Penang | Tropical Spice Garden Cooking Class

During my trip to Penang last week (obviously I am still dreaming, Ha!) 2 weeks ago, I went for a cooking class. It was one of the best decision made. I have always wanted to do something different when it come to travel alone without hubby and children. Learning a new dish or two is one of the items I would love to do if time permits. Being a tourist, it is really nice to learn something new and for me, it will be cooking since I cook for the family. Reserved a place with Tropical Spice Garden under Pearly Kee. It’s a different menu every day and I chose Nyonya dishes! Just because of sambal! *mouth watering at the thought of it*

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Did you see those blue spray bottles on the front desk? It’s for us to spray on ourselves to protect from mosquitoes. Quite effecive, I must say, because I wasn’t stung by one during my walk around the garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Five of us in total for the class and we began with a guide introducing the herbs and spices which we will use in the class.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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In the class!!! Excited students. Can’t wait to start! 😀

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I (or rather we) didn’t take photos during cooking time as all of us were too engrossed to learn how to make sambal chili. What you are going to see next will be what I had cooked in the class.

First up, Braised Chicken in claypot.  (side note: I cooked the same for my family the following week I returned home but I added potatoes and it WAS a big hit!). The spices brought out the sweet flavour and tenderness of the chicken using low, high, low fire. Most importantly,  I was taught to watch the fire and check whether the chicken has been braised to the right texture so monitoring the time and water level is important.

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What I like about the second dish is, the chili! and of course, my favorite okra. I never attempted to make chili from scratch though I love it because I find it too time-consuming but after attending the class, I changed my mind. Good stuff needs to be made from scratch and this without artificial preservatives tasted really good!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Okra that doesn’t tasted slimmy but crunchy was fabulous. My hubby and kids don’t like okra just because of the texture, hard to chew and it’s SLIMMY, they said. I hope to change their mind with these one fine day 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Third dish is, Sambal Udang (Prawns)! Making the chilli paste, cooking it till the flavour is out before adding the prawns and cooking it till it’s perfect required some skill and not rush into it. The mint leaves add to its flavour. Not spicy enough to me but just right for the other students.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had a sumptuous meal after cooking our own dishes and the beautiful view from where I was seated oversee the coast of Penang was simply beautiful. Sorry there isn’t any photo of the coast as I was too preoccupied with food and chatting with new friends.

Thank God for the beauty of nature.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this is my teacher – Chef Pearly Kee! I bought her cooking book and my daughter has been flipping it since then. She told me, “Mummy, let’s cook all the dishes in this book!” .

She, the boy and the man are my biggest fans (of course, they have to be) and ate a lot of the sambal prawns when I re-cooked it last week 😛

I think next post will be my last post on Penang Island. Till then! ~ Jean.

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