very soon. I will probably retire from beginning classes in two to three years. For those of you who wish to take all my advanced classes, I will try to cycle you through most of them before I retire. It’s possible I may add one last series (Advanced J) before I retire to give you some of my mother’s treasured recipes so that they are forever preserved for posterity. There’s no need to bury any secrets.

As for the Thailand travel trips, I will probably retire from doing them in five years or possibly sooner if Sun, my trusted helper and driver of my van, decides to quit to pursue other interests and there is a strong possibility that this can happen any time. I do not wish to train anyone new to replace him. So, if you have ever entertained thoughts of joining one of my off-the-beaten-path trips in which you will see, taste and experience things you will never have the chance to do traveling on your own, do start planning now as I will not always be around.

All said, I am actually sad to be writing this message, but I would like you to know the approximate time frame so that you can take advantage of what’s left of what I have to offer over the next few years. There’s no one I can train to take my place as what I do I learned over a lifetime of experience starting when I was five years old in my mother’s kitchen.

Thank you again to all of you for all the good times nourishing one another and sharing a sliver of your lives in my home.

Kasma


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, May 2015

Favorite Thai Soups

Michael Babcock, Friday, August 1st, 2014

Over the years I’ve come to have some favorite Thai soups that might not even be known to people who haven’t traveled in Thailand or taken Kasma’s Thai cooking classes. This blog looks at 4 of my favorites, soups I prefer to the better known duo of soups seen in pretty much every Thai restaurant, at least here in the U.S..

Those two soups are, of course, Hot-and-Sour Prawn SoupTom Yum Goong – and some iteration of Tom Ka – a coconut-based soup with galanga, such as Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Gai) – perhaps the most common version in America – or Seafood Coconut Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Talay) – perhaps the most common in Thailand.

Don’t get me wrong: they are delicious soups. It’s just that there are others that deserve to be just as well known. And in Thailand there are numerous versions of tom yum (hot and sour) soups; such as one that includes a whole, fried fish.

So in no particular order, here are four other Thai soups to enjoy.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Southern Thai Oxtail Soup (Soop Hahng Wua)

Oxtail Soup

Southern Thai Oxtail Soup

Hmm. Did I say in no particular order? Actually, I think this might be my favorite, especially for a winter’s day. It’s a fairly spicy dish, as Kasma teaches it in the Evening Series Advanced Set B-3 and in the Weeklong Advanced Class Set 2A, day 1. It’s quite easy to make: cook the oxtails with salt until tender; toss in the potatoes, tomatoes, onion and other ingredients and cook until nearly done;  season to taste with fish sauce or light soy; finish the cooking and add some white pepper, a bit of lime juice and palm sugar as needed. It’s very tasty and, as a bone broth, it’s also very nourishing. (See the article Broth is Beautiful by Sally Fallon Morell.) This is one I love to make in the winter; it’s pretty darn good in the summer as well. In Thailand you’ll see it at some of the truck stops in the south.

Southern-style Turmeric Chicken Soup (Tom Kamin Gai Bahn)

Turmeric Chicken Soup

Southern Turmeric Chicken Soup

I don’t believe I’ve ever come across this soup in the United States, save in Kasma’s cooking classes: she teaches it in the Evening Series Advanced Set F-2 and in the Weeklong Advanced Class Set 2C, day 5. I’ve had it at a couple of places in Thailand down south. Like the Oxtail Soup above, and many Thai soups, it’s a soup with the ingredients surrounded by a mostly clear broth. Again, you get a healthy bone broth, this time flavored with lemon grass, galanga, garlic, shallots and, as you might guess from the name, fresh turmeric; the turmeric gives it the lovely golden color. Kasma makes it with 10 to 15 crushed Thai chillies to give it a bit of heat. Again, add a bit of lime juice , finish off with fish sauce and sugar (both to taste) and you’ve got a delicious soup that lights up your taste buds. Kasma makes her version using whole quail: they make a really good broth.

Hot Galanga Beef Soup with Holy Basil (Neau Tom Ka)

Galanga Beef Soup

Galanga Beef Soup

When I’ve had this soup in Thailand, it’s slightly different than the version pictured here and which Kasma teaches in the Evening Series Advanced Set F-3 and in the Weeklong Advanced Class Set 2C, day 3. In Thailand the beef is stewed, so quite well-cooked. In Kasma’s version, beef slices (sirloin or skirt steak) are added at the end by bringing the soup to a rolling boil, adding the beef and then turning it off so that the beef is very lightly cooked. I have to say, I prefer her soup; we get different and better beef here in the U.S. This is a soup that can be incendiary – it has both dried red chillies and fresh Thai chillies. There’s also a sour component from tamarind juice and a quite noticeable flavor from the holy basil leaves. Just a delicious, fiery-hot soup.

Golden Pumpkin Coconut Soup (Kaeng Liang Kati Fak Tong)

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

I debated including this soup because it is really Kasma’s creation; I’ve never seen it anywhere else than in our own kitchen. This is a very rich soup: the base is 4 cups of coconut milk. One of the keys to the soup is making sure you have a very ripe squash/pumpkin; we prefer to use a ripe kabocha squash. Further flavor comes from ground shrimp, kapi shrimp paste and chopped jalapeño or Fresno peppers. At the end, fresh lemon basil is added for an added dimension. This is a very hearty soup: a little bit is quite satisfying. Kasma teaches this dish in the Evening Series Advanced Set B-4 and in the Weeklong Advanced Class Set 2A, day 2.

If you’d like to try it yourself, Kasma’s posted her recipe for Golden Pumpkin Coconut Soup. Do use fresh lemon basil at the end, if you can: it adds a very tasty dimension (though Thai basil can be used if necessary).

Before you try the recipe, do read Kasma’s article Cooking “to Taste”


You might enjoy learning how to Cook Thai food from Kasma in a Thai cooking class.


Written by Michael Babcock, August 2014.

Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

The Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class offered by Kasma Loha-unchit in Oakland (San Francisco Bay Area) is a chance to spend a week learning how to cook delicious, authentic Thai food and to feast on the results of your learning. It is roughly equivalent to Kasma’s Beginning and Intermediate Evening Series cooking classes with some advanced class thrown in. There are no pre-requisites.

First up here is a slide show of all of the dishes taught in the class. It’s followed by the Beginning/Intermediate Class menu and at the bottom are links to details, schedules, a blog and photos of the class.

In the Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Thai Cooking Class, students are introduced to nearly all of the main Thai ingredients and cooking techniques – the basics of Thai cuisine. You will be taught how to balance flavors to create authentic Thai food in a series of tasting exercises. You will learn how to use the mortar and pestle to make both simple pastes and complex curry pastes. Although you will learn around 45 different recipes, what your are really learning is how to cook Thai food with or without a recipe.At the end of each day, you’ll have a multi-course Thai feast, the fruits of your learning and labor. You will not find tastier Thai food anywhere in the United States.

The slideshow below will show you some of what you can look forward to when you take this class. (Note: You can check the current Thai cooking class schedule. In 2014 it is being offered from July 7 to 11 and August 4 to 8.)

(You may need to wait a bit for the slide show to load.)


Slideshow
Kasma’s Beginning/Intermediate Class Dishes

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Miang Kam
Garlic-Peppered Shrimp
Garlic-Peppered Pork
Calamari Salad
Massaman Curry
Salmon Green Curry
Oyster Sauce Broccoli
Hot and sour Cucumbers
Steamed Jasmine Rice
Bananas in Coconut Milk
Fried Shrimp Cakes
Cucumber Relish
Pork Salad
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Fish Mousse
Basil Chicken
Long Beans
Tapioca Pudding
Chicken Coconut Soup
Mussel Salad
Panaeng Curry
Crisped Whole Fish
Stir-fried Eggplant
Morning Glory
Brown Rice
White Sticky Rice
Black Sticky Rice
Mee Krob
Duck Noodles
Chilli Sauce
Garlic Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles
Rad Nah Noodles
Fried Bananas
Grilled Chicken
Green Papaya Salad
Steamed White Sticky Rice
Chicken Satay
Pork Satay
Shrimp Satay
Peanut Sauce
Cucumber Salad
Grilled Sea Bass
Dipping Sauce

Day 1: Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-Wrapped Tidbits)

Day 1: Garlic-Peppered Shrimp (Gkoong Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)

Day 1: Garlic-and-Pepper-Encrusted Pork (Moo Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)

Day 1: Spicy Calamari Salad with Lemon Grass, Mint and Lime Sauce (Yam Bplah Meuk)

Day 1: Massaman Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Pearl Onions (Gkaeng Massaman Gkai)

Day 1: Salmon Poached in Green Curry Sauce with Thai Eggplants and Thai Basil (Gkaeng Kiow Wahn Bplah Salmon)

Day 1: Stir-fried Broccoli with Thai Oyster Sauce (Broccoli Pad Nahm Man Hoi)

Day 1: Hot and Sour Wok-Tossed Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Shrimp (Pad Bpriow Wahn)

Days 1 & 2: Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)

Day 1: Fragrant Bananas in Coconut Cream (Gkluay Buad Chi)

Day 2: Savory Fried Shrimp Cakes Served (Tawd Man Gkoong)

Day 2: Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish

Day 2: Spicy Northeastern-style Chopped Pork Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Moo)

Day 2: Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Dtom Yam Gkoong)

Day 2: Curried Mousse of Red Snapper in Banana Leaf cups (Haw Moek Bplah)

Day 2: Spicy Basil Chicken (Gkai Pad Gkaprow)

Day 2: Stir-fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil (Tua Yao Pad Prik Pow)

Day 2: Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dtakoh Sakoo)

Day 3: Chicken-Coconut Soup with Galangal and Oyster Mushrooms (Dtom Kah Gkai)

Day 3: Spicy Mussel and Scallop Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yam Hoi Malaeng Poo Gkap Hoi Shel)

Day 3: Panaeng Beef Curry with Home-made Curry Paste (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)

Day 3: Crisped Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)

Day 3: Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Pad Makeua Yao)

Day 3: "Red-Flamed" Morning Glory (a favorite Thai vegetable) (Pak Boong Fai Daeng)

Day 3: Steamed Jasmine Brown Rice (Kao Hawm Mali Dtam)

Day 3: Coconut-Flavored White Sticky Ricewith Mangoes (Kao Niow Mamuang)

Day 3: Black Sweet Rice Pudding with Toasted Coconut and Sesame (Kao Niow Dam)

Day 4: Glazed Crispy Noodles (Mee Krawb)

Day 4: Anise-Cinnamon Duck Soup Noodles (Gkuay Dtiow Nahm Bped Dtoon)

Day 4: Crushed Chilli Sauce for Duck Noodles (Nahm Jim)

Day 4: Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng)

Day 4: Thai-style Stir-fried Noodles (Pad Thai)

Day 4: Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce (Gkuay Dtiow Rad Nah Gkai)

Day 4: Fried Bananas (Gkluay Tawd)

Day 5: Thai-style Marinated Grilled Chicken with Sweet-and-Sour Chilli Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)

Day 5: Hot-and-Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)

Day 5: Steamed White Sticky Rice (Kao Niow Neung)

Day 5: Chicken Satay (Sateh Gka)

Day 5: Pork Satay (Sateh Moo)

Day 5: Shrimp Satay (Sateh Gkoong)

Day 5: Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce (Nahm Jim Tua)

Day 5: Hot and Sour Cucumber Salad (Yam Dtaeng Gkua)

Day 5: Charcoal-Roasted Striped Bass in Banana Leaf (Bplah Gkapong Pow)

Day 5: Hot and Sour Chilli Sauce (for Striped Bass)

Day 5: Thai-Style Coconut "Macaroon" Cakes (Kanom Bah Bin)

Miang Kam thumbnail
Garlic-Peppered Shrimp thumbnail
Garlic-Peppered Pork thumbnail
Calamari Salad thumbnail
Massaman Curry thumbnail
Salmon Green Curry  thumbnail
Oyster Sauce Broccoli thumbnail
Hot and sour Cucumbers thumbnail
Steamed Jasmine Rice thumbnail
Bananas in Coconut Milk thumbnail
Fried Shrimp Cakes thumbnail
Cucumber Relish thumbnail
Pork Salad thumbnail
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup thumbnail
Fish Mousse thumbnail
Basil Chicken thumbnail
Long Beans thumbnail
Tapioca Pudding thumbnail
Chicken Coconut Soup thumbnail
Mussel Salad thumbnail
Panaeng Curry thumbnail
Crisped Whole Fish thumbnail
Stir-fried Eggplant thumbnail
Morning Glory thumbnail
Brown Rice thumbnail
White Sticky Rice thumbnail
Black Sticky Rice thumbnail
Mee Krob thumbnail
Duck Noodles thumbnail
Chilli Sauce thumbnail
Garlic Noodles thumbnail
Pad Thai Noodles thumbnail
Rad Nah Noodles thumbnail
Fried Bananas thumbnail
Grilled Chicken thumbnail
Green Papaya Salad thumbnail
Steamed White Sticky Rice thumbnail
Chicken Satay thumbnail
Pork Satay thumbnail
Shrimp Satay thumbnail
Peanut Sauce thumbnail
Cucumber Salad thumbnail
Grilled Sea Bass thumbnail
Dipping Sauce thumbnail

Beginning/Intermediate Class Menus

Monday, Day 1, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Miang Kam Tasty Leaf-Wrapped Tidbits (a very tasty finger salad, snack or appetizer – common street food in Thailand)
  • Garlic-Peppered Shrimp (Gkoong Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)
  • Garlic-and-Pepper-Encrusted Pork (Moo Tawd Gkratiem Priktai)
  • Spicy Calamari Salad with Lemon Grass, Mint and Lime Sauce (Yam Bplah Meuk)
  • Massaman Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Pearl Onions (Gkaeng Massaman Gkai)
  • Salmon Poached in Green Curry Sauce with Thai Eggplants and Thai Basil (Gkaeng Kiow Wahn Bplah Salmon)
  • Stir-fried Broccoli with Thai Oyster Sauce (Broccoli Pad Nahm Man Hoi)
  • Hot and Sour Wok-Tossed Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Shrimp (Pad Bpriow Wahn)
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)
  • Fragrant Bananas in Coconut Cream (Gkluay Buad Chi)

Tuesday, Day 2, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Savory Fried Shrimp Cakes Served (Tawd Man Gkoong)
  • Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish
  • Spicy Northeastern-style Chopped Pork Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Moo)
  • Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Dtom Yam Gkoong)
  • Curried Mousse of Red Snapper in Banana Leaf cups (Haw Moek Bplah)
  • Spicy Basil Chicken (Gkai Pad Gkaprow)
  • Stir-fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil (Tua Yao Pad Prik Pow)
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice (Kao Hawm Mali)
  • Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dtakoh Sakoo)

Wednesday, Day 3, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Chicken-Coconut Soup with Galangal and Oyster Mushrooms (Dtom Kah Gkai)
  • Spicy Mussel and Scallop Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yam Hoi Malaeng Poo Gkap Hoi Shel)
  • Panaeng Beef Curry with Home-made Curry Paste (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)
  • Crisped Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)
  • Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Pad Makeua Yao)
  • “Red-Flamed” Morning Glory (a favorite Thai vegetable) (Pak Boong Fai Daeng)
  • Steamed Jasmine Brown Rice (Kao Hawm Mali Dtam)
  • Coconut-Flavored White Sticky Ricewith Mangoes (Kao Niow Mamuang)
  • Black Sweet Rice Pudding with Toasted Coconut and Sesame (Kao Niow Dam)

Thursday, Day 4, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

  • Glazed Crispy Noodles (a snack or appetizer) (Mee Krawb)
  • Anise-Cinnamon Duck Soup Noodles (Gkuay Dtiow Nahm Bped Dtoon)
  • Crushed Chilli Sauce for Duck Noodles (Nahm Jim)
  • Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng)
  • Thai-style Stir-fried Noodles (Pad Thai)
  • Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce Gkuay Dtiow Rad Nah Gkai)
  • Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce (Mee Gkati)
  • Fried Bananas (Gkluay Tawd)

Friday, Day 5, Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class

Fieldtrip to Asian Markets – 8:00 a. m. to 10:30 a. m.; class 10:30 a. m. to 5:30/6:30 p.m.

  • Thai-style Marinated Grilled Chicken with Sweet-and-Sour Chilli Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)
  • Hot-and-Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)
  • Steamed White Sticky Rice (Kao Niow Neung)
  • Chicken/Pork Satay (Sateh Gkai/Moo)
  • Shrimp Satay (Sateh Gkoong)
  • Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce (Nahm Jim Tua)
  • Hot and Sour Cucumber Salad (Yam Dtaeng Gkua)
  • Charcoal-Roasted Striped Bass in Banana Leaf (Bplah Gkapong Pow)
  • Hot and Sour Chilli Sauce (for Striped Bass)
  • Thai-Style Coconut “Macaroon” Cakes (Kanom Bah Bin)

Note: You may have noticed that the Thai transliteration of the dishes is slightly different for the photos in the slideshow and the menu. Please see A Note on Thai Spelling and Pronunciation


Beginning/Intermediate Weeklong Class Links

Note: All links open in a new window.


Written by Michael Babcock, October 2013

Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Overview

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The 4-session Intermediate Thai Cooking Series offered by Kasma Loha-unchit is taken after the Beginning series. First up here is a slide show of all of the dishes taught in the class. It’s followed by the Intermediate Class menu and at the bottom are links to 4 blogs, 1 on each of the classes. Please enjoy!

In the Beginning series, which is a pre-requisite for the Intermediate Series, students are introduced to most of the main Thai ingredients and cooking techniques – they learn the basics of Thai cuisine. The Intermediate Series introduces more ingredients and new techniques, such as how to fry a whole fish; students learn how to use the mortar and pestle to make basic pastes and more complex curry pastes. Many of the dishes are spicier in the Intermediate series and, as tasty as the food is in the Beginning Series, it’s even tastier in the Intermediate.

The slideshow below will show you some of what you can look forward to when you take this class. (Note: You can check the current Thai cooking class schedule.)

(You may need to wait a bit for the slide show to load.)


Slideshow
Kasma’s Intermediate Class Dishes

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Soup
Noodles
Fish Close-up
Mussel Salad
Chicken Salad
Shrimp Cakes
Fish Curry
Stir-Fried Eggplant
Miang Kam
Panaeng Beef Curry
Seafood Dish
Tapioca Pudding
Grilled Chicken
Green Papaya Salad
Chicken Satay
Satay plus Salad
Peanut Sauce
Fried Bananas

Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Gai)

Glazed Crispy Noodles (Mee Krob)

Close-up of Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Pla Rad Prik)

Spicy Mussel Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yum Hoi Malaeng Poo)

Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Larb Gai or Laab Kai)

Spicy Thai-Style Shrimp Cakes with Kaffir Lime Leaves and Green Beans (Tod Mon Goong)

Sour Tamarind Curry with Fish and Vegetable (Kaeng Som Pla)

Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Makeua Yao Pad Prik Horapa)

Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits)

Panaeng Beef Curry (Kaeng Panaeng Neua)

Spicy Southern-style Stir-fried Shrimp and Squid (Pad Ped Goong/Pla Meuk)

Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Ta-koh Sakoo)

Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gai Yang Song Kreuang)

Hot-and Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam Thai)

Chicken Satay (Sateh Kai), ready to eat

Pork and Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce & Green Papaya Salad

Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce Nam Jim Tua - goes on the Satay

Fried Bananas Kluay Tod - a delightfully crunchy outside

Soup thumbnail
Noodles thumbnail
Fish Close-up thumbnail
Mussel Salad thumbnail
Chicken Salad thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes thumbnail
Fish Curry thumbnail
Stir-Fried Eggplant thumbnail
Miang Kam thumbnail
Panaeng Beef Curry thumbnail
Seafood Dish thumbnail
Tapioca Pudding thumbnail
Grilled Chicken thumbnail
Green Papaya Salad thumbnail
Chicken Satay thumbnail
Satay plus Salad thumbnail
Peanut Sauce thumbnail
Fried Bananas thumbnail

Intermediate Class Menus

Intermediate Class #1

  • Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Dtom Kah Gkai)
  • Mee Krob (Glazed Crispy Noodles)
  • Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Bplah Rad Prik)
  • Spicy Mussel Salad with Aromatic Herbs and Crisped Shallots and Garlic (Yum Hoi Malaeng Poo)

Intermediate Class #2

  • Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice (Lahb Gkai)
  • Fried Shrimp Cakes served with Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish (Tawd Man Gkoong)
  • Sour Tamarind Curry with Fish and Vegetables (Gkaeng Som Bplah)
  • Stir-fried Eggplant with Chillies and Thai Basil (Makeua Yao Pad Prik Horapa)

Intermediate Class #3

  • Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits)
  • Panaeng Beef Curry (Gkaeng Panaeng Neua)
  • Spicy Southern-Style Stir-fried Shrimps and Squid (Pad Ped Gkoong Bplah Meuk)
  • Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Dta-gkoh Sakoo)

Intermediate Class #4

  • Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gkai Yahng Sohng Kreuang)
  • Hot-and Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam Thai)
  • Chicken Satay (Sateh Gkai)
  • Spicy Satay Peanut Saucew
  • Fried Bananas (Gkluey Tawd)

Note: You may have noticed that the Thai transliteration of the dishes is slightly different for the photos in the slideshow and the menu. Please see A Note on Thai Spelling and Pronunciation


Intermediate Class Blogs


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2013

Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class #4

Michael Babcock, Saturday, June 15th, 2013

This blog talks about the 4th Intermediate class in Kasma’s 4-session Intermediate Thai Cooking Series, the sequel to her 4-session Beginning Series. The recipes for this class are all items that are commonly consumed as street food: Grilled Chicken, Satay with Peanut Sauce, Green Papaya Salad and Fried Bananas.

I’ve already blogged on the first three classes in the series:

Kasma Pounds

Kasma pounds Som Tam

This class begins differently than previous classes. Both the grilled chicken and the satay need to marinate for a couple of hours so as soon as the students arrive, they are put right to work making the marinades. Once the marinades are done and the meats are absorbing all those wonderful flavors, Kasma talks about the recipes, going over details, new ingredients and techniques.

(Click images to see larger version.)

There are several important and notable techniques in this class. One of the most important is learning how to make Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam). After going over the recipes, Kasma gets out her large wooden mortar and pestle (you can also use a clay, or “Lao” mortar and pestle) and demonstrates how to make her version of this dish, which includes salted crabs and is ped, ped, brio, brio – hot and sour!

Kasma also demonstrates the easiest way to crack open a coconut. For some reason, Western chefs (and even some Thai chefs) commonly teach a method where you drain the liquid from the coconut after piercing the “eyes” with an ice-pick or a Phillips head screwdriver. Some of these methods involve wrapping the drained coconut in a towel and smashing it with a hammer. These actions are unnecessary and make a simple, quick action into a time-consuming mess!

Cracking a Coconut

Kasma cracks a coconut

Scraping a Coconut

Kasma scrapes a coconut

There’s no reason to pre-drain the coconut. Just crack it open over a bowl to catch the coconut water; you can run it through a sieve later to get rid of any bits of shell or meat in the liquid. Rather than smashing the coconut into pieces, it’s really quite easy to use the dull end of a cleaver and crack the coconut into two halves by going around the equator. While those other expert chefs are still waiting for their liquid to drain, you could crack open several coconuts!

Check out our video of Kasma demonstrating this method on our website – Cracking A Coconut: The Easy Way – or on YouTube – Cracking a Coconut.

After it’s cracked open, Kasma shows how to use a small scraper to get coconut shreds to use in her Fried Banana Recipe

Another technique that needs to be explained is how to cut the chicken used for the satay. In making satay, the meat should be cut against the grain into a certain size to facilitate putting the meat evenly on the skewers. The meat is cut into smaller pieces prior to being placed in the marinade: that way more of the surface area will get coated with the tasty mixture.

Kasma Demonstrates

Kasma demonstrates satay

Cutting Chicken

Cutting chicken for satay

Making Satay

Making satay

After the satay has sat in the marinade for a couple of hours, it’s ready to be placed onto the skewer. Kasma demonstrates and then it becomes a communal effort, with Kasma handy to provide feedback and correction as needed.

Much of the cooking in this class is done outside on the grill. Kasma supervises while students baste the meats and turn them over. Kasma uses mesquite charcoal rather than briquets to mirror what is used in Thailand, where briquets are not used. Mesquite tends to burn very hot at the start so it requires frequent turning of the meat so that the outside will not get blackened. The satay is grilled on two smaller grills.

Grilling

Grilling

Sticky Rice Steamer

Sticky Rice Steamer

Both the Grilled Chicken and Green Papaya Salad are from Isan  (or Isaan) (northeastern Thailand). Kasma serves white sticky rice, the preferred rice in the northeast, with this meal, cooking it in the traditional bamboo basket arrangement pictured to the right. (See Kasma’s recipe for Steamed White Sticky Rice (Kao Niow Neung).)

Once students have completed this Intermediate Series, they are eligible to go onto Kasma’s advanced classes. Currently there are 8 evening Advanced Series of 4 classes and 4 weeklong Advanced classes – both evening and weeklong classes cover pretty much the same recipes, with a few exceptions. The Advanced classes open up an entire world of Thai cooking that is unknown to anyone who’s not visited Thailand (and some who have!). Kasma estimates that the restaurants here in the U.S. offer only about 5% of the total number of recipes available in Thai cuisine. The Advanced Classes are a chance to learn about the other 95% and, best of all, to sample how they taste. I invite you to explore the Thai Cooking Class Menus – Advanced Series to see some of the variety that is available in the classes. You can also read my blog on The Best Thai Food in America?, which goes over just one meal in one of the weeklong Advanced classes. I really should take the question mark out of the title!


Menu – Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Series #4

Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gai Yang Song Kreuang)

Grilled Chicken

Thai-style Grilled Chicken & Dipping Sauce

Grilled chicken is found all over  Thailand as a street food. The vendors who make and sell Gai Yang, like many vendors, largely hail from northeastern Thailand or  Isan (also spelled Isaan). Kasma’s version has a very tasty marinade that includes coriander seeds and curry sauce – it grills up very nicely and is delicious. I have never seen grilled chicken in Thailand served without a dipping sauce and Kasma’s is no exception. Her sauce uses dried red hot chillies and comes out with a tasty blend of sweet and sour flavors, with a bit of salty as well. It’s a great sauce and any leftover can be refrigerated almost indefinitely.

Hot-and Sour Thai-Style Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam Thai)

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

Is there a more quintessential street food that Som Tam – Green Papaya Salad? The word som means “sour” and tam means “to pound,” for this salad is made in a mortar and pestle. There are other Som Tam salads that do not use green papaya but are made in a somewhat similar fashion.

Green Papaya by itself is fairly bland: it’s pounded lightly to soften it up and help it to absorb the flavors which are salty (from fish sauce), sour (from limes), hot-spicy (from Thai chillies) and also a bit of sweet (from palm sugar). When you order from a street vendor, you specify the flavors you wish to emphasize; Kasma always orders ped, ped, brio, brio – ped being spicy-hot and brio meaning sour  – and she makes her Som Tam the same way. As is often found in Thailand, Kasma includes whole salted crabs, separated into pieces, in her recipe, to provide a bit of salty flavor (you suck the salty brine out of the pieces) and a bit more texture. The result is a fiery, sour delight.

You may enjoy the following:

Chicken Satay (Sateh Gai)

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Pork Satay

Pork Satay

Satay plus Salad

Satay plus Green Papaya Salad

Satay (Sateh) is another quintessential street food. You can find it on the street and in many markets, being grilled over charcoal. Kasma teaches it with two meats: chicken and pork. The secret is in cutting the meat just right as described above. One trick Kasma uses is to put the meat in the freezer until it firms up to make it easier to cut into uniform peaces of the correct size. Satay is nearly always served with . . .

Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce (Nam Jim Tua)

Peanut Sauce

Spicy Satay Peanut Sauce

Kasma’s peanut sauce has many ingredients and takes a while to make and it is the most flavorful peanut sauce I’ve ever tasted. The key to the flavor is the roasted spices (cumin, coriander seed and dried red chillies). The base is coconut milk and ground peanuts.

Kasma prefers not to use peanut butter. As she said in her first cookbook It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions and The Joys of Thai Cooking, “Many cookbooks advise you to use peanut butter for making peanut sauces, but I think peanut butter always tastes like peanut butter no matter what you do to it.” Peanut butter is really an American invention, not Asian. Besides, it’s the work of a minute to grind the peanuts in a clean coffee grinder. Since they are ground on the spot, they retain their freshness and flavor. You’ll get a lighter-tasting sauce and the flavor of the peanuts will blend in more intricately with the spice flavors.

If you have leftovers of this sauce, you can serve it on other meats or even on vegetables: steamed vegetables topped with this peanut sauce are delicious.

This is one of the few Thai recipes to truly feature peanuts. Peanuts appear in some curries and salads such as Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad) but are not a very important ingredient in Thai cooking. In fact, peanut sauces, such as this one, actually originated further down the Malay peninsula and in the Indonesian archipelago where they dominate the offerings in food bazaars and streetside stalls as well as in refined restaurants.

It’s a mystery why many recipes that are falsely labelled “Thai” have virtually nothing used in Thai cuisine except peanuts. Check out Kasma’s feature article on Peanuts & Thai Cuisine.

Fried Bananas (Kluay Tod)

Fried Bananas

Fried Bananas

Fried Strawberries

Fried Strawberries

Fried Bananas – Kluay Tod – are another treat found as street food, in markets throughout Thailand and in some restaurants. Kasma’s version uses a secret ingredient to make the batter extremely light and crispy: her version tastes delightful.

In this class she also fried up some strawberries as an extra treat. You can fry many other fruits with this batter and they taste delicious. This is partly because of the batter: there are usually a few scraps of the batter left and students usually eat those random pieces up, as well, because they taste so good.


Slideshow For Grilled Chicken – Gai Yang

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Pounding in a Mortar
Making Marinade
Making a Paste
Marinade Continues
Finishing Marinade
Applying Marinade
Students at Work
Marinading Chicken
Marinading Meat
Grilling
Grilling Chicken
Grilling Close-up
Dipping Sauce
Chopping Chicken
Grilled Chicken

Pounding the marinade for the chicken

Adding dried ingredients to the paste for the grilled chicken

A student pounds the marinade for the grilled chicken

The marinade is coming along nicely, almost done

Just about ready to put the marinade on the chicken

Students put the marinade on the chicken pieces

Students applying the marinade to the chicken

This chicken is ready to marinate!

Marinating chicken and pork for the grilled chicken and satay

Two of the students grill the chicken in the backyard

Grilling the chicken using mesquite

A close-up of the chicken on the grill

Finishing the Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce for the chicken

Chopping the barbecued chicken into smaller pieces for serving

Thai-Style Marinated Grilled Chicken Served with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (Gai Yang Song Kreuang)

Pounding in a Mortar thumbnail
Making Marinade thumbnail
Making a Paste thumbnail
Marinade Continues thumbnail
Finishing Marinade thumbnail
Applying Marinade thumbnail
Students at Work thumbnail
Marinading Chicken thumbnail
Marinading Meat thumbnail
Grilling thumbnail
Grilling Chicken thumbnail
Grilling Close-up thumbnail
Dipping Sauce thumbnail
Chopping Chicken thumbnail
Grilled Chicken thumbnail

Don’t miss:

I’ve already blogged on Kasma’s Beginning Thai Cooking Series:

You can find out all the necessary details about class times, dates and policies on our website.


Written by Michael Babcock, June 2013

Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class #3

Michael Babcock, Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Kasma Loha-unchit has been teaching Thai cooking in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. This blog looks at the third class in her 4-session Intermediate Thai Cooking Series, sequel to the Beginning Thai Series (also 4 classes).

I’ve already blogged on the first two classes in the series:

Student Stir-Fries

A student stir-fries as Kasma watches

Kasma’s classes at their best are very much like a group of friends coming together to cook. By the 3rd intermediate class, people are getting to know each other and are more comfortable together. By this class they’ve gotten used to the class format of breaking into groups and taking a recipe from start to finish. If they’re not hooked on Thai food before this class (most people are), this class is bound to do so!

(Click images to see larger version.)

This class also mirrors what will happen in most advanced classes. One of the recipes is typically a snack (in this class it’s Miang Kam – Tasty Leaf-wrapped tidbits) and another recipe is a Thai dessert. I know no place in America other than by going through all of Kasma’s classes where you will get such a complete introduction to various Thai foods and desserts in particular. The food in this class is also trending to spicier than before.

Bai Cha Plu

Bai Cha Plu - Wild Pepper Leaf

One of the strengths of Kasma’s classes is introducing Asian ingredients that are generally unknown to us westerners. In this class the Tasty Leaf-Wrapped Tidbits (Miang Kam) traditionally uses a leaf called bai cha plu – piper sarmentosum – the wild pepper leaf. Since we can find it in local markets, Kasma uses it in the class alongside her usual substitute, spinach leaves. Strangely enough nearly all writers about Thai food (including famous ones who should know better) misidentify this leaf as “betel leaf,” which is  bai plu – piper betel. See Kasma’s blog Miang Kam uses Bai Cha Plu NOT Betel Leaf (Bai Plu)

In this class, Kasma also introduces fresh water chestnut, used in the Tapioca Pudding. Most students have only tasted canned water chestnuts: the fresh one is fresher, crunchier with a natural sweetness.

Chopping Ingredients}

Chopping ingredients for a paste

Prepared Ingredients

Prepared ingredients (paste on right)

In the Intermediate and then Advanced classes, Kasma shows how the same ingredients can be combined in a multitude of ways to make different dishes. In this class, the students learn how to use the mortar & pestle to make a curry paste (Panaeng Curry) from scratch. They learn a delicious stir-fry, which also uses the mortar and pestle to make a paste to be used in the stir-fry. In later classes students get to learn Thai dishes that virtually can not be found in this country elsewhere; some classes will focus on regional cuisine. Kasma estimates that the restaurants in the United States probably offer around 5% of the dishes available in Thailand: in her Advanced Classes, you get to sample a large number of that other 95%.

Fresh Water Chestnuts

Peeling fresh water chestnuts

Stir-frying

Stir-frying can be fun!


Menu – Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Series #2

Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits)

Miang Kam

Miang Kam - Tasty Tidbits

Assembling Miang Kam 1

Assembling Miang Kam 1

Miang is a Thai word used to describe a whole class of leaf-wrapped food. Kasma has a cookbook (written in Thai) that consists only of various miang that you can make. Miang Kam has to be one of the all time best appetizers anywhere in the world: tasty and fun to assemble. It consists of a number of ingredients cut into pea-sized pieces (these are the tidbits), which are wrapped up in a green leaf: in Thailand they use bai cha plu (see above) but you can substitute with any leafy green – Kasma prefers Spinach when she can’t get bai cha plu locally. (We are lucky enough to have 3 or 4 local markets that often carry the leaf.)

Assembling Miang Kam 2

Assembling Miang Kam 2

In Kasma’s recipe the tidbits are all arranged on a plate so that each person can assemble their own snack. Once each of all of the ingredients are placed on the leaf, a dab or two of sauce is added and the leaf is folded to enclose everything. Then, and this is critical, the entire leaf with all of the tidbits is popped, whole, into the mouth. The magic of the snack is the interaction of all the different ingredients: when done right you get a burst of flavors that light up the entire palate: description can not do it justice.

Miang Kam 2

Assembled Tasty Tidbits

Miang Kam a common snack in Thailand, both at restaurants, where it is often served as Kasma serves it in class, and as a street food, where it is often sold pre-wrapped so that the buyer can just pop it right in his or her mouth.

Kasma’s version is my all-time favorite. There are no less than 10 different ingredients to wrap up in the leaf, including one that I’ve never seen in Thailand – crispy rice pieces – which adds a crunchy texture. Most of the Miang Kam I’ve had in Thailand has had anywhere from 4 to 6 or 7 ingredients.

Panaeng Beef Curry (Kaeng Panaeng Neua)

Panaeng Beef Curry

Panaeng Beef Curry

Kasma’s version of Panaeng Beef Curry is another dish that I prefer over anything I’ve eaten in Thailand: partly because of the beef. In Thailand the beef is not as good as in the United States; in Thailand, for this dish, beef is typically cooked well-done in coconut milk for at least an hour before being added to the curry. Kasma’s version uses skirt steak, which she cooks rare: it comes out tender and tasty.

This is a dry curry using coconut milk where the curry sauce barely coats the meat. The beef version of this dish is especially tasty because it uses several roasted spices: the roasting gives a different and delicious dimension to the dish. In introducing the recipe, Kasma goes over using different meats: when making the dish with chicken, the spices are not roasted; for pork, they are just lightly roasted. Roasted garlic and shallots add another dimension lacking in most other coconut-based curries.

Be sure to view the slide show below.

Spicy Southern-style Stir-fried Shrimp and Squid (Pad Ped Goong/Pla Meuk)

Stir-frying in Wok

Preparing the dish

Seafood Dish

Spicy Stir-fried Shrimp & Squid

Given its name, you would expect this dish to be spicy-hot; and it is. It uses a simple paste, made using the stone mortar and pestle, that includes lemon grass, galanga, garlic, cilantro roots and chilli peppers. Kasma uses both Serrano and Thai chillies in the dish. Sliced shallots are added to provide a different texture along with their distinctive taste. It can be made with any seafood; Kasma uses cuttlefish and shrimp. It’s spicy and somewhat sour and salty. A delicious dish.

Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts and Coconut Cream (Ta-koh Sakoo)

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca Pudding with Water Chestnuts

This recipe is a kanom wan (sweet snack). Growing up in America, tapioca pudding was an unappetizing confection that deserved the name “Fish Eyes and Glue.” This dessert is another story. It uses small tapioca pearls in a sweet syrup. What makes it so delicious is the addition of a coconut cream sauce that is both sweet and salty: it is the combination of flavors that takes the dish out of the merely mundane and into the spectacular. Served warm, it softly melts in your mouth with the saltiness accentuating and off-setting the sweet. It is truly comfort food!

You can read Michael’s blog on Thai (Sweet) Snacks – (Kanom Wan)


Making Panaeng Curry – A Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Roasting Chillies
Roasting Coriander Seeds
Roasted Coriander Seeds
Grinding Spices
Toasten Oven
Shallots & Garlic
Shrimp Paste
Roasting Shrimp Paste
Roasted Shrimp Paste
Smelling Shrimp Paste
Pounding
Making a Paste
Paste with Chillies
Pounded Curry Paste
Cutting Meat
Meat Close-up
Heating Coconut Cream
Adding Paste
Cooking Paste
Cooked Curry Paste
Adding the Meat
Cooking the Meat
Adding Thai Basil
Panaeng Curry Cooking
Panaeng Curry Team
Panaeng Beef Curry
Close-up of Panaeng Curry

Roasting chillies, stove-top

Roasting coriander seeds in a iron skillet

Roasted coriander seeds - Panaeng Curry uses roasted spices

Grinding spices in the "coffee" grinder

Roasting shallots and garlic in a toaster oven

Roasted shallots and garlic, ready for pounding into a paste

Shrimp paste (kapi) is wrapped in a banana leaf

The shrimp paste (kapi) is then roasted over a flame

Roasted shrimp paste (kapi) - ready for pounding

Shrimp paste (kapi) is quite fragrant!

Beginning to make the curry paste with a stone mortar & pestle

The curry paste is progressing

The curry paste with pounded chillies, almost ready

Pounded Panaeng Curry paste, ready for cooking

Cutting the skirt steak for the Panaeng Curry

Close-up of cutting beef against the grain

Heating coconut cream for frying the curry paste

Adding the curry paste to the coconut cream

Cooking the curry paste in the coconut cream

The curry paste is cooked until it is aromatic

Adding the skirt steak to the curry paste & coconut cream mixture

The beef is lightly cooked in the paste mixture

Thai Basil and slivered kaffir lime leaves are added to the pot

The Thai basil has wilted: almost finished!

The 4 members of the Panaeng Curry team

Panaeng Beef Curry (Kaeng Panaeng Neua)

A close up of the Panaeng Curry, ready to eat

Roasting Chillies thumbnail
Roasting Coriander Seeds thumbnail
Roasted Coriander Seeds thumbnail
Grinding Spices thumbnail
Toaster Oven thumbnail
Shallots & Garlic thumbnail
Shrimp Paste thumbnail
Roasting Shrimp Paste thumbnail
Roasted Shrimp Paste thumbnail
Smelling Shrimp Paste thumbnail
Pounding thumbnail
Making a Paste thumbnail
Paste with Chillies thumbnail
Pounded Curry Paste thumbnail
Cutting Meat thumbnail
Meat Close-up thumbnail
Heating Coconut Cream thumbnail
Adding Paste thumbnail
Cooking Paste thumbnail
Cooked Curry Paste  thumbnail
Adding the Meat thumbnail
Cooking the Meat thumbnail
Adding Thai Basil thumbnail
Panaeng Curry Cooking thumbnail
Panaeng Curry Team thumbnail
Panaeng Beef Curry thumbnail
Close-up of Panaeng Curry thumbnail

Don’t miss:

Here is the next Intermediate Class Blogs:

I’ve already blogged on Kasma’s Beginning Thai Cooking Series:

You can find out all the necessary details about class times, dates and policies on our website.


Written by Michael Babcock, June 2013