If, like me, you leave a good Thai restaurant wishing you could replicate the meals you have just eaten, at home, then your luck is in. Because Thaikhun on George street has started cookery classes to enlighten us in the art of oriental cookery. So whether it's a spring roll or a green curry that floats your boat, you will now be able to replicate them yourself, in theory anyway.
Signing up before the paint had even dried on the recipes, I was first in the door, desperate to know how to make some of my favourite food in my own kitchen. Because while there are many replicas, they never taste as good as the real thing.
Handing myself into the able hands of Deow, one of Thaikhun's dynamic chefs, the scene was set for a handful of us to learn first hand how the masters create these fine dishes.
Two dishes per class are taught so pick a date with recipes which appeal to you. My luck was in because green curry and spring rolls were absolutely what I wanted to learn.
It's a professional set up, a section of the downstairs restaurant set up as a kitchen with our own stoves, pots and pans, equipment, recipes and ingredients. Staff scurried around taking away all the dirty plates to create the necessary space, advising us when necessary, correcting us as we flailed around, providing all the foodstuffs as required.
Of course this bares no resemblance to my own kitchen where chaos reigns supreme, but it was nice to pretend for an afternoon.
And so spring rolls. Deow demonstrated ably, simply and comprehensively how to go about composing these little parcels of Asian goodness.
Strangely competitive, we started compiling, parcelling and cooking his creations, and lo and behold they actually worked. None of the soggy blandness you find in supermarkets or cheap buffets, but instead we produced a selection of hot, crispy, tasty spring rolls ready to be dipped in the delicious sweet chilli sauce. Its all about the ingredients though, but with a Chinese supermarket just down the road on Hythe Bridge Street, there is no excuse.
And then the green curry, which I have attempted over and over again to varying degrees of success without ever capturing its true essence, that creamy but piquant broth of coriander, chillis and coconut milk which is absolutely unmistakable when done properly. Mine is usually too bitter or too bland.
But following Deow's instructions, what emerged was just the right blend of sweet, fragrant and hot, which surprised and delighted me.
Sitting down to eat our creations at a communal table, it was a convivial lunch, and we still managed to pack up the rest of our wares and take them home for everyone else to try.
The test is I suppose, is whether you make them again, and take Deow's lessons to heart by replicating them continually and extensively.
I have and will. I also look forward to making what ever else Deoq has in his repertoire, and judging by the extensive programme of cookery classes over the summer, I'll soon be an expert. Mr Greedy will be pleased.
THAIKHUN OXFORD COOKING SCHOOL DATES AND MENU on George Street
DATE Starter Main
Sunday 14th August Prawn Tom Yum Soup Chicken Green Curry
Sunday 11th September Fish Cake Chicken Pad Thai
Sunday 9th October Sweetcorn Cake Duck Red Curry
Sunday 13th November Chicken Spring Roll Chicken Green Curry
Sunday 11th December Chicken Tom Yum Soup Prawn Pad Thai
The price is £50 per person which includes:
• Welcome Drinks reception.
• Introduction to Thai ingredients.
• Demonstration and practical hands on sessions. Learning to cook and eat a starter and main course.
• All equipment/aprons are provided.
• Goody Bag to take home.