Well I’m back from my holiday week away in Phuket. Back to Sydney. And I thought, back to some blogging! It’s been awhile and I’ve been finding it hard to get the time to put pen to paper (or rather.. fingers to keyboard??..). But I thought it would be a good chance to review some of the activities and places I went to in sunny Phuket.
Those who haven’t been to Phuket, its a great place to getaway from all the hustle and bustle of Sydney for awhile – lots of gorgeous warm sunny beaches with white sand and clear water, lots of Paddy’s-esque shopping (and the fun of bartering – which I took to like a duck to water) and plenty of great activities in the heart of Patong (which is where we stayed.) Plenty of cheap accommodation is available (we got a Spreets.com.au deal but you can find plenty of great deals on wotif.com).
For a week my friend and I went snorkeling in Phi Phi islands, rode on elephants, got some clothes tailor made (there is a tailor practically every ten metres in Patong), cable riding in the jungle, saw a magic show, visited Phantasea and of course indulged in $7 hour long massages and a $10 facials, pure bliss! Even though I was just there for one week, we were able to fit in quite a lot of activities but there was still plenty more to do for those who want to stay a bit longer.
Since the cooking classes were so cheap and Pum’s was close by to our accommodation, it was an easy choice to book in for one of the classes. I’ve actually never really done a ‘formal’ cooking class before (unless you count food tech in high school) and I’ve always wanted to do one, but the Sydney cooking classes seem to be very expensive, so I was glad to finally have a good option in Phuket at Pum’s 🙂
Pum’s also doubles as a restaurant during the day. My friend Ghilaine and I decided to visit them a few times before our class to come up with a good idea of what to cook. This turned out well as it was a short walk from our hotel as well as being a cheap and delicious option for some of our lunches and dinners.
Pum’s runs cooking classes daily but it’s a good idea to book in advance as it can book out. Instead of booking the classes at the actual restaurant, I’d recommend booking at a tour vendor as they can sometimes give you discounts. Opposite Pum’s restaurant in Patong (on the other side of the road) is a tour vendor named “Oy” who we booked the majority of discounts with and I’d highly recommend her, she speaks excellent English and gave us plenty of great discounts on all the tours we booked, even cheaper than any of the other masses of vendors we passed by.
We chose to do the “Pum’s little shoes” class which seemed to be the best option for money and time – it’s a 3 hour class where you choose to make 3 Thai dishes of your choice for about 14-1500 baht or cheaper if you book with the right tour vendor. We paid about $40 AUD for the class. You also get to eat your dishes (of course!) so it includes lunch. You also get to keep a book of Pum’s Thai recipes to take home with you – handy for later on! 😉
We arrived at Pum’s on a Sunday and began by writing down the recipes we wanted to make. We were also encouraged to write down additional recipes for Thai pastes and jams from Pum’s other cookbook (available for sale in the restaurant) which were also used in the recipes. I made it a bit easier by just taking photos of the recipes, hehe. I chose to make vegetarian fried rice, chicken cashew nut stir fry (my fave Thai recipe which I’ve never learned how to make!) and pad si ew (another fave.)
The class began with our teacher arrived at our table with a plate full of ingredients commonly used to flavour Thai cuisine which she began to explain.
garlic, thai holy basil, lemon grass, chilli, lime, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai shallots
Chopping the lemon grass for a smell. Looove the smell of lemon grass!
ingredients prepped for cooking!
ready to cook!
Our teacher explained that they preferred making the curry paste by mortar and pestle instead of a food processor, however you have to be careful that you don’t accidentally shoot chilli into your eyes when crushing away! We all got to have a go at crushing the chilli paste, while our teacher encouraged us to sing and dance while doing so, lol.
Finished red curry paste!
We then got to have a go at making some of our recipes. Everything was carefully chopped and prepared for us plus we didn’t have to do any washing up which made everything all the more enjoyable! Oh if only it were like that at home! 😉
Ingredients for chicken green curry
Prepping my rice with some crushed garlic in vegetable oil, soy sauce and sugar.
ingredients for chicken cashew nut stir fry.
chicken breast strips, toasted cashew nuts, onion and thai shallots (PS! if anyone aaanyone! knows where to find these in Sydney Pleeeeease drop me a line! they’re totally different from the shallots we normally get in the supermarket and i also think they’re different from garlic shoots… and i’m dying to find where i can lay my hands on these babies… thank you!!)
Finished chicken cashew nut.. it was delicious!
Satay chicken – chicken breast was lightly marinated before it was pan fried and then served with a delicious satay sauce made from crushed peanuts and coconut milk and a sweet vinegar sauce with cucumber and chilli
Time for lunch! We broke about halfway through to eat a bunch of our dishes before resuming cooking. it was a good chance to meet with the rest of the people in the cooking class as well as share some of our yummy dishes 🙂
After lunch, our teacher went through some of the sauces used in Thai cooking.
Tomato sauce, chilli jam, soy sauce, fish sauce, fermented bean paste, oyster sauce, pickled galangal, fried garlic, chilli sauce. We were encouraged to taste them all and I have to say some of them were……..interesting!
We also went through some of the vegies most commonly used in Thai cooking.
Cucumber, Chinese broccoli (or gai lum), baby corn, tomato, cabbage, onion, snake beans. I’m happy to say that you can find pretty much everything here in Sydney!
Then it was on to more cooking!
Finely chopped kaffir lime leaves, snake beans, red curry paste and minced fish for fish cakes – which Pum passed by saying were her favourite!
shaped fish cakes ready to be fried
Finished fish cakes, served with cucumber, chilli, thai shallots and a sweetened vinegary sauce
Thai noodle soup ingredients
looks like it would be perfect for a cold wintery day!
Ingredients for Pad Si Ew (my final dish.) Blanch vegies and rice noodles in hot water separately and place on a plate.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy, 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic in vegie oil, 1 tablespoon of white sugar on to the noodles.
Stir fry chicken breast in vegetable oil and then add noodles and blanched vegies to the hot pan.
Dust lightly with some pepper to serve. pad si ew! 🙂
Ingredients for sticky rice with mango.
Coconut milk is warmed with the sugar until it melts. Add the sticky rice and mix through the sweetened coconut mixture. Serve with freshly sliced mango and garnish with kaffir lime leaves.
We finished the class by sampling the rest of our dishes with the rest of the class before we were sent home with our cookbooks and a cute little Pum keyring 🙂
Of course I couldn’t resist a photo with Pum herself (who jokingly asked to charge us 10 bht for the photo, hehe.)
All in all, I had a wonderful time at Pum’s and would highly recommend it. It was a truly excellent experience for my first cooking class and I look forward to whipping up lots of yummy Thai recipes armed with my new cookbook in the near future. If you’re ever in Patong, definitely drop by Pum’s at least for a meal or one of her great classes 🙂
Pum’s is currently rated 9 out of 101 activities to do in Phuket. Check out the Pum’s tripadvisor link below.
Click here to visit Pum’s cooking school website for more info.
Click here to visit the tripadvisor reviews for Pum’s Cooking School.
You can also check out a bunch more pics from my experience at Pum’s Cooking School by clicking here on my Facebook Page.