I recently wrote an article about Nonna Chong's Asian Cooking Classes and decided to attend one myself on Sunday 20 September 2020 from 4.30-6pm - perfect timing for dinner. I was enticed by the idea of making my favourite food, a Laksa, from scratch, instead of the readymade laksa pastes you can buy from Asian grocery stores.
When I venture out to food halls, if it's available on the menu, there are four items I always try, to compare between places, so I know where I'll get the tastiest version of what I love. That's Seafood Laksa, Lemon Tart, Caramel Slice and Scones. Right this minute, from the places I've been, I love the Caramel Slice and Lemon Tart from Baguette at Flinders Station which is rich and luscious and not sugar sweet. For Seafood Laksa, Laksa King Kitchen at Southland Shopping Centre. Scones, apart from the Serendipity Lavender Farm, I haven't tasted a light and tasty scone anywhere else yet. I guess all this is subject to individual preference, just like the Laksa has a variety of tastes, depending on which country it originates from.
I was quite excited to attend my first Zoom Cooking Class. First, the ingredients list arrives via email, and number of items you need will floor you if you've not cooked Asian before and don't have some staples in your cupboards. The day before the class, in comes the recipe and list of prep work to be done. Everything is very clearly set out, and of course, you have the recipe for life. I don't own a food processor, so I resorted to my trusty mortar and pestle to grind the fresh spices, or should I say, pound the spices. It's not as labour intensive as it sounds, but then again, I do love the charm of doing things the old fashioned way. I love using the pounder, a mezzaluna and old fashioned tin opener that you zig zag along the edges, and will choose them before the mod-cons. Strange I know, but I find joy in the doing.
On the day, I made sure I was all prepped (even made my own chicken stock from scratch) so I wouldn't be stressed, and this I highly recommend, especially if you have a long list of ingredients. Monica aka Nonna Chong's was spot on with her timing and was very clear in speech, and loud enough to hear. She engaged with everyone professionally and calmly, without wasting time in chitter-chatter. It was easy to see the steps she was taking and following her moves made me feel like I was on a Masterchef challenge, keeping up with the chef. Questions were asked by participants and Monica patiently answered each and everyone, suggesting alternatives where some didn't have certain ingredients because they couldn't find it.
Malaysian Laksa Carb Free - someone at home doesn't eat carbs
It took the full 1.5 hours as listed for the class, and the end result was fragrant and tasty with stock made from chicken and prawn heads. So delicious if I do say so myself. You adjust the condiments according to your taste and balance your sweet, salty, sour and spicy. I highly recommend Monica's classes as she doesn't make you feel rushed, has a calming and fun presence, and is ready to answer anything you throw at her, with patience.
The class I attended was the last one, last time I checked, but I see Monica has added more classes for the rest of September. It pays to stay in touch via Facebook and if you have little ones, and you're lucky enough, you could snap up a free kids cooking class as soon as it is listed. You'll find the list and booking details on the website and Facebook events. There were 3 FREEBIE kids cooking classes. Unfortunately typically, the freebie classes get snapped up super fast and are at full capacity. However there are 4 other events remaining, and I'm already tempted to attend the Hainanese Chicken Rice Class. It's not that I don't cook Asian, or can't look up a recipe book, but it's so much more engaging and enjoyable with Monica and it takes you away from isolation. If any of the following captures your interest,I have no doubt the rest of the classes with Monica are just as awesome.