A Cook’s Tour: Northern Thailand – Recipe Box Review
By Roger Crow
We don’t always eat the things we want because they involve hard work. So easy dishes become the norm, and sadly we settle for them.
Take Thai food for example. Absolutely love it, but as we live in the back of beyond, getting a decent Thai meal without travelling at least 15 miles is a problem.
Which leaves cooking at home, and there are really no excuses. Just about everything can be ordered online these days. That’s certainly the case with A Cook’s Tour, which is a splendid home meal kit and online instructional video.
So, one week I order my Thai meal for two, and am given an hour’s window when it would arrive – which was spot on.
A box full of goodies, including a steaming basket; container of sticky rice; chicken thighs; skewers, sweetcorn fritter batter mix; assorted sauces; sausages, pork scratching, and salmon turned up, beautifully packaged in straw, with booklets and even latex gloves.
By 7:15pm, I watch the wine-pairing video before the 7:30 start, and get all my kit together.
Then it’s just a case of popping the oven on; sticking a pan of water on to boil, and we’re off.
The online guide is outstanding, though there is a feeling that the chef and the host are talking to people who only live in London. It matters little. The insider information on Thai cookery is a treat.
The rice process is really easy. Pop a banana leaf under the steamer and use a knife to cut a disc from said frond, which then sits in the bottom of the steamer. Pop the steamer baskets with the rice in over the boiling water; set your alarm and flip the rice half way through cooking. Obviously keep an eye on water levels in the pan during the process.
The salmon is a simple and fascinating dish to craft. Coated in red curry sauce, with Makrut lime leaves, and wrapped in a couple of banana leaves held together with a skewer, pop that in the oven with topped and tailed green beans, and that’s stage two.
While that’s all cooking away, soak some dehydrated prawns for a suggested five minutes. (Actually 15 would be closer the mark). Pop your Kohlrabai and carrot salad in a bowl with the sweet spicy sour dressing, along with toasted peanuts and eventually those hydrated prawns, and you’re good to go.
The grilled chicken is even easier. Chicken thighs threaded onto skewers, seared in a pan and finished in the oven are a dream, especially when eventually dipped in the Tamarind sauce.
The sweetcorn fritters are equally simple. Give the batter a stir; blob four portions into a hot pan; flip half way through and serve with the Sriracha sauce, mint, coriander and Thai basil.
All of that is quite a feast, but easy to create as most of the hard work is done for you. If you’re a lover of spicy food, then you’ll adore it, but if you like less intense heat, use less sauce obviously.
For me everything was super tasty, but way too fiery. The Chiang Mai herbal sausage was no exception. Cooked in the oven, again it was very moreish, especially with the supplied pork scratchings and baby cucumber, but far too intense for my sensitive palate. (Top tip: Have some of those yoghurt drinks on standby if your mouth feels like it belongs to a Game of Thrones dragon).
Despite the intensity, the food is terrific; the guides, both online and print, are easy to follow, and the experience is an absolute treat.
The fact A Cook’s Tour has assorted world cookery classes and guides mean those special meals can be rustled up at home without travelling miles for the experience.
Created by luxury London caterer Rocket Food during lockdown to satisfy the appetites for food lovers and adventure seekers who wanted to open up their culinary repertoire, the new season of A Cook’s Tour 2022 offers a chance for people to cook with renowned chefs and go on a number of exciting food adventures, all from the comfort of their own home.
A Cook’s Tour: £85 for two plus delivery. To book go to: https://acookstour.co.uk
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