I was lucky enough to be invited to a Taste of Thailand class in the School of Wok in Covent Garden and managed to find time to fit it in between university work, exams and before heading off to America for a couple of months. I don’t know much about Asian and Oriental cooking apart from what my order is when I go to the local Chinese takeaway so I was intrigued to find out more about their methods of preparing and cooking food.
After making the mistake of climbing the 191 stairs at Covent Garden station rather than taking the lift, I arrived at the school in a fluster and was greeted warmly with the offer of a glass of wine and some wonderful pork in pastry loveliness fresh from the deep fat fryer.
The brilliant chef, Stephan, started us off with some ‘simple’ knife skills and proceeded to cut a carrot like an absolute pro, dumbfounding me and the rest of the sous-chefs of the evening.
Stephen then ran us through each ingredient we were using in the Thai Green Chicken Curry and explained where we could find them, how to prepare them and why they were used in the curry in terms of taste and colour.
We were then left to our own devices to use our newly found skills to prepare the ingredients.
School of Wok claims that Thai food is all about the pestle and mortar and we will have to take their word for that as we spent a vast amount of time grinding away at our freshly chopped ingredients until they were bound together.
We then set our paste on the side and moved to the kitchen where Stephan ran through how to make the filling of the Thai Spring Rolls. The ingredients for this were already set out beside our cooking stations and then we set about our first heated encounter of the evening.
The next step was to use the curry paste to make the Thai Green Chicken Curry and after enough coconut milk was added along with other herbs, spices and sauces, we left the whole curry to simmer.
We returned back to the front room and as passers by pressed their faces up to the glass in curiosity, we got on with making the spring rolls by hand and glueing them together with our ‘handheld Pritt Stick’ in the form of a banana.
Our spring rolls were magically returned to us a few minutes later after some time to sizzle and we had a quick munch on them before going back to the kitchen.
Then it was finally time for a bit of wok and roll action and we watched as Stephen showed us how Pad Thai is made.
After a quick garnish, we settled down at the table in the front room where a magical fairy had cleaned up after us and set the table for our evening meal, along with more wine!
I can’t recommend School of Wok enough, they keep the class size fairly small (there were 7 people in mine, including me) which adds to the relaxed atmosphere and the intimate way of teaching. Whether you’re just looking for something different and out of your comfort zone to do with a friend or if you have a loved one who is particularly difficult to buy a gift for, it is the perfect evening activity and the time absolutely flies by! Thank you School of Wok for woking my world!