Sample Group Class Schedule (1 day)
Students arrive (12:00 )
Tea and discussion
First we'll drink some tea and discuss the dishes we're going to try today. Each student receives printed recipes and other information for the class.
Charcoal baked sweet potato
While we're drinking the tea, we'll try some Charcoal baked sweet potato. I hope this might even be a kind of bridge between Western 'potato' cuisine culture and Eastern cuisine. It also helps prevent people feeling hungry during the class! This is extremely simple to make, so it has already been prepared beforehand, but I'll explain the process.
Appetizer: Spicy pineapple
This is quite simple to make, so it should provide a gentle introduction for those who are unsure about their culinary skills -- but obviously it's also quite a strange combination (from a Western perspective), so it helps everyone jump straight into the heart of Asian cuisine. It's a dish that came to Taiwan from Sichuan and Yunnan in China. You can also find similar recipes in Thailand. The key to making spicy pineapple is the spiced oil, which is very useful as a dressing in many other dishes. In this part of the class, the students make the spiced oil and apply it to the pineapple themselves.
Main: Pan-fried dumplings, and dipping sauce
In my experience, foreign visitors really like these kind of fried dumplings dishes and are familiar with them from night markets and so on - so they are keen on learning them and they already have some idea how they should taste. I'll demonstrate these with a vegetable filling which should suit everyone, but it's not difficult to create your own fillings with ingredients you like. This is probably the most complex dish, as the dough rolling and dumpling filling takes some practice. The dough and filling are prepared in advance, but the students make the dumplings themselves.
The dipping sauce is a key part of the dumpling experience, and it gives everyone a chance to express their creativity by mixing their own sauce from the traditional ingredients provided.
Dessert: Taro dumplings and coconut syrup
Made from steamed Taro mixed with flour, this is a traditional dessert. However, the addition of coconut milk to the syrup helps make it more palatable to Western tastes, I think. Students make this one themselves.
Dinner is served!
Now everything is prepared, we fry the dumplings and then enjoy our three course meal together with tea.
Bonus dish: Fried rice (around 17:00)
After the class, I'll demonstrate how to make fried rice and give each student a portion to take home. If we have enough time, I'll invite some of the students to try making it, too.