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Jun 5, 2009 10:40 PM

Need help with kids Thai cooking class menu

Hello all,

I am volunteering to "teach" a beginner's Thai cooking class for high school girls next week and could use some help putting together a menu. There are 14 of us, and my experience is that most Thai noodle dishes work better when made in individual quanitites, so I'm shying away from pad thai, pad see u and drunken noodles, etc. Do you agree, or can you think of any way to adapt for larger portions? We don't have giant woks, just regular skillets and old electric stovetops that probably can't get super hot. We'll be splitting the kids into groups, but each group will still be preparing enough for all 14.

Other than noodles, I'm thinking of
-Green Papaya salad
-Chicken satay
-Spring Rolls
-Peanut Sauce
-Green or red curry with chicken and tofu (not sure if this will be too exotic)

Thanks for your help hounds!

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  1. Four servings of pad thai in a regular large skillet seems do-able. The skillets don't really have to be really hot to make a decent pad thai.

    I would add sticky coconut rice with mango in that list. You need a dessert.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Definitely! I had already decided on mangos and sticky rice, should've mentioned that.

      Maybe I'm being too finicky about the pad thai. It doesn't have to be perfect to get the flavors across... Reminds me again how this has been a good experience to get out of my kitchen, with all its toys and gadgets, and cook with old, basic donated equipment and utensils.

      1. re: yamalam

        If you do the soaking of the rice noodles right, they just need a good tossing in the sauce. It doesn't really have to "cook" in the pan...if you know what I mean.

    2. Tom ka gai (chicken coconut soup) is really easy to make if you have the ingredients.

      Is the class meant to be partly a cultural exercise or more a practical culinary exercise?

      You could teach the "sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot" balance through making the green papaya salad. If you have some large container that it could be pounded in, that would be great, to make it more authentic.

      Likewise if you had a big stone mortar and pestle, it would be interesting for them to make their own curry paste, like with roasted bird chilies, and all the other ingredients.

      I think there's some good advice at this site:

      But almost of what I mentioned is more advanced than you might want... if you're just looking for something interesting and basic, you can avoid the making of the curry paste etc. (Maybe explain it, but use a shortcut or premade paste.


      Sounds like a fun class!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cinnamon

        This is an easy recipe, very tasty, and adds some veggies to the menu:

        Thai Cucumber Salad

        -------- ------------ --------------------------------
        Thai Cucumber Salad
        1/3 cup minced shallot
        1/3 cup sliced green onions
        4 medium cucumbers (about 2 1/2 pounds) -- peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
        2 small hot red chiles -- halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) (2 to 4)
        1/2 cup rice vinegar
        2 tablespoons sugar
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

        Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt, and stir well. Add to the cucumber mixture, tossing to coat. Stir in the cilantro.


        1. re: sharhamm

          Thanks! I love cucumber salad and this would be another example of spicy, sour, sweet, salty.

          1. re: sharhamm

            sharhamm, that sounds so simple, refreshing, and delicious!

        2. chili-basil-garlic-fried rice could be good. maybe dont make it too spicy for high schoolers... but leftover cooked rice and a little prep work along with copious amounts of thai basil and you've got a good dish.

          green and red curries arent too exotic, if someone's taking a cooking class on thai food then i would think they would have tried thai-style curries.

          to me, green papaya salad is more of a gamble than the green/red curry, depending on how true you stay to the salad (i.e. dried shrimp, lots of fish sauce, lots of chilies)

          good luck

          1 Reply
          1. re: CoconutMilk

            Thanks for the suggestions, I think thai basil is amazing and definitely want to include it in the menu.

            The kids are mostly Mexican American and really like spicy food. At the last class, they were eating lemons with salt on them instead juicing them for salad dressing as intended, so I think they'll love the sour flavors too.

            I'm more worried about them balking at seafood, fish sauce, shrimp paste, etc, so I think I will skip the green papaya salad and go with a cucumber salad like sharhamm suggested, along with tom yum soup and pad see ew.

            It's a mandatory class, so the kids are not necessarily into cooking, or thai food, but I hope to broaden some horizons, thanks again!

          2. peel, seed, and cut into 1/2" slices...toss with toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, salt to taste. simple & savory. nice side with asian-style fish and white rice. can add in some red bell pepper, cut into 1" squares.

            1. There's a bunch of free thai cooking videos here
              <a href=">
              All the ones on your list are there
              Not only the cooking videos but list of ingredients and cooking instructions too