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Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class #2

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Kasma Loha-unchit’s 4-session Intermediate Thai Cooking Series takes up where her Beginning Thai Cooking Series leaves off. It’s a chance to learn new ingredients, techniques and Thai recipes. This blog is about the second Intermediate Cooking Class.

Roasted Rice Flour

Roasted Rice Flour

I’ve already blogged on the first class in the series:

(Click images to see larger version.)

As always, the class begins with a snack and with an explanation of the recipes.

Although most of the main ingredients were previously introduced in the 4-session Beginning Series, there are more to come in the intermediate classes. In this second class, students learn about roasted rice powder, kaffir lime peels (they’ve already been introduced to the leaves), and shrimp paste (kapi or gkabpi).

New ingredients are covered extensively. When introducing toasted rice powder, kasma shows the students a couple of locally available packages and talks about where to buy them. In the picture above, the package shown to the left is an imported Vietnamese brand; that on the right is a more coarsely ground roasted rice powder that is made locally at a Cambodian market. The products are passed around so that students can taste them. She also goes into how to make the powder, should you be unable to find it or should you want to do so. (You can read how in her article on Roasted Rice Flour – Kao Kua.)

Soaking Red Chillies

Soaking dried red chillies

Roasting Chillies

Roasting dried Thai chillies

In this class, dried chili peppers are an important ingredient in three of the recipes. Kasma explains the two types that will be used this evening and explains how to prepare them: by seeding and soaking in one instance, and by roasting stove-top in another.

Pounding Ingredients

Student using a mortar & pestle

Chilli Paste

Chilli paste in a mortar (with pestle)

Students use the mortar and pestle extensively in this series. Three of the recipes in this class, involve intensive pounding so Kasma goes into the basics of how to go about it. The mortar and pestle are essential tools in Thai cooking: they crush the fibers of herbs and release the essential oils, giving a greater breadth and depth of flavor than can be obtained by using a food processor. You can read Kasma’s blog on The Mortar and Pestle.

After the recipes are explained, students volunteer (or are assigned) to one of the recipes and break into teams to do the preparation. Kasma supervises making sure everything is done correctly.

Cutting & Chopping

Students cutting & chopping

Cutting Lemongrass

Cutting lemongrass

Roasting Galanga

Roasting dried galanga

In this class, dried galanga is used in the Northeastern Chicken salad, after being roasted stovetop in a cast iron pan.

Once the ingredients are prepped, Kasma demonstrates new techniques. For instance, for the Fried Shrimp Cake recipe, there’s a certain way of forming the shrimp cakes and dropping them gently into the oil: although it may feel safer to drop them from a distance, because your hand is further away from the oil, doing that may cause a splash of hot oil whereas sliding the shrimp cake in from just above the oil is actually the safer method. (See slide show, below.)

Observing

Students observing

Of course, there’s the feast at the end of the class.

And after the feast, everyone helps to clean up.

One thing I appreciate about Kasma’s classes is that you learn how to prepare the food in a manner similar to how you cook in your own kitchen. Many cooking classes in Thailand assign a cooking station to each student and have them cook their own individual portion from already prepared ingredients. In Kasma’s class, students do every aspect of the meal preparation, from chopping, roasting and pounding to cooking, eating and clean-up, just as you will at home. Everyone gets to watch the final assembly of every dish, learning how to prepare every dish in the class, rather than just the single dish they’ve worked on.


Menu – Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Series #2

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

Shrimp Cakes

Spicy Thai-Style Shrimp Cakes

I recently read in a cookbook by a famous Thai chef that said “Thais appear to remain ambivalent about [deep-fried foods].” They certainly have a strange way of showing this: you find fried foods everywhere in many forms – fried fish, chicken, duck, pork leg, bananas, other desserts and, of course, Tod Mon – fried fish (or shrimp) cakes. Thais even deep-fry herbs such as Thai basil (as in this dish). Certainly Fried Fish Cakes (Tod Mon) are among the most common and beloved of Thai snacks and appetizers: you see them frying in open-air markets and sidewalks everywhere in the country; they are also found in many restaurants as an appetizer. This class showcases Kasma’s version of Tod Mon; her recipe is really a Tod Mon Pla (Fish Cake) recipe that is made, instead, with shrimp (goong).

Cucumber Relish

Cucumber Relish

It’s a recipe with lots of prep work (see the slide show at the bottom of the page) that produces a bouncy, tasty treat. It is served with:

Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Relish

This is a relish that accompanies the Fried Shrimp Cakes and is sweet, sour and salty. It has a refreshing taste that forms a nice contrast to the fried cakes.

Be sure to see our slideshow on Tod Mon Goong below.

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

Fish Curry

Sour Tamarind Curry

You may be confused as to why this dish, without coconut milk, is called a “curry.” Actually, there are probably more Thai “curries” without coconut milk than with; for the Thais, the classification of what we translate as curry – kaeng – is really a broader classification. Read Kasma’s blog Thai Curries – Kaeng (or Gkaeng or Gaeng).

This is one of the classic Thai dishes, here in the central Thai version. Kasma’s version is thick from vegetables and broiled, flaked fish in the broth.

Kaeng Som is made in a different version in Southern Thailand and is often called Kaeng Leuang there: you have to get through to Kasma’s Advanced Set G to learn how to make her Southern version, delicious and spicy hot.

You may enjoy the Bangkok Post article ‘Kaeng Som’ A Thai culinary classic by Suthon Sukphisit.

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

Chicken Salad

Northeastern-Style Minced Chicken Salad

Balancing Flavors

Balancing Flavors

Larb (often transliterated as laab and pronounced “lahb”) is one of the two main types of Thai “salads” prevalent in the West. (The other would be yum.) They typically involve chopped (or ground) meat flavored with fish sauce, limes, a bit of sugar (to balance flavors, mainly to bring out the sour of the limes), lots of ground, roasted chillies and roasted rice powder. It’s served with a vegetable platter: you eat the salad with the vegetables to cut the heat.

In Kasma’s classes you learn all about balancing flavors to create authentic Thai tastes. Ingredients such as fish sauce or limes (for instance) can vary brand to brand or batch to batch, so Kasma’s tasting exercises teach you how to work with different ingredients to get the correct Thai harmony of flavors.

You can try out Kasma’s recipe for Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad (Laab Gai).

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

Stir-Fried Eggplant

Stir-Fried Eggplant

I find Asian vegetables so very much more interesting that American vegetables. Thais do wonderful things with eggplants and I love this stir-fried dish. It’s a simple dish, flavored with oyster sauce and fish sauce with just a bit of vinegar added to the end to provide a bit of sour. It’s a wonderful dish and relatively easy to prepare.


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

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

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

Kaffir Lime Leaves
Long Beans
Processing Shrimp 1
Processing Shrimp 3
Ready to Pound
Students Pounding
Pounding Ingredients 1
Pounding Ingredients 2
Mixing Everything
Making Cucumber Relish
Cucumber Relish
Frying Basil
Fried Holy Basil
Fried Holy Basil
Frying Shrimp Cakes 2
Frying Shrimp Cakes 3
Frying Shrimp Cakes 4
Frying Shrimp Cakes 5
Frying Shrimp Cakes 6
Removed Shrimp Cake
Shrimp Cakes 1
Shrimp Cakes 2
Shrimp Cakes 3

Slivered kaffir lime leaves for the Tod Mon Goong

Long beans, cut in thin rounds, provide texture

Processing shrimp in a food processor

Shrimp reduced to a smooth, sticky, gray paste.

The shrimp will be mixed with a paste in a mortar & pestle

Two students using the mortar & pestle

Starting to combine the ground shrimp and the chilli paste

Making a well-blended paste in the mortar & pestle

Finally, all the ingredients are combined in a bowl

Adjusting flavors for the accompanying Cucumber Relish

Cucumber Relish, ready to serve with the Tod Mon Goong

Holy basil (bai kaprao) is fried crispy in a wok

The crispy fried bai kaprao (holy basil) is removed from the wok

Kasma holding a shrimp cake above the wok

Kasma, about to drop a shrimp cake in the hot oil

Shrimp cake successfully dropped into the oil

Three shrimp cakes, puffed up and frying

Turning a shrimp cake over in the hot oil using long chopsticks

A wok full of frying shrimp cakes

Shrimp cakes are placed on a wired implement to drain

Savory Fried Shrimp Cakes (Tod Mon Goong) with Cucumber Relish

Serving of Tod Mon Goong with crispy-fried holy basil

Individual serving of Tod Mon Goong with Cucumber Relish

Kaffir Lime Leaves thumbnail
Long Beans thumbnail
Processing Shrimp 1 thumbnail
Processing Shrimp 3 thumbnail
Ready to Pound thumbnail
Students Pounding thumbnail
Pounding Ingredients 1 thumbnail
Pounding Ingredients 2 thumbnail
Mixing Everything thumbnail
Making Cucumber Relish thumbnail
Cucumber Relish thumbnail
Frying Basil thumbnail
Fried Holy Basil  thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 1 thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 2 thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 3 thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 4 thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 5 thumbnail
Frying Shrimp Cakes 6 thumbnail
Removed Shrimp Cake thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes 1 thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes 2 thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes 3 thumbnail

Don’t miss:

Here are 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, May 2013

Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class #1

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class, an evening series of 4 classes, continues on from where her 4-session Beginning Thai Cooking Series leaves off. Once she’s introduced students to the basics (including how to harmonize flavors to create Thai tastes), it’s time to learn more Thai cooking techniques, ingredients and recipes.

Explaining Recipes

Kasma going over recipes

I repeated the Beginning Thai Cooking Series in October of 2011 and was surprised at how much new information I gleaned from repeating the class. I also remembered just how much fun the classes are. This April, I repeated Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class. This is my blog on class #1.

(Click images to see larger version.)

As with the Beginning series, class starts with Kasma going over the recipes. Much less time is needed for this in the Intermediate Series because so many of the main ingredients were covered in the Beginning Series. In the Intermediate Class there are still new ingredients, which need to be covered more extensively, and there are new cooking techniques to be introduced as well. For instance, when introducing an ingredient such as mussels, Kasma talks about the various kinds available and which are the best ones to use for a particular recipe, such as this evening’s Spicy Mussel Salad

Mussels

Mussels for the salad

The classes are filled with tips that make recipes come out better. For instance, Many recipes for Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Ka Gai) have you dump all the coconut milk in a pan and bring it to a boil; Kasma explains that when boiled, coconut milk has a tendency to curdle, so she begins the recipe using water or mild chicken broth and adds the coconut milk towards the end, right before she balances all the flavors.

Kasma imparted more inside knowledge when talking about the preparing the noodles for frying for the Mee Krob (Glazed Crispy Noodles). Rather than soaking the noodles, which would leave them soggy, she has the students rinse the noodles in cold tap water, drain in a colander and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes. This allows the noodles to absorb some water and soften while then allowing the surface to dry out so that you won’t get splattering when you put the noodles in the hot oil to fry. She explains that if you fry the noodles dry, they puff up more, which is undesirable in this recipe. As always, she shows the students the best brand available locally to use.

Frying Noodles

Frying noodles

The first intermediate class introduces two ingredients that are new to the students. Pickled garlic is used in the Crispy Fried Noodles and crispy fried shallots are used in the Spicy Mussel Salad. Kasma talks about what to look for when buying these ingredients, what brand of the fried shallots (often labelled “Fried Onions”) are best (see Kasma’s Favorite Brands) and how to make your own crispy shallots, should you be so inclined.

This class introduces methods for deep frying, both for the Mee Krob – Glazed Crispy Noodles – and for the Pla Rad Prik – Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce. I have long been an admirer of the way that Thais fry things: the fried foods in Thailand seldom taste greasy at all and their fried fish is always fried to a delightfully crispy and crunchy state that is both fun to eat and allows you to eat most of the fish. This class also has deep-fried noodles, also well-fried and not very greasy.

Making Noodles

Making Mee Krob

So I was somewhat startled to read in a cookbook by a famous Thai chef that “. . .Thais are not particularly good at deep-frying, opting to cook any piece of meat as much as possible – even fish.” He claims this comes from fear of worms from fresh-water fish. All the Thai people I know love crispy-fried fish: they cook it that way because they like it that way – they like the texture, it is non-greasy, it  tastes good and eats well.  I guess he’s never been to the North or the Northeast where they like to eat raw meat salads – odd behavior if they’re afraid of parasites.

Kasma fries her fish in her trusty 16-inch round-bottomed spun-steel wok: it’s the perfect piece of cookware for deep-frying. This is a great class for students who are afraid to fry – Kasma shows how to do it easily and safely.

Chopping

Students prepping ingredients

As with all classes, Kasma tells the students which local markets typically carry any specialty ingredients, such as fresh, whole fish (not readily available in most western supermarkets) or garlic chives (used in the Crispy Fried Noodles. She goes into which recipes can be prepared ahead of time and which parts of recipes can be done in advance to make the final assembly easier without losing and freshness or flavor.

In this class Kasma also goes over how to pick out a fresh, whole fish; it is something that many students have never done or even considered doing before. She gives 5 pointers (such as looking at the over-all luster of the fish and how the eyes and gills should appear) that will help even the novice choose a fresh fish. You can read Kasma’s article Selecting a Fresh Fish, excerpted from her Dancing Shrimp cookbook.

Mixing Ingredients

Mixing Ingredients

Making Sauce

Student making Mee Krob sauce

After the recipes are explained, the students divide up into groups: Kasma assigns a certain number of people for each recipe. Once the ingredients are prepped, all the students watch the members of the team do the cooking. When appropriate, as in frying a whole fish, Kasma starts the cooking process so that she can show how a particular technique is done: after that, the team members do the cooking. Kasma also oversees the final balancing process for the recipes: one of the great strengths of her classes is learning how the various ingredients interact to create a harmony of Thai flavors.

Of course, the best part of the evening is sitting down to eat a Thai feast at the end of class.

Eating Dinner

Eating dinner, the best part of class!

After dinner, everyone helps clean up before going home.


Menu – Intermediate Thai Cooking Class Series #1

Mee Krob (Glazed Crispy Noodles)

Noodles

Mee Krob Noodles

This is a noodle dish that is almost always too sweet at the local Thai restaurants. Kasma’s version is crispy, not greasy at all (despite the deep-fried noodles) and flavorful, with just a hint of sweetness. It could almost be called a fried salad, served as it is with bean sprouts and garlic chives. It’s a dish that must be eaten within an hour of cooking, otherwise it will turn somewhat soggy and uninteresting.

Chicken Coconut Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Gai)

Soup

Chicken Coconut Soup

This is one of two soups that is found at virtually every Thai restaurant outside of Thailand. (The other is Hot & Sour Prawn Soup – Tom Yum Goong.) This, also, is a dish that I’ve been disappointed in when ordering out in the U.S. – too sweet, too rich: Kasma’s version is somewhat lighter with a bit of sour flavor. I once read a Westerner who claimed that this soup was just “Tom Yum Soup with Coconut.” This is absolutely not true. The main herbal flavor in a Tom Ka soup is galanga, with lemon grass in the supporting capacity: with Tom Yum soups, it’s just the opposite – the galanga supports the lemongrass.

You can try out Kasma’s variation on this recipe: Coconut Seafood Soup with Galanga (Tom Ka Talay)

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

Fried Fish

Crispy Fried Whole Fish

(See slideshow below.)

This is a recipe that is very common in Thailand: on Kasma’s trips we’ll usually eat it at least a couple of times. I was so excited the first time I made this dish by myself (after I first took the Intermediate Series in 1992) – it looked just like the dishes in Thailand! However, in Thailand I often find it too sweet for my taste: in Kasma’s version the sauce is equally sour and salty with the sweetness (from palm sugar) in the background.

The best parts to eat of the fish are the crispy-crunchy parts. My personal favorite is the head: it’s full of interesting crunchy bits interspersed with softer textures. Before I met Kasma I would never have eaten a fish head: now I usually join this class at meal time because often no one in class knows how to eat the head – I like to help out.

Fish and seafood are an integral and important part of the Thai diet. See Kasma’s article The Thai Fish-Eating Tradition.

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

Mussel Salad

Spicy Mussel Salad

Yum salads are a group of salads that are found all over Thailand and found all too seldom here in the U.S. They are sour and spicy-hot with some saltiness and sweetness: the level of sweetness will vary from one salad to the next, depending on the main ingredient, so it’s not really possible to give a generic yum dressing/sauce (although many cookbook authors do). Kasma’s dressing for this salad is interesting in that it uses three different ingredients for sour flavors – white vinegar, lime juice and tamarind juice: each provides a different layer of flavor. Sugar is used here to balance the flavors and to intensify the sourness: Kasma shows you how to do this without adding too much sweetness. (Check out Kasma’s Exercise in Balancing Flavors.)

Salad Ingredients

Mixing Mussel Salad

This dish is also an opportunity for Kasma to discuss the use of chillies in recipes. At the time of the year of this class (April), many of the chillies we get here in the San Francisco Bay Area come from South or Central America; because of the climate, they tend to be very hot. As chillies grown in California become available, the number of chillies may need to be adjusted: initially, the local chillies will be much milder. This is the sort of information that you get in Kasma’s classes: you’ll not commonly find it in Thai cookbooks, which usually give a specific number of chillies in a dish without going into how you may need to modify that number to get the level of heat the dish (or your tastebuds) require.


Slideshow – Crispy Fried Whole Fish

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

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

Scoring Fish
Resting Fishes
Coating Fish
Coated Fish
Holding Fish
Sliding Fish
Fish in Oil
Ladling Oil
Student Cooking
Turning Fish
Frying Paste
Fried Fish
Ladling Sauce
Fried Whole Fish
Fish Close-up

Scoring the whole fish

Bringing the whole fish to room temperature

Coating the fish with tapioca flour prior to frying

This fish, coated with tapioca flour, is ready to fry

Kasma is just about to slide the fish into the hot oil

Sliding the fish into the hot oil in the wok

The fish's fin is waving from the hot oil

Hot oil is ladled over the fish so it will fry evenly

One of the students takes over ladling the hot oil over the fish

Kasma demonstrates how to turn the fish over in the wok

Frying the chilli-tamarind sauce for the fish

This crispy-fried fish is ready for the chilli-tamarind sauce

Ladling the chilli-tamarind sauce over the fish

Crispy Fried Whole Fish Topped with Chilli-Tamarind Sauce (Pla Rad Prik) - ready to eat

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

Scoring Fish thumbnail
Resting Fishes thumbnail
Coating Fish thumbnail
Coated Fish thumbnail
Holding Fish thumbnail
Sliding Fish thumbnail
Fish in Oil thumbnail
Ladling Oil thumbnail
Student Cooking thumbnail
Turning Fish thumbnail
Frying Paste thumbnail
Fried Fish thumbnail
Ladling Sauce thumbnail
Fried Whole Fish thumbnail
Fish Close-up thumbnail

Here are 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, May 2013

Beginning Thai Cooking, Class #4

Michael Babcock, Saturday, September 15th, 2012

This blog is about class #4 in a series of 4 evening classes taught by Kasma Loha-unchit. This final class focuses on noodles and teaches that American favorite – Pad Thai. Kasma, who has been teaching since 1985, introduces 3 of the many varieties of noodles used in Thailand.

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

(Click images to see larger version.)

Thai Snack

Mochi, a snack

When the classes were in the evening, beginning with the second class in the series, Kasma introduced the students to an Asian snack at the start of the class. Because the classes are now taught in the afternoon right after lunch, she no longer serves snacks.This particular snack, mochi with a black sesame seed filling, is a particular favorite. We only know of one place where we can purchase this snack: it’s at the Yuen Hop Noodle Company on Webster Street in Oakland’s Chinatown. Yuen Hop sells freshly made rice noodles, the wider variety called kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) – kway teow (ก๋วยเตี๋ยว) referring to the rice noodle itself, and sen yai (ส้นใหญ่) referring to the size. It’s the sort of noodle called chow fun by the Chinese. Their fresh noodles are amazing – Kasma uses them in all sorts of noodle dishes in this class and in her Advanced cooking classes.

Rice Noodles

Wide rice noodles

This is a package of kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) aka chow fun noodles. In this class, Kasma introduces three different type of noodles (there are many more) for use in the dishes. These particular noodles will be used in the Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah). These noodles are added direct from the package to the wok.

She’ll also introduce the noodle known in Thai as ba mee (บะหมี่), a thin Chinese egg noodle made from wheat, used in the Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) – บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng). These noodles are cooked in boiling water.

The third type of noodle is the thin dried rice vermicelli called sen mee (ส้นหมี่) that Kasma uses in her “Thai-style” Stir-fried Noodles – ผัดไท (Pad Thai). She soaks the dried rice noodles in cold or lukewarm tap water for 40 minutes to one hour, or until the noodles are limp but still firm to the touch.

Tianjin Vegetables

Tianjin vegetables

Roasting Chillies

Roasting chillies

Kasma introduces other new ingredients in this class, one of which is Tianjin Vegetables – a type of pickled cabbage (basically cabbage fermented with salt) from China, though there is an equivalent version of preserved cabbage made in Thailand. Kasma uses this ingredient in her Garlic Noodles.

She teaches her students how to roast dried chillies in a cast iron skillet; they will subsequently be ground up to be used in Pad Thai and also to fill one of the dishes in a noodle condiment set. In Thailand, all noodles are accompanied by a condiment set, which typically includes sugar (for balancing flavors), green chillies soaked in vinegar (for sour), fish sauce (for salty) and roasted ground chillies. The diner uses the condiment set to balance the flavors to his or her liking. The chillies are roasted with salt in the pan to help mitigate the fumes.

Making Thai Coffee

Making Thai coffee & tea

In addition to the noodles (and cucumber salad), Kasma demonstrates how to make both Thai tea – ชาเย็น (cha yen) – and Thai coffee – โอเลี้ยง (oliang). In Thailand, both of these drinks are made using a “tea sock” – the tea or coffee is put in the “sock,” which has a metal handle, and then hot water is poured through and then steeped to the desired strength. Condensed and evaporated milk are added to finish them off. Thai tea and coffee are often available at noodle shops in Thailand.

We have instructions for making Thai tea elsewhere on the website.

Making Rad Nah

Making Rad Nah

Kasma Stir-fries

Kasma cooks Pad Thai

As with other classes, final cooking is done in front of the whole class. Sometimes a student does the cooking (as in the Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles) to the left; other times, Kasma does the cooking. She usually cooks the Pad Thai herself because there are a couple of tricky points: namely getting the eggs right and making sure the noodles are thoroughly mixed with everything else.

Beginning Thai Series Class #4 Menu

Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah):

Rad Nah

Rad Nah Noodles

Balancing Flavors

Balancing flavors

I think of this as rice noodles with sauce. It’s a somewhat soupy dish and I like it only if the noodles, the kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) are very, very fresh. It is best when eaten piping hot from the wok and is typically eaten with green chillies pickled in vinegar (as in the picture to the right), which provides a bit of sour to cut the gravy (sauce). Be sure to get both some (soaked) chillies and some of the vinegar.

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

Garlic Noodles

Kasma's Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles 2

Kasma's Garlic Noodles

I’ve never had this particular dish in Thailand – it’s a recipe of Kasma’s creation. It’s the first noodle dish I ever made. I had been invited to a potluck soon after initially taking the Beginning Series (back in 1992 – 2 decades ago). I decided to bring this dish: it can be served cold or at room temperature and made in advance – perfect for a pot luck. It was the first dish to disappear; people loved it. As the name implies, it has a garlicky flavor – mildly addictive, I would say.

“Thai-style” Stir-fried Noodles – ผัดไท (Pad Thai):

Pad Thai

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai. A whole blog could be written on this noodle. (Actually, Kasma already wrote one: The Origin and Making of Pad Thai.)

This picture of Kasma’s Pad Thai noodles shows the dish plated, and ready to serve. It’s surrounded by limes so that each student can take a lime to squeeze over their portion and add sour flavor. The next picture below shows one individual serving of Pad Thai. Often in Thailand this dish is served accompanied by green onions; the idea is to take a bite of the green onion along with the noodles to add an extra dimension of texture and flavor. They go surprisingly well together.

Pad Thai

Serving of Pad Thai

Many students tell Kasma her version is the best they’ve ever eaten. Often in U.S. restaurants the noodles are softer and mushier whereas in Kasma’s version, they are firm and chewy. She’ll tell students that if they prefer the version from U.S. restaurants, they can make the noodles softer, add ketchup and more sugar.

Check out:

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad – ยำแตงกวา (Yum Taeng Kua): In the United States, I’m not much of a cucumber eater. I find the vegetable not very interesting. The one exception I make is for Kasma’s Thai cucumber salads, such as this one. Add some shallots, serrano peppers, cilantro leaves, vinegar, lime, fish sauce and sugar to cucumbers and it makes them a lot more interesting!


Slideshow – Pad Thai Noodles
Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

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

pad-thai-01
pad-thai-02
pad-thai-03
pad-thai-04
pad-thai-05
pad-thai-06
pad-thai-07
pad-thai-08
pad-thai-09
pad-thai-10
pad-thai-11
pad-thai-12
pad-thai-14
pad-thai-15
pad-thai-16
pad-thai-17
pad-thai-18
pad-thai-19
pad-thai-20
pad-thai-21
pad-thai-22
pad-thai-23
pad-thai-24
pad-thai-25

Dried shrimp for Pad Thai noodles

"Sweet Radish" for Pad Thai noodles

Making tamarind water for Pad Thai noodles

Rice Vermicelli for Pad Thai noodles

Soaking noodles for Pad Thai

Cooking shrimp for the Pad Thai

Stir-frying ingredients for Pad Thai noodles

Adding dried, roasted chillies for Pad Thai noodles

Adding the noodles

Noodles are now mixed in with the other ingredients

Cracking an egg into the wok

Eggs have been added

Moving the other ingredients up the side of the wok

The eggs are sufficiently cooked

Adding the tamarind water

Mixing everything together

Kasma stir-fries the Pad Thai noodles

Everything is mixed and nearly finished

The bean sprouts have been added

Now the garlic chives are added

Peanuts have been added - very nearly done now!

The final mix in the wok

Pad Thai noodles, plated and ready to serve!

An individual serving of Pad Thai noodles

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Written by Michael Babcock, September 2012

Beginning Thai Cooking With Kasma, Class #3

Michael Babcock, Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Kasma Loha-unchit teaches a beginning series of 4 Thai cooking classes several times a year. This is my blog on the third of those four classes, exploring how the classes take place and what delicious Thai dishes are served. Kasma has been teaching Thai cooking to U.S. students since 1985.

I’ve also blogged on the other classes in the series:

Kasma’s initial series of 4 classes is designed as a sequence of classes to introduce the basics of Thai cooking. This, the third class, continues on from the first two, including more basic information about Thai ingredients and cooking techniques while introducing 5 new recipes.

Learning more about rice is an important part of the third class.

Soaking Brown Rice

Soaking brown rice

Sticky Rice Steamer

Sticky rice steamer

(Click images to see larger version.)

Having already covered cooking of jasmine rice (ข้าวหอมมะลิ – kao hom mali) in the first sessions, in class #3 Kasma introduces brown jasmine rice. Over the past few years, in part because of the support of the Royal Family, whole grain rice has been growing in popularity in Thailand. (See Kasma’s Blog Whole Grain Rice Makes a Comeback in Thailand.) To bring out maximum nutrition, whole-grain rice should be soaked for at least 22 hours prior to cooking. (For more details see Kasma’s blog How to Cook Brown Rice for Maximum Nutrition.) She also teaches how to cook white sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียว – Kao Niow) using the traditional bamboo basket that is found throughout northeastern Thailand (อีสาน – Isan), where, traditionally, it is the daily rice eaten with all meals. (See Kasma’s recipe for Steamed White Sticky Rice (ข้าวเหนียวนึ่ง – Kao Niow Neung.)

Cleaning Squid

Cleaning squid

Another thing that Kasma teaches in this class is how to clean whole squid; everyone gets an opportunity to clean a couple. It’s one thing I appreciate about the classes: Kasma teaches you to use ingredients (such as shrimp or squid) as you would purchase them in any Asian market, where they are more likely to be sold whole and not cleaned. It’s not difficult to do and the reward is that a whole squid, frozen or not, is likely to be more fresh than one that has been pre-cleaned.

Students Prepping Food

Students prepping food

Cutting Lemon Grass

Cutting lemon grass

As always, the students do all of the prep work themselves; the chopping, mincing and dicing, cleaning the squid and more. We’ve had students who have taken cooking classes in Thailand who tell us that typically, all of the ingredients are already prepped for them. Kasma has the students do the prep because when they cook at home, they’ll have to do it themselves. She teaches how to cook all of these dishes from start to finish by yourself.

Kasma Cooks

Kasma frying shrimp

Cooking Long beans

Cooking long beans

Final assembly and cooking of the dishes in the beginning series is done by Kasma and by the students. The picture to the left shows Kasma deep frying the Garlic Peppered Shrimp. This will be the first time that many students have deep fried anything at all, so she starts out by demonstrating what to do; after her initial demo, she’ll ask for volunteers and students will finish off the cooking. She’s already gone over stir-frying in previous sessions, so she has one of the students cook the Stir-Fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil. All of the students get to watch the final assembly/cooking so that they really do learn to cook every dish in the class and not just the one they have worked on.

Squid Salad

Plating Squid Salad

Meal Time

Students enjoying a feast

After the food is plated and ready to serve, we come to the very best part of class: the feast at the end. What’s best of all is knowing that you can go home and cook everything yourself.

Beginning Thai Series Class #3 Menu

Garlic Peppered Shrimp

Garlic Peppered Shrimp

Garlic-Peppered Shrimp – กุ้งกระเทียมพริกไทย (Goong Kratiem Prik Thai): Although this is a common item on Thai menus, both in Thailand and here in the U.S., I’ve never had a version quite like Kasma’s. Her recipe uses a lot of garlic (1-2 heads per pound of shrimp) and black pepper to coat the shrimp, which, with the shell still on, is deep-fried until crispy. It makes a crunchy, peppery, garlicky snack that is delicious, indeed. Some students are, at first, reluctant to eat a shrimp with the shell on: they soon find that it has been rendered crispy and that it adds a needed dimension to the dish. They usually come back for seconds. And thirds. And even fourths!

Squid Salad

Squid Salad

Hot and Sour Calamari Salad – ยำปลาหมึก (Yum Pla Meuk): The very first Thai dish I ever ate was a Squid Salad at Siam Cuisine on University Avenue in Berkeley (long out of business); this must have been back in the early 1980s. The salad has lots of fresh herbs (lemon grass, galanga, mint and cilantro) and a hot and sour dressing consisting of chillies, garlic, fish sauce and lime juice, with a bit of sugar to pull all the tastes together. Kasma’s version is as hot as I remember my first attempt but now I can eat spicy. This is a terrific, prototypical Thai salad.

Long Beans

Stir-Fried Long Beans

Stir-Fried Long Beans with Roasted Chilli Sauce and Thai Basil – ถั่วยาวผัดพริกเผา (Tua Yao Pad Prik Pow) : Vegetables is one area where Asian cooking excels. I can’t think of a single Western vegetable dish as interesting and tasty as this one dish. It uses “long beans” – ถั่วยาว (tua yao) – which are somewhat similar to green beans but thinner around – they can be dark green, light green or purple in color. Although they are cooked with garlic (of course), fish sauce and  Thai basil (ใบโหระพา – bai horapa), the defining taste of this dish comes from roasted chili paste – น้ำพริกเผา (nam prik pao). This paste is one of the most commonly used seafood-based pastes in Thai cooking; the roasted flavors give a fragrant backdrop to a paste that is hot and shrimpy as well as sweet and tangy. This is a flavorful, delicious vegetable dish. (Read Kasma’s information on Roasted Chilli Paste – (Nam Prik Pao).)

Sticky Rice & Mango

Sticky Rice and Mango

Sticky Rice and Mango – ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง (Kao Niao Mamuang):  This is perhaps the best known Thai dessert outside of Thailand, though in Thailand it is more of a snack (a kanom – ขนม) that would be eaten by itself at any time of the day. White sticky rice is given a sweet coconut sauce and then served with mangoes. In Thailand, it is also served with durian, in season. (See Michael’s blog on Thong Lo Mangos (and Sticky Rice).)

Kasma’s recipe for this delicious dish can be found here: Coconut-Flavored Sticky Rice with Mangoes (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง – Kao Niow Mamuang).

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

Black Sweet Rice Pudding – ข้าวเหนียวดำ (Kao Niow Dahm): Another sweet sticky rice dessert, topped with toasted coconut and sesame seeds. Some students like this even better than the White Sticky Rice and Mangos. The black sticky rice is a whole grain with a nutty flavor. See Kasma’s recipe Black Sticky Rice Pudding (ข้าวเหนียวดำ Kao Niow Dahm).


Slideshow – Garlic Peppered Shrimp
Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

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

Frying Shrimp
Kasma Cooks
Removing Shrimp
Fried Shrimp
Garlic Peppered Shrimp

Deep-frying shrimp for Garlic Peppered Shrimp

Kasma fries shrimp for Garlic Peppered Shrimp

Removing the deep-fried shrimp onto a drainer

Crispy-fried shrimp, removed from the wok

The finished dish: Garlic-Peppered Shrimp - กุ้งกระเทียมพริกไทย (Goong Kratiem Prik Thai)

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Written by Michael Babcock, September 2012

Thai Noodles – An Amazing Variety

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Many people who have not been to Thailand or who have not taken Kasma Loha-unchit’s cooking classes think that Pad Thai is the best of a small number of Thai noodle dishes. However, just as restaurants here in the U.S. serve a very small percentage of the Thai dishes available in Thailand, so do they short-change the incredible number of noodle dishes found in Thailand. Here we highlight 28, just a fraction of the plethora of Thai noodle dishes available.

Kanom Jeen

Kanom Jeen Nam Ya

Many dishes shown here are nearly impossible to find in U.S. restaurants; the only way to taste them all is to find them in Thailand or take all of Kasma’s Thai cooking classes – Kasma teaches her version of virtually all of them somewhere in her Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced series classes or during her Beginning/Intermediate and Advanced weeklong classes. You’ll sample many on Kasma’s small-group tours to Thailand; often people who have gone on her trips come to take the classes so that they can make the unforgettable foods they ate during the trip. You may find that the same dishes may taste a bit different in Thailand. For instance, the noodles in the picture to the left are traditionally made from a fermented rice noodle that is difficult to find in western countries so the unfermented variety is substituted.

Just as with any Thai dish, any particular noodle dish varies with the cook so you’ll come across different versions as you travel in Thailand or learn to make your own versions from class.

Look at the pictures and be prepared to get hungry!


Please comment at the bottom of the page!! What is your favorite Thai noodle dish? What noodle dishes shown here look the most appetizing? What dishes here that are new to you do you want to try?


Note: All pictures are Copyright by Kasma Loha-unchit & Michael Babcock.

Please do not use without permission.


Click on any picture to see a larger version. There is a slide show of all images at the bottom of the page.

Roast Duck Noodles

Roast Duck Noodles

Boat Noodles

Boat Noodles

To the left we see Roast Duck Noodles from my favorite duck noodle shop in Thong Lo (pronounced “tawng law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55). This dish uses what the Thais call บะหมี่ (ba mee) – egg noodles made with wheat. As with virtually all noodle dishes, they are assembled to order and then served. You’ll need to use the condiment set noodle shops have at the table to add sour, salty, sweet and (for me, at least) ground dried red chillies to add some heat.

The bowl on the right is known in short as “Boat Noodles” – so-called because of the origin, being sold by vendor boats on the canals. When you get ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua), expect beef noodles in a rich beef broth, usually strengthened with beef blood and organ meats. This version here, from one of Kasma’s advanced cooking classes, includes tripe and tendons. Sometimes in the cities you’ll find a storefront noodle shop with a wooden boat outside to advertise that they make boat noodles. There are even shops where noodles are made to order with the cook sitting in a wooden boat just like he or she used to do on the canals before moving the operation onto dry land. This noodle dish usually uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai).

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

These two pictures of Stewed Beef Noodles show you how a noodle dish with the same name can vary from place to place. The bowl on the left is Stewed Beef Noodles had at a small roadside stall in rural Kalasin in northeastern Thailand (Isan) on one of Kasma’s Trip D. It includes beef balls (dumplings) and tendons (in the very center). The bowl on the right has the same name – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) – and is from a Muslim noodle shop in Krabi (in the south) during Kasma’s Trip C. Every place makes noodles just a little bit differently. Check out Kasma’s blog Beef Noodle Soup.

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

This is Kasma’s version of what she calls “Drunkard’s Noodles” – Spicy Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chillies and Holy Basil – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Pad Kee Mao). It is sometimes inaccurately called by some as “Drunken Noodles,” which implies the noodles are cooked with alcohol, when they are not; but the words ขี้เมา – kee mao – actually refer to a person who likes to drink or get drunk. It is so called because the noodles are made so spicy-hot that it makes you want to drink lots of beer (or rice whiskey/rum mixed with soda water over ice – popular among Thai men) to quench the heat. It’s a stir-fried dish with the wide, fresh rice noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ – kway teow sen yai). When we cook it at home (I’ll cook it myself when Kasma’s away) we use ground pastured pork from the Berkeley Farmer’s market laden with a good amount of tasty fat. I’ve never found a good enough version of this noodle dish in Thai restaurants in the U.S. I’m always disappointed because invariably the restaurants here use Thai basil – ใบโหระพา (bai horapa) – instead of holy basil – ใบกะเพรา (bai kaprao) and it just doesn’t taste the same. They also never put enough Thai chillies to give the noodles the incendiary heat implied in its name.

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai Noodles

Rad Nah

Rad Nah

On the left is Pad Thai noodles, probably the single “Thai” noodle dish that everyone is familiar with. The name, meaning “stir-fried (pad) in the Thai style (Thai)” indicates that it is not really Thai in origin – see Kasma’s blog on The Origin and Making of Pad Thai.

The dish on the right, ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah) could simply be called “Rice Noodles Topped with a Sauce.” It uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai) – and in this version, from one of Kasma’s cooking classes, the sauce includes chicken and Asian broccoli. It is best served piping hot and to taste really good, you’ll need to add some chillies soaked in vinegar (both chillies and vinegar, or at least some of the vinegar)  to enhance the delicate flavors in the sauce. All noodle dishes in Thailand are served with a condiment set so that you can balance the flavors to your liking. See Michael’s blog on Thai Condiment Sets.

Ayuthaya-Style Noodles

Ayuthaya-Style Noodles

Muslim Beef Noodles

Muslim Beef Noodles

There are certain noodle dishes that are particular to a region or place. Kasma teaches the Spicy Ayuthaya-style Chicken Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่อยุธยา (Kway Teow Gai Ayuthaya) –  in an Advanced cooking class – it is a hot-and-sour dish, made here with a pastured, free-range chicken, and uses daikon radish to add sweetness to the broth, garlic oil to add fragrance and pickled Thai chillies in vinegar to add the hot-and-sour flavors. It can be made either as soup or dry-style.

The Thai Muslim Curry Beef Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแขก (Kway Teow Kaek) to the right is Kasma’s version of a dish from southern Thailand, where there is a large Muslim population. Rice noodles (in this version) or egg noodles are served in a rich, red curry sauce sprinkled with green onions, fried shallots, cilantro and coarsely ground dried shrimp and peanuts. Yum!

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Here are two versions of Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย), a northern Thailand curried noodle dish, rich and delicious. To the left we see Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Chicken and Condiments – ข้าวซอยไก่ (Khao Soi Gai) – from Kasma’s Advanced Set B evening series. To the right we see the same dish made with beef – ข้าวซอยเนื้อ (Khao Soi Neua) – from a noodle shop in Lampang. Soft, boiled egg noodles are topped with contrasting crispy fried noodles, which add an interesting crunch and texture. It is served with a plate of shallots and pickled vegetables, to be stirred into the noodles as desired, and lime wedges, to be squeezed in to add a sour flavor. It is also accompanied by fried chilli oil (visible in Kasma’s version to the left); the roasted, fried chillies add both heat and an interesting roasted flavor. Just be sure to taste the dish first! In Lampang I invariably forget that the dish is already fairly spicy/hot and after stirring in the chilli oil, it gets very hot indeed! See Kasma’s article on Northern Style Thai Noodles.

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Kway Chap

Kway Chap

To the left we see Stewed Duck Soup Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเป็ดน้ำ (Kway Teow Bed Nam),  a common soup noodle made in small noodle shops run by ethnic Chinese throughout the country. To the right is Kway Chap – ก๋วยจั๊บ – this particular bowl from a Mae Hong Son noodle shop near the morning market that’s run by ethnic Vietnamese Chinese who’ve settled in the area; it is made from flat rectangular or triangular rice noodles that curl into a tube when they are boiled. It is served in a rich pork broth that usually includes innards and congealed pork blood, which you can see in this bowl right in front of the spoon. Both these noodle dishes are Chinese-influenced and are flavored with either star anise or five-spice and often also with Asian cinnamon.

Kanom Jeen

Kanom Jeen Nam Ya

Kanom Jeen, Chicken

Kanom Jeen, Fried Chicken

Here are two versions of the southern-style ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) made with fermented rice noodles. ขนมจีน (kanom jeen), a round noodle a bit smaller than spaghetti, is perhaps the only kind of rice noodle in Thailand that is not Chinese in origin; they most likely originated with the Mon ethnic group, whose forbears ruled a large part of mainland Southeast Asia from the 8th to the 11th centuries before the Khmer empire rose to power. The yellow sauce is a fish-based sauce called น้ำยา (nam ya) and  the southern Thai version is shown here. The photo on the left is from Krua Nakhon (now Wang Derm) Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand; it is served with a large  platter of fresh and pickled vegetables and herbs (seen behind the plate), something that accompanies nearly all spicy meals in the south. The dish on the right is from a shop in a small town south of the city of Krabi, that makes its own fresh noodles from scratch with fermented rice dough as is traditionally done; they also serve a crispy and very delicious fried chicken which goes well with the spicy noodles. (We visit this shop on Kasma’s Trip A & C).

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew) – Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce –
is another well-known Chinese-influenced Thai stir-fried noodle dish. It means, literally, “stir-fried with soy sauce.” Here are two versions. The picture on the left is taken at a small noodle shop south of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where we stop for a quick lunch on the way to Songkla on our Trip C. The second is taken on Poda Island (เกาะปอดะ – Koh Poda) in Krabi province, where the noodle is one of our breakfasts with a tour group; the noodle already has ground dried red chillies added from the ubiquitous condiment set at the table so that the diner can balance flavors as desired. This dish uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai).

Mee Krob

Mee Krob

Rice Noodle Soup

Rice Noodle Soup

The Mee Krob (หมี่กรอบ – Glazed Crispy Noodles) to the left is from Kasma’s Beginning/Intermediate weeklong class (she also teaches it in her Intermediate evening series). Her version is less sweet than most and has a slight orange flavor from grated orange zest. It uses the thin, dried rice-stick noodles- mei fun in Chinese and sen mee (เส้นหมี่) in Thai. The bowl to the right contains Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings and Pork – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำลูกชิ้นปลา (Kway Teow Nam Loogchin Pla) – from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. These are two very different noodle dishes!

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Here are two pictures of the same Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำต้มยำ (Kway Teow Nam Tom Yum) – made on a boat at Damnoen Saduak floating market. The noodles are spicy/hot and sour, and include pork and shrimp dumplings. The bowl on the left is the bowl as it is served, fresh from the vendor; the bowl on the right is how it looks ready to eat, after the noodles have been stirred in. Skinny fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นเล็ก (kway teow sen lek) are used here.

Hot & Sour Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Like many noodles, tom yum (ต้มยำ – hot-and-sour) noodles can be served either as soup noodles (as with the two from Damnoen Saduak above) or dry. Here are two versions of tom yum haeng (ต้มยำแห้ง) – dry-style tom yum noodles. To the left is the Dry Hot-and-Sour Noodles with Fish and Fish Dumplings – เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้งปลา (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng Pla) from a noodle shop in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai. To the right we see Hot-and-Sour Dry Rice Noodles with Pork – เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้งหมู (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng Moo); it is Kasma’s version from her evening Advanced Class C. Be warned, this noodle is a very spicy/hot dish!

Fish Dumpling Noodles

Fish Dumpling Noodles

Making Noodles

Making Noodles

To the left is another bowl of soup noodles: Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำลูกชิ้นปลา (Kway Teow Nam Loogchin Pla) – from a popular noodle shop on Sukhumvit Road near Thong Lo (pronounced “Tawng Law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55); Kasma’s small-group trips to Thailand go there for a noodle breakfast.

The picture to the right shows the set-up in Kasma’s weeklong Advanced Menu D to assemble Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai). All the fixings are laid out and ready to assemble.

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Two versions of the Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) are shown here from different noodle shops in Sukhothai province; every shop makes it just a little bit different. This is a delicious noodle dish – hot, sour and sweet with various goodies (pork cracklings, peanuts and more) to add texture as well as flavor. It has become a favorite noodle dish among many of Kasma’s trip members, easily surpassing Pad Thai as the best-tasting Thai noodle dish they’ve ever had. It’s very important to get just the right balance of flavors. Notice the lump of palm sugar in each bowl: this is something I’ve seen in no other noodle dish (which doesn’t mean there aren’t other dishes that use it). Before eating, everything is tossed together well, dissolving the palm sugar and mixing it in with the lime juice and other seasonings. To see more pictures, check out our Facebook album on Sukhothai noodles.

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

The dish shown in these two pictures uses mung bean sheet noodles, which Thais call “Shanghai noodles” – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ (kway teow Sianghai)) – made from mung bean starch (nowadays also mixed with potato starch) and water. The brittle, dry sheet noodles are soaked to soften, then cut into bite-size rectangles for  cooking. The pictures show Drunkard’s Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao). In the left picture it is being stir-fried in the wok during Kasma’s evening Advanced Set G class; to the right, it is plated and ready to enjoy.

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Here are two versions of Stewed Duck Noodle Soup – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon). The bowl on the left is from Kasma’s evening Advanced Set B Class (she also teaches it in her weeklong Beginning/Intermediate class.) The bowl on the right includes duck blood and is from a noodle shop in the Sukhothai morning market. As before, you can see how dishes with the same name and mostly the same ingredients can vary.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Tossing Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Noodles are also used to make dishes that accompany other dishes in a rice-based meal, in this case a yum (ยำ)-style salad – Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad – ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen). It uses the bean thread noodles (วุ้นเส้น – woon sen), sometimes also called “cellophane” or “glass” noodles. They are made from mung beans though in this case they are extruded into thin threads rather than made into sheets like those used in the dish above. The first picture shows the salad being tossed in Kasma’s evening Advanced Set H class (also taught in the weeklong Advanced Set B) and the second shows a close-up of the finished dish.

Lahb Woon Sen

Lahb Woon Sen

On the left is another example of a salad made with mung bean thread (วุ้นเส้น – woon sen) noodles. It shows Northeastern-Style Spicy Bean Thread Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice – ลาบวุ้นเส้น (Lahb Woon Sen) – from Kasma’s evening Advanced Set B class. (It is also taught in weeklong Advanced Set D.) Like a lot of northeastern Thai salads, it is spicy/hot from lots of ground, roasted dried Thai chillies; ground, toasted rice adds another dimension to this salad.

Kanom Jeen Sao Nam

Kanom Jeen Sao Nam

The picture on the right shows a very different type of kanom jeen (ขนมจีน) noodle dish from the spicy southern Kanom Jeen Nam Ya (ขนมจีนน้ำยา) pictured further above. This dish is Spicy Rice Vermicelli Salad with Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut-Lime Sauce – ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ (Kanom Jeen Sao Nam), which originated in Bangkok to serve at room temperature during the hot months of the year. The version here is from Kasma’s evening Advanced Set C class.

Mee Kati

Mee Kati

Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles

The dish on the left is another noodle dish using coconut cream; it is Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce – หมี่กะทิ (Mee Kati) – from
Kasma’s evening Advanced Set C class. It is served with banana blossom, which, by itself, has a very astringent flavor, but when chewed along with the noodles, the astringency becomes hidden by the richness of the coconut cream. Mee Kati is an excellent complement to the blossom and through some mysterious alchemy the two tastes marvelous together.

And last, but not least, is a dish that Kasma teaches in both her evening Beginning series and her Beginning/Intermediate weeklong class. She calls it Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) – บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Ba Mee Haeng Moo Daeng), and it’s become a favorite among many of her students. It uses บะหมี่ (ba mee) egg noodles made with wheat and has a delightfully mellow garlic flavor. This is a dish that can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold out of the refrigerator, which make it perfect for potlucks. I made it for a potluck quite soon after I first took Kasma’s beginning series, two decades ago; the people at the party devoured it quickly and it was the first dish to disappear.


I hope that you’ve enjoyed this brief survey of some of the noodle dishes that Thailand has to offer. Hopefully you’ll get a chance soon to sample some of the ones that are new to you – though you may need to travel to Thailand or come here to Oakland, California and take a few classes to do so!


Thai Noodle Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow
or click “Next” for the next slide.

Kanom Jeen
Roast Duck Noodles
Boat Noodles
Stewed Beef Noodles
Stewed Beef Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles
Rad Nah
Ayuthaya-Style Noodles
Muslim Beef Noodles
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles
Kway Chap
Northern Curry Noodles
Northern Curry Noodles
Kanom Jeen
Kanom Jeen, Chicken
Pad Si-ew
Pad Si-ew
Mee Krob
Rice Noodle Soup
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles
Hot & Sour Noodles
Hot & Sour Dry Noodles
Fish Dumpling Noodles
Making Noodles
Sukhothai Noodles
Sukhothai Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Stewed Duck Noodle Soup
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad
Lahb Woon Sen
Kanom Jeen Sao Nam
Mee Kati
Garlic Noodles

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from Wang Derm Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Egg Noodles Topped with Roast Duck – บะหมี่เป็ดแห้ง (Ba Mee Bed Haeng) - from a noodle shop on Thong Lo (pronounced "Tawng Law" - Sukhumvit Soi 55).

Stewed Beef Soup Noodles with Tripe and Tendons – "Boat Noodles" - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua) - from Kasma's Weeklong Advanced Set A.

Stewed Beef with Tendons and Beef Ball Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) - at a noodle shop near the Sirindhorn Dinasaur Museum in Kalasin, northeastern Thailand (Isan).

Stewed Beef Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) - from a Muslim noodle shop near Ao Nang in Krabi.

Spicy Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chillies and Holy Basil - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Pad Kee Mao) - cooked by Kasma for her own enjoyment! This is my favorite noodle dish. It MUST be made with holy basil (bai kaprao) and it MUST be very, very spicy.

"Thai-style" Stir-fried Noodles - ผัดไท (Pad Thai) - from Kasma's 4th Beginning Evening Class.

Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah) - from Kasma's Beginning evening Series (class #4).

Spicy Ayuthaya-Style Chicken Rice Noodles (Soup) - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่อยุธยา (Kway Teow Gai Ayuthaya) - Kasma's version from her evening Advanced Set G class.

Thai Muslim Curry Beef Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแขก (Kway Teow Kaek) - This is from Kasma's evening Advanced Set D.

Stewed duck Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเป็ดน้ำ (Kway Teow Bed Nam) - from a noodle shop in Udon, northeastern Thailand (Isan).

Kway Chap - ก๋วยจั๊บ - from a restaurant near the morning market in Mae Hong Son.

Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Chicken and Condiments - ข้าวซอยไก่ (Khao Soi Gai) - from Kasma's Advanced Set B evening series.

Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Beef and Condiments - ข้าวซอยเนื้อ (Khao Soi Neua) - from a noodle shop in Lampang. The vegetables on the back plate are stirred into the noodles as desired.

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from Krua Nakhon (now Wang Derm) Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from a shop in Krabi province that makes their own Kanom Jeen rice noodles on the premises and serves it with delicious fried chicken.

Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew ) - from Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew) - from Poda Island (Koh Poda) in Krabi.

Glazed Crispy Noodles - หมี่กรอบ (Mee Krob) - Kasma teaches this in her Intermediate Evening Series as well as the Beginning/Intermediate weeklong intensive course; her version is less sweet than most.

Rice Noodle Soup with fish dumplings and pork - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำ (Kway Teow Nam) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ (Kway Teow Tom Yum) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ (Kway Teow Tom Yum) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Dry Hot-and-Sour Noodles with Fish and Fish Dumplings - เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้ง (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng) - from a noodle shop in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai.

Hot-and-sour Dry Rice Noodles with Pork - เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้ง (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng). This photograph is from Kasma's Advanced Class C-1.

Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลูกชิ้นปลา Kway Teow Look Chin Pla) - from a noodle shop on Sukhumvit Road near Thong Lo (pronounced "Tawng Law" - Sukhumvit Soi 55). Kasma takes her trips there for a noodle breakfast.

Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - students in Kasma's Weeklong Advanced Set D have the fixings for Sukhothai noodles laid out and ready to assemble.

Sukhothai Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - from a noodle shop in Si Satchanalai in Sukhothai province.

Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - from a noodle shop in Sukhothai.

Drunkard's Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao) - shown in the wok during Kasma's evening Advanced Set G class.

Drunkard's Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao) - the finished dish from Kasma's Advanced Set G evening class.

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon) - from Kasma's evening Advanced Set B.

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon) - with duck blood, from a noodle shop in the Sukhothai morning market.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad - ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen) - being tossed in Kasma's weeklong Advanced Set B.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad - ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen) - from Kasma's weeklong Advanced Set B.

Northeastern-Style Spicy Bean Thread Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice - ลาบวุ้นเส้น (Lahb Woon Sen) - from Kasma's evening Advanced Set B.

Spicy Rice Vermicelli Salad with Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut-Lime Sauce - ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ (Kanom Jeen Sao Nam) - From Kasma's evening Advanced Set A.

Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce - หมี่กะทิ (Mee Kati) - From Kasma's evening Advanced Set C.

Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) - บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Ba Mee Haeng Moo Daeng) - Kasma teaches this dish in her Beginning Evening series and in the weeklong First Week class.

Kanom Jeen thumbnail
Roast Duck Noodles thumbnail
Boat Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Beef Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Beef Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Pad Thai Noodles thumbnail
Rad Nah thumbnail
Ayuthaya-Style Noodles thumbnail
Muslim Beef Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles thumbnail
Kway Chap thumbnail
Northern Curry Noodles thumbnail
Northern Curry Noodles thumbnail
Kanom Jeen thumbnail
Kanom Jeen, Chicken thumbnail
Pad Si-ew thumbnail
Pad Si-ew thumbnail
Mee Krob thumbnail
Rice Noodle Soup thumbnail
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Dry Noodles thumbnail
Fish Dumpling Noodles thumbnail
Making Noodles thumbnail
Sukhothai Noodles thumbnail
Sukhothai Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Duck Noodle Soup thumbnail
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles thumbnail
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad thumbnail
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad thumbnail
Lahb Woon Sen thumbnail
Kanom Jeen Sao Nam thumbnail
Mee Kati thumbnail
Garlic Noodles thumbnail

Here’s a site that talks about the various types of Thai noodles:


Written by Michael Babcock (with help from Kasma), August 2012

Beginning Thai Cooking with Kasma, Class #2

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Kasma Loha-unchit teaches a beginning series of 4 Thai cooking classes several times a year. This is my blog on the second of those four classes, exploring how the classes take place and what delicious Thai dishes are served. Kasma has been teaching Thai cooking to U.S. students since 1985.

Kasma Teaching

Kasma goes over recipes

I’ve already blogged about the first class – Beginning Thai Cooking with Kasma, Class #1. The second session has another 4 recipes, picked in part to allow Kasma to introduce more essential Thai ingredients. Like all classes, this one began with Kasma going over the recipes and introducing any new ingredients or techniques in the recipes. This class includes 4 very popular Thai dishes so there is lots to discuss.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Prepping Food

Students prepping ingredients

Students at Work

Cutting banana leaves

For the next part of the session, students are divided into teams to work on the individual recipes. They chop and mince, pluck basil leaves and do all of the prep work for the recipe they are working on. This class also includes Haw Mok, the popular fish curry dish that is served in banana leaf baskets, so Kasma spends some time demonstrating how to cut the banana leaves and then how to fold them into the basket; then each student makes their own basket, to be filled later. (See slide show, below.)

Adding Lard

Adding lard to season a wok

Seasoning Wok

Seasoning a wok

In this second session, Kasma also goes over the process of how to season a wok. Kasma’s preferred woks are round-bottom, spun steel woks of a reasonably heavy gauge; carbon steel woks are an acceptable substitute. She prefers the kind with two metal “ears,” finding that the woks with a single long wooden handle are too unstable. Just as with cast iron, spun steel woks have to be “seasoned” before use. After the machine coating on a new wok is removed, Kasma heats the wok on high heat and then spreads it with lard (the absolute best fat for seasoning a wok), which is baked into the steel and provides a protective covering. Kasma’s classes are filled with practical demonstrations and information of this type.

Student Stir-fries

Student stir-frying vegetables

Ready to Eat

Ready to Eat

The last part of the class is taken up with cooking the prepped recipes and (of course!) eating. Kasma’s class are set up so that everyone can watch the final food cooking. The cooking is done sometimes by Kasma and often by students, under her supervision. She often asks for volunteers: if you take a class, don’t be shy! You have the chance to have a master cook show you how to cook delicious Thai food.

Of course, the best part of the class is the feast at the end. Unlike many cooking classes, here you get a full meal, not just a small tasting of each dish.

Beginning Thai Series Class #2 Menu

Hot & Sour Soup

Hot & Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Prawn Soup – ต้มยำกุ้ง (Tom Yum Goong): Hot & Sour Soup (Tom Yum) is one the best known Thai soups. In Thailand you can get a tom yum based soup with many things: from shrimp to crispy-fried fish. Kasma’s version uses shrimp and is just as described – hot (spicy) and sour;  the heat is from chillies and the sour is from lime juice  with lemon grass and galanga providing an herbal background. Delicious!

You can see Kasma’s recipe here: Hot and Sour Prawn Soup – (Tom Yum Goong)

How Mok Pla

Red Curried Fish Mousse

Curried Mousse of Red Snapper in Banana Leaf Cups – ห่อหมกปลา (How Mok Pla): Haw Mok is another quintessential Thai dish, though other countries (such as Cambodia) have their own versions. In some restaurants they have mixed seafood Haw Mok, sometimes served in hollowed-out young coconuts but it is more usual to see this dish steamed in banana-leaf baskets, such as we see here. This is a dish that, in Thailand, you’ll find both in the markets, where people buy them as “take-out,” and in restaurants. Kasma’s version here uses fresh red snapper. As you can see, it’s a dish that presents very well. Another advantage is that you can prepare it in advance and then re-heat it prior to serving. In planning a Thai meal, it’s good to have some dishes like this so you don’t have too many stir-fries right before the meal.

Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken

Spicy Basil Chicken – ผัดกะเพราหไก่ (Pad Kaprao Gai): Anything cooked pad kaprao (stir-fried with holy basil) is another essential Thai dish. In Thailand this dish is often served as a one-dish meal over rice, sometimes with a (crispy) fried egg on top. Kasma’s version uses ground chicken, for convenience: in Thailand, often chicken meat would be cut into very small pieces, nearly the equivalent of ground meat. Personally, I prefer this dish using pork and cooked very, very spicy/hot. The recipe as taught here in class is infinitely variable: you can make it with nearly any meat or seafood.

Kasma’s recipe from this class is available online as Spicy Basil Chicken – Gai Pad Kaprao. For variations on the recipe, see the following two blogs:

Oyster Sauce Broccoli

Oyster Sauce Broccoli

Stir-fried Broccoli with Thai Oyster Sauce – บรอคโคลี่ผัดน้ำมันหอย (Broccoli Pad Nam Man Hoi): I find that Asian cuisines are miles ahead of us when it comes to vegetables. Walking through Asian markets I always see a plethora of fresh greens, previously unknown to me (before meeting Kasma, that is). This recipe is what I think of as The Universal Vegetable Recipe. A deceptively easy dish, the main ingredient is Thai oyster sauce; it can be adapted to virtually any vegetable you desire. In class, Kasma makes it with broccoli; it’s the one way I like broccoli. This recipe also got me enjoying cauliflower for the first time in my life.

Also see Michael’s blog on The Universal Vegetable Recipe.


Slideshow – Curried Mousse of Red Snapper

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

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

Kasma Teaching
Cutting Banana Leaf
Making Basket
Finished Baskets
Mixing the Curry
Student Mixing
Adding the Eggs
Curry to Basket
Ready to Steam
Haw Mok Pla

Kasma shows students how to cut banana leaves for the baskets

A bowl is used as a guide to cut a circle in the banana leaf

Here students are assembling the banana leaf baskets

These banana leaf baskets are ready to receive the curry mixture

Here the curry-fish filling is being mixed together

A student finishes off the mixing process

Kasma adds the eggs to the curry mixture

A ladle is used to pour the curry mixture into the banana leaf basket

The Haw Mok are shown in the steamer basket, ready to steam

Here are the Haw Mok, ready to eat served over rice

Kasma Teaching thumbnail
Cutting Banana Leaf thumbnail
Making Basket thumbnail
Finished Baskets thumbnail
Mixing the Curry thumbnail
Student Mixing thumbnail
Adding the Eggs thumbnail
Curry to Basket thumbnail
Ready to Steam thumbnail
Haw Mok Pla thumbnail

See Michael’s blogs on the other three classes in this series:


Written by Michael Babcock, August 2012