When my friend D told me that she was getting married I barely said congratulations before thrusting myself forward and asking (some might say demanding) that I should be in charge of organizing the Asian leg of her hen do. The plan was simple, find a nearby holiday destination that none of us had been too (or spent an extended period of time in) and get her there without her discovering where we were going. Once we had settled on Krabi, I began to look around for fun activities we could do as a group (apart from drinking!) and eventually found “Thai Charm cooking School” online, as we are mostly all keen home cooks I decided that we would spend the first night of the hen party at a lesson there.
Heng, our instructor picked us up at our hotel and drove us around 10 minutes to the school which is located in an open air kitchen under a pretty Thai traditional house and began to explain the menu that we would be preparing that night. I had requested the dishes in advance; Pomelo Salad, Spicy Cucumber Salad, Chicken Laab, Pad Thai, Penang Chicken Curry, Chicken with Ginger and “Tom Zaab” a spicy chicken soup in order to accommodate dietary requirements and favourite dishes of the girls in the group.
Heng was absolutely hysterical and soon put us at ease, explaining each of the ingredients and dishes that we were going to be cooking in a highly entertaining way. We started off by preparing 3 dishes; Tom Zaab, Pad Thai and the Cucumber Salad which we then ate (after a quick dash to 7-11 for some beer) before making a start on the rest of the dishes.
I was particularly impressed with the Pad Thai which is something I have eaten extremely infrequently since moving here; this version definitely reminded me how much I used to enjoy it. We were all pretty full after the first round of dishes to be honest but Hengs enthusiasm was just so contagious we were soon up and making a start on the next lot.
It’s safe to say that I may have got a little carried away with the dried chilli in the Chicken Laab – Heng was more than a little surprised but once I had adjusted the rest of the ingredients it all tasted pretty good in the end! Whilst chicken and ginger is a very simple dish, it’s always interesting to cook stir-frys here in Thailand.
The difference in cooking over a gas flame as opposed to a hob is so marked and as a result I have really learned a lot about basic stir frying since being here. I was still so full, even when preparing the final dish – the Penang curry and so sadly wasn’t able to do the second round of dishes any justice but we certainly had a lot of fun! Thai charm is definitely not the most “gourmet” cookery lesson I’ve ever done but it was the most fun by a long shot. It was the great start to a fun filled Hen weekend and I’m pretty sure my friends enjoyed it as much as I did!