As I have previously mentioned, Matt has been doing his PADI Open Water Qualification over the last few days and I have been entertaining myself. I have wanted to do a Thai cooking class since we first arrived in Bangkok in January and had a quick google to see if there were any in Koh Tao that I could attend. Thankfully there was – Cooking with Joy is a cooking class run by a lovely Thai lady name Joy, who now lives on Koh Tao with her German husband and their 3 year old child. When I booked the class she was based near the main pier in Koh Tao, however from the 11th March 2017 she will move to Sairee Beach. A quick email confirmed that there was a slot open for the following afternoon and I jumped at the chance of three occupied hours!
When I arrived at 2pm Joy introduced herself and informed me that another girl would be joining us, this was great as she was from New Zealand and as we are heading there in a mere few days it was a great opportunity to gain some tips!
Joy started off by giving us a huge choice about what we wanted to cook. We chose Spring Rolls, Fried Rice and Massaman Curry; something I have never tried before. We then prepped all the ingredients needed for our dishes, with Joy telling us exactly how to chop and peel the appropriate veg. This was a great start as many cooking classes already have the prep done for you and once you know about Thai cooking, you realise that this is what takes the most time. As we chopped and peeled, we got to know each other a little better; being a small and peaceful setting, the vibe was so relaxed!
Our first dish was spring rolls, which would be the most time consuming dish to make taking around and hour and a half out of the three hour slot. We first fried the veg and rice noodles needed for the spring roll filling, adding pepper and sugar to season. Next we took the spring roll pastry and learned how to wrap the filling tightly without it leaking, we then sealed them with raw egg and got the wok ready for them to be fried.
All together we must have made around 40 spring rolls and the next 15 minutes were sat in silence as I tried my hardest to devour the lot. I have become a little obsessed with spring rolls in the two months I have been in South East Asia and these were particularly good! Two of Joy’s friends arrived for a quick chat and a few spring rolls as well which was both bazaar and lovely; only in Thailand!
Next we tried our hand at Massaman Curry. I do not deal with spice very well and therefore have stayed away from curry where possible out here. I was so shocked at how simple and quick the curry was: potato, chicken, onion, massaman curry paste, coconut milk, water and a lot of sugar. It was quite spicy but I still managed to get through a whole plate of it with rice (by this stage I was very glad I hadn’t eaten lunch).
Last on the list was fried rice, which being Matt’s favourite dish out here I am sure he will be thrilled that I know know how to make it. Already cooked and cooled rice is added to stir-fried veg with dark soy sauce, salt and pepper, an egg and of course the staple of all Thai cuisine – sugar! The dish took about two minutes to make and was so delicious! I managed half a plate of this before admitting defeat!
Joy packed all of the leftover food into tubs for us to take home, ordering us to eat the food that night before it went bad. I left that place with a whole tub of fried rice, a whole tub of curry and rice and 8 spring rolls. This did both myself and Matt for dinner that night which was perfect!
At 5pm Joy gave me a lift back to my resort on her bike as it was on her way home; which was so generous of her! I honestly had the best day learning about Thai cuisine, Koh Tao and its culture and spending an afternoon with two lovely women (male company has its limits at times). I couldn’t recommend this activity enough and I got so much for the money I paid.
If you are ever in Koh Tao and want to something other than scuba diving, you can take a look at Joy’s website here.