28 February 2018
Somtam Special Cook-up Session
Well the “Foodies” in Bangkok did indeed unite and there was plenty to scoff at our special cook-up session this past Friday night. We’re very lucky at The Knowledge to be involved in the education industry where we meet and look after many different nationalities who stay with us, studying on the Thai ED Visa course. For more details, click here Our MC for the evening was the-one-and-only Kru Boss (Head of the Thai language department) and his brilliant team of Cookie, Beau, Bee and To Rung. What some unwitting volunteers may not have been aware of was Kru Boss’s final spice test, which would round of the evening…. but more about this later. (also see video below…) There were about 25 students who were happy to get stuck in and make the traditional Thai papaya salad, better known in the Thai language as the ‘Somtam’, which consists of: raw papaya, carrots, fish sauce, dried shrimps, long green beans, palm sugar, limes, garlic, tomato, unsalted peanuts, chilies, salty boiled eggs and boiled corn. The key method to mix all these ingredients together is to use a trusted pestle and mortar and grind all those yummies together, adding chilies, at will, to taste. Check out the Instagram video here and don’t forget to follow us for more details and insights as they come. Generally speaking, this can be prepared and eaten as a raw salad, which could be compared to the western dish of coleslaw, which as many know is made primarily with cabbage, which is simply subbed for raw papaya in Thailand. Although it is not fair to make any kind of comparison with such different attitudes to cooking and culture, one could certainly mistake the raw papaya for a blander version of raw cabbage, if blind-folded. Where the mayo isn’t used in Thailand (gladly, as it often spoils a great coleslaw) they happily throw in fish sauce and lime juice, together with some super sweet palm sugar for flavour. For vegetarians or vegans, the fish sauce can be dropped for some soy sauce to maintain some moisture. Suffice it to say that the Thai Somtam packs its real punch with the addition of red chilies, as seen here in the grand Spice Test Finale (see video below) with a cash prize going to the winner.
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