Thai cookery lesson with Deethechef from The Begging Bowl

I really like spicy food, coconut and rice, so it was a perfect match when I had a cookery lesson with Deethechef who runs Cooking Happy cookery classes and also cooks at The Begging Bowl on Bellenden Road in Peckham.

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Dee came up with a fantastic menu of super delicious food that I helped cooked for 7 people when my sister Laurie, her boyfriend Jamie and baby Arthur came to visit us in South London. We had fish cake starter, chicken and salmon with a delicious red paste and sweet coconut rice and mango for pudding. The most fun bit was cracking coconuts and making coconut milk from scratch instead of getting it from a can like I usually do. It does require some special equipment to extract the milk and you have to be really careful cracking open the coconut with a machete. Dee showed me another trick to open the coconut which is just to smash it on the floor. I smashed it on the patio floor in the garden!!

One of the quickest and easiest things to make is the fish cakes. All you need is some white fish, thinly sliced green beans, red curry paste (shop-bought is fine), fish sauce, chilli and sugar. Whizz everything up in the blender, then spoon it straight into a deep fat fryer and cook till golden. These were so delicious that I made them again the next day! It took about ten minutes to prepare the fishcakes and if you eat it with rice and some salad, then it could also be a quick lunch or dinner. You can leave out the chilli if you don’t want it to be spicy.

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The gola curry paste was a bit harder to make as it took ages to smash up the red chillies in the pestle and mortar. This was quite hard work. Dee did most of the hard work for me! The chilli paste is mixed with roasted peanuts, lots of coconut milk and minced coconut and then the chicken and fish it put onto banana leaves and baked in the oven. You can buy banana leaves at the oriental supermarkets in Peckham on Rye Lane.

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The key to making Thai food tasty is lots of fresh coconut milk, fish sauce and palm sugar! I can’t wait to cook again with Dee but in the meantime, I’ll pop by The Begging Bowl and eat some delicious Thai food. They do a kids meal with chicken, sticky rice and green beans.

See my blog for the recipes

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