It’s A-OK

Aimee and I started taking a Thai cooking class last week in Oakland. The class meets for 4 hours each monday for 4 weeks. The first week was two curries, a hot and sour stir-fry, and coconut/banana dessert. The teacher, Kasma Loha-unchit has a comfortable philosophy and approach. Previous students have reported that:

The classes provided a great foundation. I learned all the main ingredients, the basic ways to work with them, and came away with a base set of recipes that I knew worked. Perhaps most important, I was beginning to understand the concept of harmonizing primary flavors.

One great aspect of the class is all the tasting we get to do. While making the curry, we initially tasted the base paste, then took incremental tastes as the sugar, salt and other core flavors were added. This approach gives an understanding of how all the elements fit together, instead of just learning color-by-numbers recipes.

In addition to the incremental tastings during cooking, we are also learning how to shop at the market. We examinded Fish Sauces and Coconut Milk last week. Kasma has about eight varieties of canned coconut milk. We opened them all as tasted. It was amazing how much variety there was from one to the next. Some were very light, others were nearly solid. There are two or more brands that look almost identical. One is the worst of the bunch, the other is the best available product. The good one has A OK in the middle of it’s name; the bad one ends with DOC. Remember, one is A-OK while the bad one will send you to the DOCtor. They are both pitured here:

Good (It’s A-OK!)

The Good: It's A-OK!

Bad (Will send you to the DOCtor)

The Bad: Will send you to the DOCtor