Cooking with Poo
You’re heading off to Thailand and you love cooking so you want to do a cooking class. Imagine typing ‘cooking class Bangkok’ into Google and one of the results being ‘Cooking with Poo’.
That happened to me a few years ago, and you better believe I was curious. I clicked the link and was relieved to find that it was most definitely a real cooking class and the money from the class would go back into the community. Win-win.
As it turned out, ‘Poo’ is short for ‘Chompoo’ (rose apple in Thai) a nickname for Khun Saiyuud Diwong. Poo used to cook and sell food from her home in the Klong Toey slums, but when rice became too expensive, a charity assisted her in setting up a cooking class.
The class itself started with a trip to the Klong Toey wet market. If you’re not keen on some of the more rough edges of food markets, you may want to give this bit a miss. There are plenty of amazing ingredients, but it’s an assault on the senses, particularly visually – you’ll see skinned frogs, freshly slaughtered animal (heads and all), and turtles for sale. I definitely told myself the cute turtles were only there for show.
Making Thai green curry
On arriving at the cooking school, we got straight into cooking our dishes – one of which was the green curry. Some of the class was done as a group, but the rest was completed solo. Our group activity for green curry was making the key ingredient – green curry paste. It’s a frangant mix of chilli, garlic, galangal and lemongrass, pounded to release all the flavours. Poo took us through the process and then we all had a go with the pestle and mortar.
After that, it was slicing and preparing the vegetables and meat, ready for the pan. Once you’ve made the paste it’s a surprisingly easy dish to put together.
Thai Green Curry recipe
- 1 tbs kaffir lime rind
- 1 tbs galangal, diced
- 10 green chillies
- 1 tbs lemongrass
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 500ml coconut milk
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 6 tbs fish sauce combined with 1 tbs salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300gr chicken, sliced
- 200gr Thai eggplant (if you can’t get Thai eggplant, you can use any vegetables you like.
- 250ml water
- 20 Thai basil leaves
- Make the curry paste:
- Use a mortar and pestle to crush the lime rind and galangal.
- Add the chilli, lemongrass, garlic and onion and grind until its a paste.
- Put the finished curry paste to a hot pan and cook for a minute or so.
- Add 250ml coconut milk and bring to the boil.
- Add torn kaffir lime leaves.
- Add fish sauce, sugar and chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked.
- Add eggplant and the rest of the coconut milk and water until eggplant is soft.
- Add Thai basil, and stir for one minute.
- Serve with coconut rice.
Top tip: Sometimes it’s hard to get things like galangal, so if you do find it, get more than you need and make a bigger batch of the paste. Store what you don’t use in the freezer.
Cooking with Poo
Poo’s cooking classes are highly rated (and it’s no surprise), so I advise booking well in advance. If you would like to find out more, take a look at the Cooking with Poo website.
For more food adventures in Thailand, have a read of Louise’s recent post about that exact topic.