Notice of Virus Precautions Policy

Notice of Virus Precautions Policy

The past few weeks have been a trying time for everyone around the world. Wherever you are reading from, we do wish you good health and would like to share our concern and condolences to anyone who has been directly impacted by the corona virus Covid-19.

At the moment we have few guests or activities planned. However, if you do have a cooking class booked, we want to make sure everyone is aware, we consider your health, and the health of our staff is of the utmost importance.

As an organization whose mission is so closely tied to the handling and cooking of food, we are well prepared to make sure we maintain a safe working and learning environment. We need your help to continue to follow the best practices during this time, and support organizations like ours that work with communities particularly vulnerable to viral disease.

This includes our regular hygienic equipment:
* Air conditioning
* Air purifier
* Anti-bacterial soap
* Water filtering and purifying

Our regular hygiene practices:
* Sanitizing surfaces
* Soap at every sink (there’s 3!)
* Limited class size

And new policies:
* Postponed or canceled gatherings with over 10 people
* No new volunteers will be accepted
* Refusing guests with symptoms of illness or poor hygiene
* Refunding guests as necessary (minus any booking fees)
* Providing more online recipes and cooking courses for you (if you have a request let us know!)

To limit the spread of the virus we may need to refuse service to guests or refund guests who are unable to visit due to travel restrictions. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes.

Like so many people around the world, we’re still trying to wrap our minds around going from daily cooking classes to only a few a month. Our social enterprise is crippled, but we hope to one day get it roaring again. If you would like to help through donations, they would be greatly appreciated and put to use helping those in need.

In the meantime, we will still be working with marginalized youth and their families in small groups. As there is often poor information in these communities, we’re hoping to teach people and prevent the spread of the virus to their communities. Otherwise, we will be testing recipes and hopefully sharing more pdf and video resources so that you can join us in cooking delicious Thai food wherever you may be.

Thank you for your understanding, be safe, and let us know if you’ve got a Thai recipe request that would brighten your day!

Plant Based Substitutes for Fish Sauce and Shrimp Paste

Plant Based Substitutes for Fish Sauce and Shrimp Paste

Whether stir frying or making curry paste, sauces matter when cooking your favorite asian recipes! But what can you substitute for fish sauce and shrimp paste if you’re cooking for someone who can’t have them?

If it’s your first time here, welcome to Courageous Kitchen. In our cooking classes in Bangkok, we specialize in helping guests cook their favorite Thai dishes. One of our biggest duties is helping everyone to work around any dietary restrictions they may have. Here are a few of the questions we hear most often, but if you have more, please let us know.

vegan tofu class bangkok-1
Soy sauce is a great alternative to fish sauce, but you may want to test a few different brands.

Does vegan fish sauce exist?

Yes, it’s called soy sauce! Soy sauce is amazing and comes in several brands and varieties. You may need to experiment some to find the ones you enjoy best, and expect brands from different countries to vary widely.

What’s the difference between light and dark soy sauce?

Light soy sauce usually refers to the most common type of soy sauce which has a thin consistency. Dark soy sauce is darker, thicker and pretty much its own beast.

Typically dark soy sauce is cloying and has a bitter after taste. Although we refer to it as ‘soy sauce’ it is mostly made of molasses. Typically to make it thick some sort of wheat flour is added which makes finding a gluten free version tough.

Is there a soy free alternative to soy sauce?

Your best soy free alternative would be using a high quality salt.

We also see coconut aminos recommended, but haven’t found them to be widely available.

In our vegan pad see ew recipe we use soy sauce and thick mushroom sauce as alternatives to fish sauce and oyster sauce.

Are there gluten free soy sauce options?

We are also starting to see more gluten free version of soy sauce become available. We have spotted Megachef with gluten free packaging in the US, and even in Thailand brands like the Healthy Boy Brand. With all of these purchases, be sure to check the labels. The Megachef brand is gluten free and made from non GMO soy beans. However, the gluten free Healthy Boy Brand sauce does not include wheat flour of course, but MSG (mono sodium glutamate) is included among the ingredients.

Is there a vegan alternative to shrimp paste?

If you’re buying curry paste or making your own, you may often find shrimp paste included as an ingredient. One way to replace that salty and umami taste that shrimp paste adds is to substitute in fermented soy paste or miso.

Also we are starting to see some vegetarian shrimp paste alternatives come to the market, but have not seen them widely available.

The label for this masaman curry paste reads “free from gluten, dairy, nuts, and meat.”

What are the best curry pastes for people with dietary restrictions?

There are so many curry pastes available on the market, so this is difficult to make a recommendation. If you can find it, we do recommend the WorldFoods Brand of curry pastes because they’re available around the world and have more than just green and red curry options. They typically meet most dietary restrictions as well, including being MSG-free, gluten free, and certified halal. However, our best suggestion is to always check the ingredients listed on the packet you find.

Of course, making your own curry paste is always the best option if you have time. Not only can you dictate which ingredients to use, we believe you’ll find a noticeable difference in the taste from the fresh spices.

What other vegan seasoning do you recommend?

Don’t miss our vegan chili jam recipe (called nam prik pow in Thai).

We love using liquid aminos, liquid smoke, and nutritional yeast to create the meat free variations of our favorite asian and western dishes. If you stir fry often, remember you can create a premade vegan stir fry sauce to cut down on your prep time in the kitchen.

If you cook vegan food often you also always want to have great spices on hand. This means keeping your favorite fragrant dry spices like different types of pepper, star anise, and cinnamon. You’re well served to have fresh herbs like lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and shallots as well.

Thanks for your visit to Courageous Kitchen, show your support for articles like this one by supporting our nonprofit on our donation page.

Plant Based Thai Green Curry Recipe

Plant Based Thai Green Curry Recipe

Today’s recipe is a favorite, a quick Thai style green curry filled with veggies. The emphasis of this plant based recipe is to use the curry as a vehicle for nutrition. Got certain veggies the kids don’t like? Drop them in green curry paste to help change their mind.

In addition to lots of vegetable, this recipe uses healthier noodles than you typically get in Thai restaurants. We chose brown rice noodles with chia seed, but we’re seeing a great variety of interesting noodles these days in the super markets and encourage you to explore using them when you have the opportunity.

Making curry is a great opportunity to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your diet.

If you have time, making your own curry paste is always best, and we usually teach guests in our Bangkok cooking classes exactly how. However, today’s recipe is aimed at busy people using a curry paste packet. Grab curry packets at your local grocery store, but before you purchase, flip them over and check the ingredient list. Many curries include shrimp paste, or other meat based flavoring. There are lots of choices, but we usually recommend the Kanokwan and WorldFoods brands as good options.

Once you’ve got your curry paste and coconut milk on standby, you’re nearly ready to cook. We use fresh coconut whenever possible, but we tested this recipe with canned coconut milk because we know it is easier to find for readers outside of Thailand. So use quick version of green curry on a busy night, remembering not to stress too much about certain ingredients.

Feel free to mix and match the veggies of your choice in the green curry. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time for more dense veggies, so that everything is tender when you serve. If you already keep lots of veggies prepped in the fridge from salads and other recipes, for example cherry tomatoes, this will decrease the amount of prep time. Finally, check that you have the classic Thai seasoning ingredients such as soy sauce and palm sugar.

Thai Green Curry Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10-15 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Feeds: 1 – 2 people
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Diets: Gluten-free, Halal, Plant Based, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut-Free and for soy-free replace the soy sauce with salt or liquid aminos.
Gluten free brown rice noodles are becoming more popular with several brands starting to appear in supermarkets around the world.

Green Curry Ingredients

Essential Ingredients

  • Curry paste 50g
  • Coconut Milk 1 cup
  • Rice Noodles 60g
  • Tofu 75g
  • Light Soy Sauce 1 tbsp
  • Miso 1 tsp
  • Palm sugar (aka coconut sugar) 2 tsp

Thai Herbs

  • Thai basil leaves 1 small handful
  • Green peppercorn 1 branch
  • Fingerroot 1 tbsp
  • Large chili – 1 fruit
  • Kaffir lime leaf – 2 leaves

Veggies

  • Cherry tomato 3-4 fruit*
  • Orinji mushrooms 20g
  • Green okra 2 pieces
  • Micro greens 50g (we used a mix of sunflower, radish, and morning glory sprouts)
  • Moonflower 4 buds
  • Baby corn 2 cobs
  • Pea eggplant 5 fruit
When you include so many nutritious ingredients, this becomes a healthy one plate Thai meal that you can make in a hurry.

Green Curry Instructions

  1. Wash and prep all of your fresh veggies and herbs. You want to cut them so they cook quickly and are easy to eat. Fingerroot is not essential, but if you can find it, cut into small thin strips. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Julienne your okra, baby corn, and mushroom.
  2. The protein source in this recipe is tofu. Firm tofu is best, rinse and cut into large squares.
  3. Setup a pot of water to boil. Add your noodles when boiling. All noodles are different, refer to the instructions on the noodles you purchased for cooking time. Set a timer, rice noodles typically take 5-10 minutes once boiling. When finished strain and set aside.
  4. Place your wok over low to medium heat and add your curry paste. Stir until fragrant, add a tablespoon of coconut milk to keep your paste from burning.
  5. When fragrant add your most dense herbs and vegetables so they can begin cooking first. For example, pea eggplant, fingerroot, and kaffir lime leaf.
  6. Next add your tofu, allowing it to mix with the green curry. Add more spoons of coconut milk to be sure nothing is burning, but the goal is to soften the tougher ingredients and bring out the aroma. This means a little bit of char on your tofu or veggies is fine, just be careful not to over do it, or leave your wok unattended.
  7. When everything smells good and begins to soften, begin adding the remainder of your coconut milk, followed by the remaining veggies (except micro greens and basil). You’re in the home stretch with your curry, congrats.
  8. Allow to simmer on medium heat while seasoning with light soy sauce, miso, and palm sugar.
  9. If the soft veggies are suitably cooked, turn your heat off and add the handful of sweet basil and micro greens. In a pinch, Italian basil can be substituted for sweet basil. Both however, take little to no time to cook. Stir the leaves in your hot curry for a few moments until wilted.
  10. You did it! Your nutritious Thai dinner is ready in under an hour. Pat yourself on the back while plating your noodle first, followed by gently ladling your vegetables and curry over the top.
  11. If serving guests who are unfamiliar with the hard aromatics, like kaffir lime leaf and green peppercorn, take the liberty to remove them when plating.
Thai Plant Based Cooking Class in Bangkok

Thai Plant Based Cooking Class in Bangkok

Plant Based แบบไทยๆ ใช้กระทะใบเดียวก็เฟี้ยวได้

ขอเชิญพี่ๆน้องๆ มาลองกิน ลองทำ 5 เมนู อาหารพืชผัก ที่สามารถนำไปทำทานได้จริงที่บ้าน!

We’re hosting our very first plant based cooking class in Bangkok. The event will be a Thai language class taking place on Monday, March 23rd at 3pm. Guests who book will have the opportunity to learn how to make 5 plant based dishes. The workshop style dinner experience should be a fun time of learning and celebrating healthy eating together.

Instruction for the class will be in Thai, led by Panisha Chanwilai, a manager at Courageous Kitchen. Panisha grew up helping her mom in the kitchen, who let her assist, as she made spicy Southern Thai dishes. Panisha converted from the hectic office lifestyle and diet, to become a food and nutrition enthusiast. Today she is a plant based eating devotee and trainer, endlessly experimenting with new ingredients. She will share about her journey, and why she believes plant based eating may be more simple than you believe.

The workshop and dinner is aimed at busy Thais who may not have time to do recipe research or spend hours cooking. Panisha has done her best to simplify a few of her favorite dishes, and is excited to share them with an open minded group. She hopes all of the participants walk away more confident in their ability to create healthy, nutritious meals at home.

The dishes include:

1. Spicy Smoked Eggplant Dip, Nam Prik Ma Kua Yao น้ำพริกมะเขือยาว
2. Spicy Mushroom Salad, Yum Hed Ruam ยำเห็ดรวม
3. Stir Fried Red Curry with Tempeh, Tempeh Pad Prik Kaeng เทมเป้ผัดพริกแกง
4. Essential Veggie Soup, Kaeng Jued แกงจืดหมูก้อนวีแกน
5. Coconut Snowballs, Kanom Tom ขนมต้ม

The cost to participate in this inaugural plant based cooking class is 1000 baht per person. The dinner is limited to 15 participants and takes place in Panisha’s home in Sukhumvit 101/1. Book your seat by sending your bank transfer receipt to line id panisha_p. Detailed directions will be sent to all confirmed guests.

Note: For health reasons we reserve the right to refuse participants who are coughing, sneezing, or visibly sick.

Street Food Inspired, Thai Deep Fried Banana Recipe

Street Food Inspired, Thai Deep Fried Banana Recipe

Among Bangkok’s street food, you might call them the ‘traffic jam’ bananas.

And if you’ve ever been to Bangkok’s old town, you likely know exactly the sweet, deep fried, and super crispy bananas we mean. In this historic part of the city it isn’t uncommon to be at a busy intersection and see vendors selling bags of fried bananas while wading out into the oncoming traffic. Often this takes advantage of traffic already at a standstill in Bangkok, but hungry motorist can also be blamed for creating a traffic jam while lining up for fried bananas as well!

But Bangkok’s most controversial street food snack isn’t too difficult to make at home. We’ve been testing our recipe in the Courageous Kitchen, making adjustments each time, to make it easy for you to follow at home. All you need to do is gather the ingredients for your batter, and find ripe bananas.

A quick dusting of powdered sugar makes these fried bananas drool-worthy!

In Thailand, the task of gathering quality bananas a bit easier thanks to the biodiversity of the banana plants grown around country. Thailand is home to nearly 30 types of banana, with many of the popular ones available in local fresh markets and grocery stores. Arriving from farms all over the country, the bananas appear in different shapes and sizes, unfamiliar to people who are used to the limited options in the West. Thais instead have the luxury of choosing between ‘kluay hom’ fragrant bananas, chubby sweet ‘nam va’ banana, and creamy ‘kluay kai’ bananas, to name a few.

Don’t worry if you don’t have many choices, and remember sweet plantains can also be used. Go for whichever bananas you can find, and prep them to fry just as they begin to ripen. Act quickly, however, because if you let them get too ripe, they may become too soft and mushy. This makes the bananas more difficult to work with and you reduce your chances of a crispy end product.

Slice your bananas long and finger length to make them easy to eat. As you slice them you can drop them into the batter and they’ll be ready to fry. Fry until golden brown, and drain. You’ll have accomplished your mission if your fried bananas are still crunchy and tasty after they have cooled down.

We hope you like the Courageous Kitchen recipe for fried banana! Remember you can show your support for our fun, educational kitchen activities by visiting our donation page or joining us for a Thai cooking class.

Thai Fried Banana Recipe

Yield: This may vary depending on the bananas, but typically we can make around 30 pieces.

Feeds: 5 – 7 people

Skill Level: Easy

Diets: Gluten-free, Halal, Plant Based, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut-Free

Fried Banana Ingredients

bananas – 1 kg of bananas (1 bunch)
cooking oil – 1 liter
coconut milk – 2 cups
rice flour – 1 cup
sticky rice flour – 1/4 cup
tapioca starch – 1/2 cup
sugar – 2 tbsp
salt – 1 tbsp
shredded coconut – 1 cup
baking powder – 2 tsp
white sesame – 1 tsp
black sesame – 1 tsp (optional to mix white and black or 2 tsp of either will work as well)
powdered sugar (optional for garnish)

Inspired by the tasty deep fried bananas that among Bangkok’s best street food.

Fried Banana Instructions:

  1. Heat your oil in a deep wok or pot. The oil is ready when it is over 100 degrees celsius (210F)
  2. Mix dry ingredients, except your shredded coconut and sesame.
  3. Add coconut milk and whisk well. The texture shouldn’t be overly watery or dry, similar to pancake batter.
  4. Finally, add your coconut and sesame. Spread evenly, but don’t mix thoroughly, because we want these ingredients to coat the banana as you dip them and not get stuck at the bottom of your mixing bowl.
  5. Dredge your bananas, allowing the excess batter to fall back into the bowl. Then drop into the oil.
  6. Cook for 3-5 minutes, flipping occasionally until golden brown.
  7. Rest to cool and allow excess oil to run off. If desired, decorate with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Note: Keep in mind the temperature may vary for different types of oil. If your bananas are taking too long, you may want to increase the temperature.

What makes Thai fried bananas so special?

The Thai fried banana may be more unique than others you have tried around the world. This is likely because of the widespread street food culture, and the availability of fresh ingredients. The best vendors in Bangkok, along with having a great selection of flavorful banana species, likely also utilize fresh shredded coconut and fresh coconut milk in their frying batter.

The ingredients add to the fragrance of the snack, and lend some stretchy density to the crust in each bite. The snack holds up, retaining it’s crunch even long after being removed from your frying pan or wok. In our cooking classes, this means guests can pair the fried banana with ice cream, or if they’re super full take them home and enjoy them later.

What if I don’t have the shredded coconut?

You can make this recipe without the coconut, but coconut lends both fragrance and texture to the snack. We used fresh shredded coconut, but understand most people may only be able to find dehydrated coconut flakes.

The bananas will cook a lot faster without the coconut in the batter. So pay attention to them while they’re in the oil, and adjust the cooking time as needed.

What can I do with the leftover batter?

Test out frying taro, chili, pumpkin, sweet potato, mushrooms and more with the same batter.

We have used the same batter to fry mushrooms, chili, sweet potato, and pumpkin. If you have more veggies or fruit you want to give a whirl while your oil is hot, give it a try! However, since it’s is coconut milk based it usually does not last long, nor does it reheat well. For these reasons when there’s leftover batter, we make the most of it by frying up whatever we have in the fridge. For more savory vegetables, enjoy them with sriracha or the spicy hot sauce of your choice.

Why is this Bangkok’s most controversial street food snack?

In a city where you can find deep fried scorpions on a stick, it may be a shock to learn Bangkok’s most controversial street food is also one that’s easy to eat. However, people’s affection for the street food bananas, and how portable they are, definitely factor into all of the hype and controversy you may not have known about if you live outside of Bangkok.

For years the local city municipalities have tried to end the practice of walking into traffic to sell the bananas. This happens at big intersections in old town, and at the traffic light in front of Bangkok’s Nung Lerng Market.

For the most part, in the public eye and even with authorities like the Thai Royal Police who are tasked with enforcing rules against such vending, opposition to the sales have been mixed. Police have been known to feign enforcement, only to work out a separate deal with the vendors themselves (with a few free bags of fried bananas thrown in we’re sure).

However, the tide may finally be turning as street food everywhere in Bangkok has taken a hit since government crackdowns began in 2018. More enforcement from the government means fewer spaces to vend, and more intense competition with nearby competitors, displacing some vendors and eventually driving others out of business. Like all vendors around the city, even those who could be considered the most menacing are facing an uncertain future over the next few years.