A couple of weeks ago we went to Westfield London for the day to partake in a cooking class. Bit random, I know, having a cooking class in the middle of a huge shopping centre, but weirdly it worked. Once we started the class, I was so absorbed in what we were doing that I didn't think about where we were once. I basically had an 'Oh yeah, we're HERE' moment when we left.
The guys at L'atelier des Chefs put on a few days of cooking classes back in Feb, covering everything from burritos to salads. I would have been happy to attend them all, but sadly I wasn't allowed. Also, like, work and life and stuff.
We worked with a chef as a group to make a Thai Chilli Beef Salad, each of the class members taking on a different task, from chopping veg to frying the beef to plunging the rice noodles in hot oil. We had the last job, which was probably the funnest - it's addictive watching the spindly noodles blossom up in the deep fat fryer. Basically, deep fat fryers are super fun. But also not a toy. My lawyers tell me I can't promote them as such any more.
Anyway. Here is the recipe!
Thai Chilli Beef Salad (recipe thanks to L'atelier des Chefs)
200g rump steak
20g shrimp paste
30g palm sugar
3 garlic cloves
0.5 bunches of Thai basil
1 red pepper
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 bunch spring onions
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 red chillis
30g galangal root
4 bok choi cabbages
0.25 brunches of fresh coriander
1 pack rice noodles
1. Wash and slice the bok choi. Slice the red pepper. Pick the coriander leaves.
2. Peel and dice the shallot, galangal and garlic. Remove the seeds from the chilli and finely slice. Finely slice the spring onions.
3. Make a paste by combining the shallot, garlic, chilli, galangal, Thai basil, fish sauce, shrimp paste, palm sugar and a splash of the peanut oil in a food processor or pestle and mortar.
4. Roast the peanuts in a medium hot oven until lightly browned. Bash in a pestle and mortar - keep them quite chunky!
5. A small handful at a time, throw your rice noodles into a deep pan of hot oil or a deep fat fryer until they expand (just a couple of seconds). Remove and put on kitchen paper, and repeat until done.
6. Heat a wok or frying pan until hot and add a splash of peanut oil. Cook the steaks for a minute on each side, remove and allow to rest.
8. Remove the vegetables from the pan and then add the paste to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. 9. Whilst the paste is cooking, slice the beef and then toss it through the paste.
10. Combine the bok choi, peppers and beef in a large bowl then serve, topped with any remaining sauce, the spring onions, coriander and peanuts. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Tip from the chef: The paste will keep well if kept in a jar topped with a little oil in the fridge. It's a great base for stir fries.
Thanks for an awesome day! L'atelier des Chefs have tons of other cooking classes - I'm hoping to make a few more in the future. I'd love to do pasta making or bread baking next.