Learning to cook Thai food has always been at the top of my list whenever I’ve thought of visiting Thailand. Thai food is so popular in Australia - we love it! There are at least five Thai restaurants in my suburb at home, and while it’s so easy to order in or pop out for a meal I’ve always wanted to know how to make these delicious, healthy dishes myself. Today we were so lucky to be treated to a super fun and delicious cooking class at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School.
I was especially looking forward to doing this class with Emmie - a little mummy and me treat where we could work together and have fun cooking up a meal. We were both excited - and with my mum joining us in Bangkok there were three of us ready to learn to make a Thai meal together.
There are a few things that stand out about Bai Pai. One is that the classes are held in the grounds of its beautiful school in Bangkok, in a traditional style Thai house with a lovely garden, pond with tilapia fish, outdoor sitting areas and open breezy rooms on the ground floor. The main house and dining room sit on stilts above, with open sides, sitting areas and more cooling breezes.
Wooden swings and seats, carvings, frangipanis and fragrant flowers fill the garden - the atmosphere is calming and authentic and it was so lovely to have space and breeze and openness when cooking up our meal.
The other awesome thing about Bai Pai is that children are welcomed with open arms and encouraged to visit especially if they have an interest in cooking. Kids over five can join any class with an adult alongside them - perfect for a mummy and me bonding session or a fun family activity.
Bai Pai manager Yui said the team loves encouraging children to join in and learn how to make Thai cuisine.
“Children learn so much in our classes and we will help them with chopping and mixing and make sure they enjoy their time with us. They feel so proud when they cook their meal and they can eat what they’ve made,” she said.
Aprons on (mum actually left with hers thinking it was a gift, apologies Bai Pai) and hand towel at our side, the class started with an introduction to Thai herbs in the garden. We tasted galangal, holy basil, sweet basil and other Thai cooking essentials - lemongrass a fave of all three Farrell girls.
We then learnt about preparing coconut milk and coconut cream, grating the flesh from an old coconut using traditional tools, and then squeezing the cream and milk from the shreds. This is how we would make the base for our egg custard.
With our recipe cards we sat down at the prep table in a u-shape around the chef’s demonstration area. Chef Puu led us through the steps for each dish, and an angled mirror above her ensured we could see exactly what was happening in front of her.
Our egg custard was made a left to steam cook while we moved onto Emmie’s favourite dish. Golden bags! We created a mixture of minced pork, pepper, garlic, coriander, water chestnut and onion, and then plonked a teaspoon-sized heap into the centre of a round spring roll sheet, folding it up to make the bag and tying it with a piece of pandanus leaf. Surprisingly easy!
Each completed bag was rested on a base of flour and once completed we moved to our cooking station where we dropped them into oil, stirring with a thin bamboo stick until they were golden. Our first meal break! We sat down and devoured our four golden bags each, with cucumber and sweet and sour sauce. Em gobbled all of hers down, which I loooove seeing. She can be fussy, but her golden bags were gone in minutes,
Next up was Tom Yum soup with prawns and then a green curry chicken. These dishes were so easy to make under the instruction of Chef Puu and Yui who helped Emmie along the way, praising her and making her feel special and part of the team.
As Chef Puu finished each demonstration we were given a big portion of her dish to taste before we attempted our own. I reckon my Tom Yum soup was on par with hers (hahah) it was delicious and now that I’ve seen how it can be done I am pretty sure that by following the recipe we were given I’ll be able to make it again. Em doesn't like soup - or prawns - and that was okay with Chef Puu and Yui. They offered her alternatives but she wanted a break and so while we cooked our soup Emmie played in the garden, watched by the staff, and then returned to mix curry paste and make our next dish.
Mistakes will happen! I added too much cumin into my green curry paste, making a pretty unappetising glug which Yui kindly removed without a fuss and replaced with a properly made paste - saving my green curry and ensuring I had a delicious meal to enjoy when we took it, our final dish, upstairs to the dining room to eat. As Emmie doesn't like spicy food the staff had also prepared her a yummy chicken and fried rice dish to eat instead which she hoovered up while we ate our hot curry. Everyone was happy!
Around five hours after we arrived at the school we were finished with our lesson. We had eaten so much delicious Thai food that we had prepared ourselves, learnt how simple and fresh Thai food is and that we could definitely cook these dishes over and over again at home.
“If you have any difficulties please let us know so we can help you,” said Yui.
When people love cooking and creating fabulous meals they want you to love it too - and we did! We had a wonderful family morning together with beautiful people in a relaxed and laid back environment, where Emmie was treated with kindness and helped to be her best.
I couldn't have asked for more.
8/91 Ngam Wongwan Road, Soi 54
Ladyao, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Ph : 02-5611404
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Morning Class: 09:30 - 13:30 hrs
Afternoon Class: 13:30 - 17:30 hrs
Classes cost around 2000 TBT per person.
**Emmie and I were guests of the Tourism Authority of Thailand while mum paid full price for her lesson potentially off-set by the apron theft).