Yesterday we were whisked by minibus to the outskirts of Bangkok to a Thai Cookery School called Baipai. I thought, when in Rome. And I'd always wanted to know how to cook a proper Pad Thai, one of my favourite dishes, not as easy as you'd imagine considering it's basically a stir fried noodle dish. I've had so many versions of this dish in many Thai restaurants all over the place and have tried to cook it myself plenty of times, restaurants nearly always and my efforts certainly always, disappointing. I wanted to make it the way they cook it in Thailand, it's name, after all, meaning, noodles cooked in the Thai style. Simple enough it would seem.
The thing is, everything hinges around the sauce, getting it right makes the difference between a real Pad Thai and a basic noodle dish. And then of course getting all the ingredients right. Then it actually is simple enough. Baipai has really got it down running it's Thai cookery classes. Everything runs like a well-oiled machine in getting the logistics of having eight people cooking with equipment they have never used before and they manage really well to make it a great experience. Set in beautiful gardens, the Japanese style kitchens were amazing. They use local produce and grow all their own herbs. Including holy basil, something not readily available in Ireland. Apparently the Buddhist monks used to boil this herb, the intense aroma from which was thought to enhance meditation.