Vegetarians of Washington Thai cooking class

Vegetarians of Washington is a nonprofit that promotes a vegetarian lifestyle in the Seattle Area. It’s largest event is the annual Vegfest, a huge gathering of vegetarian and vegan vendors showing and giving samples of their products, but the organization also hosts regular free cooking classes.

I artended my first cooking class this Sunday, I Love Thai Cooking with Thai chef Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen.

Chef Pranee also teaches at PCC Natural Markets.

We were given a packet of three recipes: green papaya salad, simmered vegetarian curry, and sweet sticky rice with coconut cream.

Chef Pranee demonstrated the green papaya salad and curry while sharing stories from her life in Thailand and explaining ingredients, techniques, and equipment that may be unfamiliar to most Americans. We were able to try the salad and curry as well.

Some more unusual ingredients in this class were green papaya (which, unlike the soft ripe orange papaya has the texture of raw carrots), young jackfruit (unlike ripe yellow jackfruit, which is sweet, young jackfruit is used as a meat substitute), and palm sugar (which comes as a solid chunk and needs to be grated, unlike our “powdery” white and brown sugar).

Young jackfruit really looks like white chicken or pulled pork before sauce, but it doesn’t taste like meat or have a texture like meat. It melts in your mouth and doesn’t have structure. I don’t think it’s a great meat substitute because the only resemblance is visual.

This class was very well-attended and Vegetarians of Washington usually fills up the reservations. If you live in Seattle and are interested in expanding your culinary horizons or adopting a more healthy lifestyle, check Vegetarians of Washington out. You don’t have to be vegetarian to get involved. And don’t miss Vegfest!

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