Singapore Classics Cooking Class

On Thursday I took the Singapore Classics cooking class at Coriander Leaf here in Singapore.  The class itself was a little expensive, but worth every penny.  We learned how to make 8 dishes, 2 of which are chili sauces.  It wasn’t a hands-on class.  We sat at the kitchen counter and watched the chef cook and give us all sorts of cooking advice.

Here are just a few of the great tips I learned in the class:

– Asian foods typically take 2 hours of preparation for about 2 minutes of actual cooking.
– Use canola, soybean, or sunflower oils in Asian cooking because they are flavorless.
– When stir frying, add the vegetables in the order that they cook so that they will all be evenly cooked at the end.
– Use an egg yolk beaten with a little bit of water to seal egg roll wrappers.
– Buy crabs, lobsters, mussels, and pretty much all seafood except shrimp while they’re still alive.  You can ask the fishmonger to kill them for you.  The reason for this is to prevent food poisoning from seafood that’s been dead too long.
– When frying whole chilies, pierce the chili or cut it in half to avoid the chili building up steam and exploding while cooking.
– The smaller the shoulder of the chili (the part where the chili meets the stem), the spicier it is.
– When blanching vegetables, the blanching water should have enough salt in it to taste like sea water.  The salt in the water helps retain the vegetable’s color and texture.
– A little bit of oil added to the blanching water makes the vegetables look shiny.