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Lesverslag

Dit is een verslag van een cursist (Helena Turner-Keizer). Zij maakt deel uit van de Professional Women Association. Ik heb twee kooklessen aan hen gegeven. Het was een geweldige ervaring om deze aardige en intelligente vrouwen te ontmoeten.

On Saturday afternoon, November 29, five novice Thai cooks (four Women! Professionals! plus one partner) gathered at the home of Marie Heisler to learn how to prepare a delicious four-course Thai dinner.

Umaporn Sangjan, our teacher, is a recent immigrant to the Netherlands from Thailand. She learned authentic Thai cookery the traditional way ... by helping her mother and is now busy teaching westerners how to cook real Thai dishes in the same way..."learning by doing".

Before we rolled our sleeves up to start preparing the ingredients, Umaporn introduced us to the philosophy of Thai Cooking (adding ingredients by taste not by measuring, then adjusting the spiciness individually at the table - important for the European palate which may be used to milder spices).

She explained that Thai cooking is based on the harmony and contrast of four flavours: sour, sweet, creamy and salty. Our lesson provided us a delicious experience with each of these principles.

Soon each of her eager students were engaged in the hands-on business of cleaning and chopping the greens and other ingredients for the four dishes: Thai fish cake (Tod Man), Thai spicy beef salad (Yum Nua), Thai hot and sour prawn soup (Tom Yum Koong) and Red curry chicken with bamboo shoot (Khang Dang Kai Met Bamboo shoot).

Each student then took a turn at the stove to cook one of the dishes while the others lent moral support but also enjoying our wine and a chance to chat with the other students.

Umaporn supervised each of her students, making sure that we learned how to apply the simple but effective Thai manner of cooking by taste-testing flavours. Her ready smile and encouraging manner made each one of us feel like comfortable and self-confident cooks.

Very quickly everything was ready and we sat down to enjoy a wonderful Thai feast with our teacher, who generously praised our efforts while answering our many questions about her far-off homeland.

Since each student received a take-home set of the four recipes, complete with colour photos and cooking instructions, I think it won't be long before we put our Thai cooking lesson to good use in our own kitchens.

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