Saturday, June 1, 2013

Azuthai's Chef J. Gamboa and Chef Malichat at the Maya Kitchen

Chefs Malichat and J. Gamboa
Chef Malichat of Azuthai Chef J. Gamboa of Azuthai

After a few months of not attending the monthly featured class at The Maya Kitchen, I was back last Saturday for the Thai Cooking Class by chefs J. Gamboa and Malichat of Azuthai.

Chef J. Gamboa may look familiar because he's one of the very popular celebrity chefs here in the Philippines, and with so many things to do (he's currently a consultant for Family Mart), it was such a great chance to see and hear him share ways of preparing Thai dishes - the very same dishes foodies can devour on his restaurant, Azuthai. Based on his stories, I learned that he traveled to Thailand and immersed himself into weeks long of learning how to prepare different Thai dishes the way Thai people prepare and prefer it. The knowledge he gathered he brought to his restaurant, and now... to make Azuthai an authentic Thai restaurant, they welcomed chef Malichat into the Azuthai family.

Like all the classes I've attended at The Maya Kitchen, it was such an informal class. Anybody can interrupt and ask the chefs about the dishes being prepared - and students can also come to the front and watch closely as the dishes are cooked. For this class, they prepared five dishes:

Tom Yam Goong

Tom Yam Goong
{Hot and Sour Prawn Soup}

Whenever I see this at Thai restaurants, I always get intrigued at how balanced the flavors were. I learned that the fish sauce had to be same amount to the lemon juice. This dish was very easy to prepare, because it used the residual heat from the broth to continue cooking some of the ingredients so that it's just right to the bite.

Goong Pad Prik Kratiem

Goong Pad Prik Katiem
Chili Garlic Prawns

Prawns... I love them, and this was the recipe I hope to learn for this class. Like the first dish, this was done within minutes because the prawns had just to be right so it won't become rubbery. One technique chef J shared - mix the seasoning in one bowl first before you start cooking, because if you didn't and the prawns change color, you won't have enough time to cook the dish perfectly. I personally prefer my prawns already peeled because the sauce would go straight to the meat, but I realized that cooking this with the peel still on add to the thrill of eating it. More rice? :)

Geng Kew Wan Gai

Geng Kew Wan Gai
Green Chicken Curry

Though not part of my favorite dishes, curry is something I love to eat every now and then. As chef Malichat cooked this, she shared that there are actually different curry dishes in Thailand, each with its own distinct taste. At Azuthai, diners have the option to set the level of spiciness, but chef J suggest to have at least the mild spiciness to the curry because the spice and the coconut cream just goes well together.

Pla Naeng Ma Naw

Pla Naeng Ma Naw
Steamed Fish

This has got to be my favorite dish that day. It was super simple, but my gosh, it just tasted divine...and the sauce, super! And because I love it so much, I am sharing the recipe:

  • 1 piece Apahap (about 800g) - whole, scaled, gutted
to be placed inside the fish:
  • 1 piece kaffir lime leaf
  • 3 slices ginger (sliced)
  • lemongrass (sliced, white part only)
  • 1 stalk celery (sliced)
  • 3 pieces spring onion  (sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
for the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 pieces chili (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
How to Cook:
  1. Remove the spine of the fish from the back.
  2. Put all the stuffing ingredients inside the fish. Steam fish for about 10 minutes.
  3. When the fish is done, combine all ingredients for the sauce and pour over the fish.
  4. For garnish, place three slices of green lemon and coriander leaf on top of the fish.

Palm sugar is different from brown sugar (us participants were given a taste of it) and is available in supermarkets. The most important lesson I learned for this class is that the success of Thai cooking is to use Thai products as well - no substitutions. Sure, you can use kalamansi to replace the lemon, but, you can't just substitute any other sugar for the palm sugar. 

Sticky Rice with Mango

Sticky Rice with Mango

The way this was prepared was very interesting. They used a basket to hold the rice and let the steam of the boiling water cook it, resulting soft rice without being soggy. It was very close to the traditional suman at mangga, but there was something in the rice that made it different in a good way.

I loved the class, but then again, I loved every class I attended at The Maya Kitchen. Sadly, I won't be able to attend June's featured class because I will be out of town, but come July or August, I will definitely attend again.

By the way, if you want to dine at Azuthai, their restaurant is located along A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road). Every weekend, you can also check out their booth at the Salcedo Weekend Market.

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}