During our wonderful stay at Paresa in Phuket, we spent a few hours in the hotel's very own Thai cooking school, Recipe. Thai cuisine has evolved a lot over the centuries, influenced by India, Portugal and China and at Recipe, Master Chef Noon has developed a Southern Thai menu, which is influenced by Malaysian and Indian cuisines. There's a huge amount of seafood in the south and the food is traditionally rather spicy.
At 12pm we started preparing the first of our four courses and ate each one as we went. All the ingredients are washed and prepared at each individual work station, so as soon as you get there you put on your chef hat and start chopping. First up we had Pad Grapao Gai Mee Krob, a fantastic stir-fried chicken and holy basil dish with garlic, chilli and soy sauce served on crispy egg noodles - I'd never made noodles like this before but you deep fry them in a strainer basket in a pan, dipping them in the near-boiling oil for a few seconds a couple of times before draining and serving. Deliciously crispy and the perfect pairing to the flavoursome ground chicken and hot chillies.
Next up was one of my favourite Thai dishes - spicy seafood soup Tom Yum Talay. Starting with chicken stock, you add chilli paste, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, cherry tomatoes and straw mushrooms and stir for a few minutes. Then you add the seafood and season with fish sauce, lime juice and bird eye chilli with fresh coriander as a garnish and get stuck in.
The third dish was Goong Pad Nam Makham Piek, a stir-fried tiger prawn dish with tamarind sauce which was very tasty but we were already stuffed, so saved a little room for the classic Thai dessert of Khao Neow Ma Muang - mango sticky friend rice with coconut cream. I hadn't been to a cookery class on holiday before but I'll definitely do it again as we had a great experience at Recipe. The best thing about it was we were given a booklet with all the recipes in to replicate at home.
Paresa Resort, 49 Moo 6 Layi, Nakalay rd, Kamala, Phuket 83150, Thailand