The Art of Thai Cooking

Ok, so this is a less-than-typical EmaBee post – it’s about food and cooking. But in my book, cooking is just as much an art form as is painting and clay sculpture – especially since all of my cooking is generally without a recipe, or at least very loosely followed.

This past weekend’s adventure was cooking a four-course Thai dinner for 20 people as a fundraiser dinner for the Rotary Club of Annapolis, the club that sponsored me for the last summer’s Rotary Peace Fellowship in Bangkok, Thailand. (You may remember the many posts about my summer adventure.) I am deeply grateful to Rotary for providing me with this opportunity, and was thrilled to be able to give back to the community that has supported me so much. Though, I have one small confession…before doing the test run on Friday night, I had only ever cooked Thai food once, through a cooking class when I was in Chiang Mai over the summer.

The menu was:

  • fresh spring rolls*
  • green papaya salad
  • green curry chicken, with sticky rice
  • mango sticky rice dessert

Last week, I went to several different grocery stores, did some test cooking in my kitchen the few days before, adjusted the recipes, and then spent a total of about 10 hours chopping and preparing.

Sunday evening, I did a bit of a demonstration while I cooked, explaining different ingredients and cooking techniques – calling on the many many many cooking lessons from my dad through the years since I was 7 or 8 doing blind spice-sniffing tests in the kitchen of our old house. I successfully employed one of dad’s most valuable lessons – “if it smells good, it’s going to taste good.” During the dinner event, hosted at the home of a Rotary club member, my amazing sou chef mom helped with chopping, stirring, plating, and serving. It all turned out wonderful….

ingredients for the four-course Thai dinner for 20

ingredients for the four-course Thai dinner for 20, prepping in my kitchen

coconut carnage - making of homemade coconut milk for thai cooking

coconut carnage – making of homemade coconut milk for thai cooking

homemade thai green curry paste

homemade thai green curry paste

thai green papaya salad - from the test kitchen

thai green papaya salad – from the test kitchen

thai green curry chicken - from the test kitchen

thai green curry chicken – from the test kitchen

*(I used a Vietnamese springroll recipe, actually, since most Thai spring rolls are fried and I wasn’t up for deep frying)

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