Help Save Children’s Lives on Thailand’s Border

Help Save Children’s Lives on Thailand’s Border

Happy new year!

We’re starting the year off with a very ambitious fundraising goal and need your support. This new campaign is to provide immunizations for children in hard to reach villages along Thailand’s border with Myanmar.

We expect the campaign to last several months and hope to be making updates on social media and here as we hit milestones. We need your help to donate and spread the word. You can also continue to read below for a more detailed explanation of this project.

While controversial in wealthy countries, vaccines can mean life or death for young children living in poverty.

Our Fundraising Goal

We’re hoping to vaccinate 800 children this year against 5 main diseases. The children are from 28 villages in the hard to reach areas on Thailand’s border.

  • Measles (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tetanus (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis)

The cost of vaccines is roughly $35 per child and our goal is to raise $30,000 USD.

When mobile vaccination programs stopped because of covid, the number of families without access to this basic form of healthcare steadily increased each year. The price of each of the vaccines has also increased post covid. In other words, this year we need to vaccinate more people, at a higher cost for each

Now we’re hoping to help more young children at once than ever before, but can’t do it alone. Your help will aid us in reaching villages of people who are ethnic minorities, often neither identifying as Thai or Burmese. Their lives are plagued by sporadic violence and irregular (if any) access to healthcare. The monthly income of the great majority of villagers is less than $100 per month.

We’ll be talking about this effort in our cooking classes in 2023, we’d love to tell you more!

Why Courageous Kitchen

Courageous Kitchen is not a medical charity. Why are you supporting a vaccination program?

If you’re familiar with the origin of CK, for years we’ve been using food to bring attention to unpopular social issues. This started with our efforts to help refugees, a controversial social topic in many places around the world. Vaccinations are no different, and can also be a touchy subject. We hope to remind people (not argue with them), that while wealthy countries debate the efficacy of vaccines, for the families we’re hoping to help, access to these vaccines could mean life or death for the young ones in their household.

We hope to close the post covid immunization gap and be sure the youth in these villages have the opportunity to lead long lives. To do this we’ll be on the same mission as in past years. While we’re sure some of you will find this campaign via the internet, we’re not betting solely on people’s donations. Instead, we’re using food, whether at events or in cooking classes, to share how important this mission is — and to invite you to join us in reaching our goal.

Note: This project is only possible through the cooperation of the Neo-Humanist Foundation, Baan Dada, and Art Bundles for Good.

Gluten Free Cooking Classes in Bangkok

Gluten Free Cooking Classes in Bangkok

We do offer gluten free cooking classes! Lately, our in person class in Bangkok has had a lot of inquiries from people who want to learn how to make delicious, gluten free Thai food. As many of those guests have found, we’re ready to talk with you in detail about Thai ingredients, recipes, and food culture that make it possible to enjoy even with strict dietary restrictions.

Thinking Healthier Post Pandemic

The pandemic has made us all a little more health conscious. We’ve used the down time to reformat our classes and our cooking space. First off, we’ve converted our main cooking class to a plant based format. This means most of the ingredients we use in each cooking session are vegetarian or vegan. Also like a lot of people looking to destress over the past few years, we’ve expanded our garden space. So much so, that our guests often remark that it looks like a jungle! Our little urban jungle is full of edible plants that are local and less well known by newcomers to Thai food such as pandan, long pepper, and wild betel leaves. It isn’t a coincidence that these two things go together, as we teach we encourage others to be more mindful about what’s on our plates, where it comes from, and how it impacts our personal health, and the health of our local environments.

Gluten Free Thai Food

Going plant based helps us accommodate people interested in gluten free cooking, or who have other dietary requests and restrictions. But helping people who may struggle to find classes in Bangkok that can accommodate them also gives us an opportunity to highlight the versatility of Thai cuisine and ingredients. For example, there are many great dishes that rely on gluten free staples such as rice noodles. This means with the exception of some of the sauces included, dishes such as pad thai and pad see ew already lend themselves well to gluten free cooking!

This version of pad thai is made traditionally but is vegetarian, gluten free.

This is good news for everyone, whether they may be avoiding wheat due to a serious allergy, or a dietary preference. We would love to encourage you that, although you have to be persistent about asking about ingredients, there are still plenty of things to safely feast on and cook in Thailand. Since wheat only began making appearances in Thai dishes fairly recently, much of local, traditional Thai food may already be gluten free. Out tip? Be careful to ask about the sauces used to season food, which may contain wheat. You can always prepare a short script to explain your diet before your trip and have it translated. We’ve even seen some travelers bringing their own gluten free seasoning to restaurants!

If you’ve got a question about booking a class, please use our contact page to reach out to us. As always, thank you for your support!

Learn to Cook Your Favorite Thai Dishes Virtually

Learn to Cook Your Favorite Thai Dishes Virtually

Sign up for a virtual cooking class with Courageous Kitchen, and choose the Thai dish you would like to learn! With our in-person classes going fully virtual over the past year, we try to recreate the fun interaction you would have when you learn with us in Bangkok. To make this possible, we’re always looking for ways to improve the classes we teach over zoom. With the hope of getting our students engaged early on, we’re having them select the dishes they would most like to learn, and we’re now offering more recipes than ever!

Our multiple camera setup, helps students to have a closeup look at happenings in the wok.

Each class is roughly an hour long session. In that time guests are challenged to learn about Thai ingredients and cooking culture, cook dinner, and have fun getting to know each other. That’s a lot to do in an hour, but we’re up for the challenge and want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible before class starts. Since Thai ingredients can be unfamiliar to newcomers and hard to find, we have combined each session with complimentary access to our online learning platform. On the platform class participants can read a brief background on ingredients they’ll be shopping for before the zoom call, and everyone will retain access to the materials after the course. That way long after your tom yum or pad thai cooking session ends, you’ll have the info and confidence to try the other recipes we’ve included on your own.

Public Class ChoicesPrivate Class Choices
Noodles: Pad See Ew
Curries: Green Curry, Penang Curry
Soups: Tom Yum, Tom Kha
Stir Fries: Pad Krapow (Thai Basil),
Green Curry Fried Rice
All Public Class Options and also:
+ Massaman Curry
+ Pad Thai
+ Papaya Salad
+ Drunken Noodles
+ Homemade Curry Paste
+ Thai Cocktails
+ or the Dish of Your Choice
Be the first to book our public class sessions, or a private class to choose one of the dishes above.

For our most requested recipes, we’ve also included downloadable shopping cards. Simply load them on to your smart phone or other device before you head out for groceries. There are illustrated reminders of the core ingredients and utensils, to make sure you don’t miss anything crucial to the recipe. For example, what if you can’t find palm sugar or have never used it before? We want to make sure you know what it is, how to use this natural sugar, and what can be used as a substitution.

What’s the difference between public and private classes?

In pubic classes we host students who book separately. In this type of group class, the participants may not know each other, but after brief introductions we become rallied around the same tasty effort. While everyone can’t choose the recipes in public classes, typically we give this choice to the person who’s first to book the session. During holidays and popular times, the class size can grow larger ten students, and the recipes are typically easier than what we might attempt in a private class.

Private classes can only be accessed by the party first to book. While we host large private classes for corporate events, typically our private classes are made up of families cooking together. If booked in advance, guests in these classes can choose from a larger list of recipes than available to public class students, or can request a custom recipe.

We want to help you all the way from shopping for ingredients to polishing the finished product. Pictured are lemongrass, makrut lime leaf, and galangal (left), and tom kha soup and shrimp pad thai.

Can I book your class for a special occasion?

A custom cooking class can be especially fun when guests are booking for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions. If the birthday guest of honor has a favorite Thai dish, then we would love to teach them how to make it as part of your celebration. For example, we’ve hosted a dad who’s favorite dish was tom kha soup, and had fun teaching him how to make a version just like the one he enjoys at his local Thai restaurants. We’ve had calls with families dispersed all over the world, but who have come together to cook our version of pad see ew noodles, green curry, or pad thai. We’re happy to help celebrate a special occasion or learning session with you, and most recently have been included in fun activities for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

What if I’m unsure which Thai recipe is best for me?

We believe giving you some say in what you would like to cook makes the class more fun, while increasing the chances you’ll put the cooking skills you learn to good use. We love to hear back from families who’ve added Thai noodles, soups, and stir fries to their regular dinner rotation. However, we know that there are times when you can have too many choices. Usually your cooking ability and the ingredients you have access to are the best guides for helping you choose. For example, if you’re a kitchen novice that will be cooking rice noodles for the first time, then attempting pad thai may be too much of a challenge. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your love of noodles, but a recipe like pad see ew noodles, would be a better starting point.

An example of a beginner recipe is pad see ew which can be made vegetarian, or with the protein of your choice.

We hope to offer intermediate and advanced cooks plenty of choice too. This is most often guests who’ve spent time in Thailand and can’t shake a craving they have from the experience. We can help you relive a magic street food experience or help you journey here with your tastebuds even while most flights are still grounded. Haven’t been able to recreate the amazing massaman curry, cashew chicken, or other dish that made your trip to Thailand special? Let us know and we’ll arrange a custom class for you.

Finally, like our in person classes did previously, our virtual cooking classes are also necessary to help us continue to provide food relief to hundreds of families struggling as a result of the pandemic. We’re proud our class is recognized as an official social impact experience on Airbnb, and believe we can keep making a difference by sharing our love of Thai food with more people. Please sign up to join us, share our class with someone who loves Thai food, or visit our food relief donation page to make a contribution.

Covid Food Relief Efforts

Covid Food Relief Efforts

When the year started it seemed we were rounding the corner on outlasting covid. Wow, we were all wrong. Now as we enter the second year, we know that even last year’s most pessimistic predictions about how long this pandemic would last were too conservative. Renewed lockdowns, slow vaccine rollout, and rapidly spreading new variants of the disease have rolled back much of the success Thailand had last year. As the death toll continues to rise, the threat of the disease is still very real, and the economic implications make people already teetering on survival extremely vulnerable right now.

Click here for our Food Relief Donation Page

For anyone interested to give, we’ll be combining proceeds from our business efforts and your donations to help as many families as possible with rice, cooking oil, and other supplies.

During this time Courageous Kitchen has been offering virtual cooking classes and selling food locally. This has been an unsteady pivot as we’ve struggled to replace the income earned through classes we previously offered to tourists visiting Thailand. For these reasons we’re updating our donation appeals to reflect our need for more support with donations for covid food relief. For anyone interested to give, we’ll be combining proceeds from our business efforts and your donations to help as many families as possible with rice, cooking oil, and other supplies. The cost of these donations each month is $10 per family, and we hope to reach 200 families or more each month.

Our goal is to help people on the border of Thailand and Burma with food supplies. Many of the people there are ineligible for support from the government because they are ethnic minorities without Thai citizenship. With the border closed due to conflict and covid concerns, parents in these families are also without work for the foreseeable future. This month (May 2021) we provided rice, noodles, cooking oil, salt, and other supplies to about 200 families. Of those families, there were about 35 identified as especially vulnerable and they received eggs and fresh produce as well.

Click here for our Food Relief Donation Page

Please find and share our new Food Relief donation page with anyone interested to help in our efforts. If you decide to give through Facebook, local banks, or another campaign be sure to let us know or indicate ‘covid relief’ in the notes portion. This will be an ongoing campaign so we’re especially grateful to those assisting by setting up monthly donations. We’ll be talking about these efforts more in our upcoming cooking classes, so we look forward to engage with you there and on Instagram and social media as well. Thank you!

5 Tempeh Storage Tips to Extend Shelf Life

5 Tempeh Storage Tips to Extend Shelf Life

Tempeh, a meat alternative made from soybeans, is a valuable product originating from Indonesia for people on a plant-based diet, or striving to eat healthier.

To make it, producers allow soybeans to ferment before adding a specific healthy bacteria to them. This bacteria grows and after a few days begins to connect together the individual pieces of soybean with a visible white fuzz. The entire 2-3 day process of creating tempeh results in more nutrients that are good for your gut and overall health.

Since this fuzzy-looking brick of beans is still a novel food product to many people around the world, we would like to share some tips on how to store your tempeh so that you can enjoy it safely and extend the shelf life.

1) Source Quality Tempeh

Whenever possible, find tempeh made from non-GMO soybeans and that are sustainably packaged. Most commonly found on the market is tempeh wrapped in plastic. While suppliers may use plastic as an easy way to extend the life of the tempeh, it also prevents us from accurately gauging the age of the tempeh and whether or not it has been frozen or refrozen multiple times. The means you could possibly buy tempeh that looks fine from the outside, but upon opening find it has a strong smell or brightly colored bacteria which should not be consumed.

To substitute for meat in your cooking, add about 100g of tempeh per person.

2) Keep Tempeh Chilled

In supermarkets, we often only have the choice of plastic-wrapped tempeh. If this is the case, choose tempeh that looks the healthiest from the outside, and that’s stored in the coolest place. Doorless refrigeration or even freezers that are opened too frequently can result in lower quality tempeh. Keep in mind that even when refrigerating or freezing tempeh, the bacteria is still active. This is the reason you tempeh may continue to age and yellow when stored at cold temperatures. For safe storage, be sure to reference food safety guidelines and check the temperature of your refrigerator occasionally.

Your food safety temperatures are guidelines to help prevent the growth of bacteria, and should also be used for reference on storing tempeh.

3) Make A Plan to Cook Your Tempeh

No schematics or schedules needed, but do give some thought about when you will cook your tempeh. If you plan to use your tempeh within the week, refrigerate it. If stored properly, your tempeh should last 2-3 weeks in your refrigerator. If you won’t use your tempeh for several days, or you’re unsure yet, we recommend putting your tempeh in the freezer. Once stored in the freezer the tempeh can safely last for at least a month, often longer.

4) Store Tempeh Dry & Air Tight

Your tempeh is very much alive. When fermenting the tempeh, it is usually warm to the touch as the mold mycelium grows around the bean, connecting them. This process is amazing because it helps to break down the soybeans, meaning there’s less work for our bodies to do during digestion and the nutrients in the beans are more accessible. 

However, if we neglect to store our tempeh thoughtfully it will continue to ferment. This is the reason that your refrigerator-stored tempeh continues to yellow. To slow the fermentation process, use a resealable bag or air-tight container to store your tempeh. Making sure the tempeh is dry, air-tight, and cool. These steps will help extend the shelf life of this important vegan protein.

5) Know the Signs of Spoilage 

Finally, you should know the warning signs of tempeh that has begun to spoil. If your tempeh begins to get slimy or has a strong smell, this is a signal to your nose that it should not be eaten.  While tempeh that has yellowed is still edible, you can also cut into the tempeh to be sure there is no mold inside. While some dark spots of mold are normal and edible, brightly colored or strong smelling mold means you should discard your tempeh.

See also: 5 Qualities of Outstanding Tempeh

Thanks for reading. You can visit our donation page to make a contribution to our nonprofit, and our tempeh can be ordered locally through suppliers like Farmtastic and Happy Grocers.