a Thai masterclass at Neung Roi, learning some extremely healthy delicious recipes from Chef Yenjai Suthiwaja

 I love Thai food so much that I grow lemon grass, galangal and turmeric in my garden and there is a grapefruit tree whose leaves I use instead of kafir lime leaves whenever I cook Thai soups or salads.

I make Thai pomelo salad with the grapefruit my garden treats me with. This salad was made last season but now I realise I never shared the recipe on the blog. I will share the recipe next for sure as it is really a simple procedure but one needs to take care of a few minor things while making this salad.

I have a better thing to share today, way more exciting than the Thai pomelo salad. And that is a masterclass with Chef Yenjai Suthiwaja, the culinary Goddess who teaches recipes and cooking with a childlike excitement. This masterclass was held at Neung Roi, Radisson Blu Plaza and Ruchira, The Cookaroo invited a few of us food bloggers to learn the simple tricks and tips of Thai cooking from Chef Suthiwaja. I just loved the way she enjoys handling the ingredients and assembling them to make soulful food to say the least.

Before I share all the food that we learnt and ate there at Neung Roi I must tell that we had a very very good Thai pomelo salad there as well. We learnt Pla Yang Kamin ((grilled sea bass with fresh turmeric and herbs, served with tamarind chili dip), Yam Tuea Plu (winged beans salad with roasted coconut and tamarind dressing), Tom Kha Gai (chicken and coconut milk soup with Thai herbs), Gai Kaprow (stir fried minced chicken with chili and hot basil) and the famous Thai dessert Tub Tim Krob (water chestnut in coconut jasmine syrup). And then we tasted these and more for lunch that day.

We started our meal with the Pla Yang Kamin, the delicately grilled fish bursting with flavours of galangal and lemongrass and yet very light. The dipping sauce that came with it was so good I couldn't stop licking that sauce. It was a very flavourful hot-sweet-tart tamarind chili dip sprinkled with sliced shallots.

Deep fried corn fritters were served with sweet chili sauce and this was the only dish that I found useless for myself. The other vegetarian starter with mushrooms on a stick was appreciated by everyone, I should have tasted that one too. But no regret, I had so much of flavourful and healthy food to eat.

The Thai pomelo salad (Yam Som O) was recommended by Ruchira and we all just loved this light citrus salad sprinkled with fried onions and roasted coconut. This salad is the best example of how fresh ingredients need very simple recipes to make great tasting food.

Then we had another salad that confirmed the same 'law of simplicity in making the best recipes'. It was the Yam Tuea Plu, winged beans salad and this was the first time I tasted winged beans. The salad was just so good I prayed for the winged bean sapling I have planted, so it grows well and gives me loads of winged beans. Crunchy slices of the beans were coated lightly with roasted peanut powder and coconut, shallot slices, kafir lime and coriander leaves complementing the tamarind dressing so well. I had another large helping of this salad.

Tom Kha Gai, the soup came and I was expecting great flavours as I had seen Chef  Suthiwaja creating this soup with oyster and enoki mushrooms along with chicken breast and herbs. The soup was able to cast a spell on every one as there was pin drop silence as we all sipped on the goodness of this white pristine soup drizzled with chili oil.

Pad See Eeu (pad Thai noodles), plain boiled rice and Gai Kaprow (stir fried minced chicken) were served for mains and were all nice. Chicken mince was cooked with some long beans (lobiya) bits and I like this kind of food for my everyday meals too. But I must add that this Gai Kaprow was not as flavourful as the salads and the soup.

Tub Tim Krob, the cubed water chestnuts in sweetened coconut milk was out of this world. Mildly sweet, just as I like it and great texture of water chestnut that we always love. I have tried making this dessert at home but have not been able to make it perfectly as yet. Now after this masterclass I am going to make it next season for sure. This is one of those delicious and healthy desserts that we love.

Roasted coconut ice cream was served on the side and was really good. It was hard to find roasted coconut taste but it was rich in coconut flavours and texture.

Fugtong Chum (candied pumpkin in coconut milk) was too sweet for my taste although I like pumpkin in desserts. But I liked the idea and might make it with adjusted sweetness for my taste buds.

It was one gloomy looking winter day when I headed for this masterclass but the happy chatter of friends and good food made the day. It was a big gathering after a long long time as Ruchira, Parul, Himanshu and Deeba were there and I met Om Rautray and Maneesh too.

Happy meals end with a craving for some more chitchat, some more nostalgia and a bit of overeating sometimes. With this kind of healthy Thai food where you can go gluten free if you wish and make a meal out of those yummy salads, the overeating is well worth it. I was wondering why I haven't been to Neung Roi already with Arvind, will be correcting that soon.