OK, now don’t get the wrong impression about this post.
This post has nothing to do with actual poo. 😛I did cook with poo over the weekend, Khun Poo, that is. 😉
Khun Poo’s life story is truly an inspirational tale.
For many years, Poo lived and worked in the Klong Toey slum, cooking and selling food to support her family, making less than 10 dollars each day. Then, a few years back, an Australian family moved into the neighborhood and became regulars at her stand. One day, they offered to help her start a cooking school, so that she could teach others how to prepare her delicious meals. Khun Poo’s delightful manner and flawless instruction took off, and now people from all over the world come to Bangkok just to ‘cook with Poo.’ 😀
She even has her own cookbook and was featured on Food Network with celebrity host, Jamie Oliver.
I signed up for a tour last Saturday, which cost $40, and included roundtrip transportation, market tour, hands-on cooking class, souvenir bag, and four tasty Thai dishes. I took the tour with 15 other people, and we had two guides to show us around the wet market.
By definition, a wet market is a place where live animals are sold, including poultry, reptiles, and fish.
The Klong Toey Wet Market was chaotic, puzzling, and full of surprises around every corner. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. 😉
Look for the rat, hiding under the gray shelf, next to the brown puppy. 😛9:30 AM: men sippin’ on whiskeyDespite the madness of live animals and swarms of people everywhere, everyone at the market was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Just a tip: I wouldn’t wear sandals. The term ‘wet market’ is pretty literal, considering the aisles are covered in muddy water. Yuck!
I didn’t try any crazy foods there either, considering it was 9AM and I could barely stomach coffee at that point. Likewise, the only things we bought for our class were a few Thai fruits and a block of tofu. Yum! 😀
After touring the wet market, we walked over to Khun Poo’s neighborhood to cook in her local kitchen. 🙂
Her kitchen was spotless and the course structure was very well-organized. She presented how to prepare each dish, and then we took turns in two shifts, preparing the food. Since the prep work was already done, each of the dishes only took around 5 minutes to make.
Dish #1: Lemongrass Salad
- Lime, spring onion, lemongrass, red onion, and chilis
To prepare, boil minced chicken, then cook with fish sauce and vegetables. Lastly, top with peanuts and roasted coconut.
Dish #2: Shrimp Pad Thai
- Spring onion, bean sprouts, red onion, egg and rice noodles
To prepare, brown tofu, cook shrimp, and add rice noodles with water to soften. Add one spoonful each of sugar, dried shrimp, sweet radish, fish sauce and vinegar. Finally, add vegetables, and garnish with peanuts, chili and lime. Yum! 😀
Dish #3: Massaman Curry
Prepare spices by roasting cardamom, fennel, clove, white pepper, and coriander. Muddle into fine powder with ground cinnamon.Saute garlic, ginger, and onion with coconut oil.
Mash the onion and garlic with the ground spices, then cook in a pan with coconut oil.
Voilà! Thai curry paste. 🙂 Set aside this curry paste. Chop onion and potato, then boil peanuts.Cook a dollop of curry paste with coconut milk.Add the onions, potatoes, boiled peanuts, fish sauce, and tamarind sauce, then simmer.Serve with jasmine rice.
The last dish was dessert. We had fresh Thai fruits and mango sticky rice.
The mango sticky rice is made with coconut milk and sugar, then garnished with fresh mango and sesame seeds. Souvenir baggie filled with recipe cards 🙂Khun Poo’s business has helped not only her family, but her entire community, as the cooking school employs countless families in her impoverished neighborhood.
I cooked with Poo, and you can too! 😀Finally, I’ll end today’s post on a spectacular note, with shots of the exquisite Mariamman Temple in Bangkok.I also made a video of my day with Khun Poo. You’ll learn a bit more about public transit in Bangkok, followed by the wet market tour, and finally the cooking class.
As always, my videography skills are a work in progress. 😉
Hope you enjoy! 😀