Recently my husband and I went to Urban Element Culinary School in Ottawa to prepare and enjoy an authentic Thai dinner. Our eldest son had given us this treat as a Christmas gift. Our session was named Cheater’s Thai because many commercially available sauces were used as the ingredients. He chose the Thai dinner (as opposed to Italian) knowing that although I am wheat intolerant/sensitive, I would be able to eat most of the food prepared.
It was a fun night out and the food was delicious, yet still fairly easy to prepare. A group of approximately ten couples prepared the meal under the knowledgeable yet friendly instruction of chef Mark Wells and his sous-chef, and then enjoyed the fruits of our labor with a few glasses of wine…
We started off the meal with an (pre-made by the chef) appetizer of roasted sweet potato slices topped with goat cheese and tamarind chutney. In addition to the items pictured (curried coconut and shrimp soup, pork cutlets with peanut sauce, chicken satay and a Thai version of crème caramel), also on the menu were pork dumplings (the only thing on the menu that contained wheat), a green curry stir-fry of green peppers, snow peas, shallots and fish sauce, a sweet chili sauce and a lightly marinated cucumber salad, all of which we made ourselves.
The recommended main ingredients of this and any authentic Thai meal are a good quality coconut milk such as Arrow D or Savoy brands, Maesri red or green curry paste, Thom Yum Thai shrimp paste, 3 Crab Blend fish sauce, bird’s eye chilis, turmeric, cane or palm sugar and cilantro. All of the commercially prepared ingredients mentioned here are available in Ottawa’s Chinatown near the corner of Booth and Somerset streets.
Urban Element Culinary School is located in a converted fire hall at 424 Parkdale Avenue in Ottawa. Phone 613-722-0885 to register for a similar dinner plan. If you are looking to plan a private evening out for a group of friends, co-workers or relatives, this would be a great option.