Duck meat is flavorful, hearty and full-bodied but, to create sumptuous curries, Siamese cooks first had to master the art of deodorizing the meat’s fatty, gamey aroma. In traditional Siamese cuisine, gaaeng phet (แกงเผ็ด) and gaaeng khuaa sohm (แกงคั่วส้ม) are two coconut-based curry styles that frequently include duck as the main protein. Each cooking style complements the duck meat differently: gaaeng khuaa sohm pairs the duck with sweet and sour fruits, while gaaeng phet uses a blend of carefully chosen dry spices.
This masterclass presents a unique opportunity to delve into the taste awareness and culinary trends of a bygone era, and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of traditional Siamese duck curries. By studying recipes found in some of the most reputable and trustworthy Siamese cookbooks from the early 1900s and by drawing on the teachings and personal cooking style of the authors – some of the greatest culinary masters of their time – participants will gain insight into the history and flavors of these dishes. As the culinary world continues to evolve, it is important for anyone who cooks Thai food to be attentive to the broader, more nuanced aromatic patterns conveyed by these recipes, so they may cook and imbue these dishes with a sense of longing for what their creators had envisioned.