It is now Saturday evening which means I have completed my first full week of teachers training!! It also means that I was lucky enough to have a day off from yoga and teachers training! I spent my day learning how to cook Raw Thai Food from a darling little Thai lady named Ta at her home on Koh Samui. Ta was nice enough to invite me and 8 other teacher training students into her home and show us how she cooks with all the fresh produce from her organic garden. When we first arrived at 10am she had us peel two big bowls of raw almonds. In what she said usually takes her about an hour to do, all 9 of us took close to 2 hours to complete. It was a very tedious task which requires a lot of patience but we were all there to learn and were surprised at how much work actually goes into raw cooking. In about 4 hours we made 6 different dishes. Cold Tom Yum soup, Pa Tai (not to be confused with Pad Thai, which we initially did), Raw Pasta with a Cashew Dill sauce, Indian Curry, Almond Date Energy Balls and Raw Cacao Cashew Balls. The soup was to die for and I was surprised at how much flavour was in it without having to simmer over any heat. The broth was simply just fresh coconut water and the juice of the vegetable used in the traditional thai soup. It had a very nice spicy sweet balance with the fresh coconut meat and water and the hot chillies. I don't think Tom Yum soup will ever be the same now that I have tried this raw organic version. Ta seemed to take control as we all eagerly asked questions wanting to learn so we could make these dishes at home. We then went on to make Pa Tai which was a little appetizer of cucumber rounds topped with a sunflower seed and red onion mixture which was blended together. It was very simple but tasty. I enjoyed the saltiness because although our food at Vikasa has all been very good I've found it to be lacking in seasoning and I've really been missing that extra salt in so used to cooking with back home. Ta used Himalayan Salt, which is the healthiest salt you can use so we didn't feel to guilty adding this salt to our diet. As Ta continued to cook up a storm we were able to eat and ask questions as she went on to make the raw pasta. This was my favourite dish of the day. The pasta was made from shredded zucchini and cucumber and the sauce was made from blending cashews, apple cider vinegar and lots of dill mainly. The cashews made for a rich and creamy sauce while the dill added that extra freshness which went really nice with the raw vegetable noodles. I cannot wait to try and make this in my own. We were a little disappointed we weren't more involved in the cooking process but watching Ta work, I could relate to how she needed to always be in control and everything had to be her way as she wanted everything to taste amazing for us, which it did. After we ate our pasta she let us take charge of the desserts. We mixed raw cacao powder with honey and coconut oil to taste and then added raw cashews before rolling the mixture into bit sized balls. I found them to be a little bitter and personally would have added a bit more honey to up the sweetness especially since we were all craving something sweet since we've been eating mostly all vegetables and only getting sugar from fruit. While we were busy working on chocolate balls, Ta was whipping together the sauce for the Indian curry. I wish I saw more of what she was doing because the sauce was fantastic. We used shredded water chestnuts as rice for this dish. It was my first time seeing water chestnuts in its natural state as I'm used to buying it in cans back home. It basically looks like a giant piece of ginger root in which you peel and can use however you like. I tasted some of it on its own as I was shredding it and it was actually so sweet and full of flavour. Amazing the different between these fresh water chestnuts and our canned ones which have little to no flavour at home. I wish I could bring some home to add to my spinach dip, instead of using the cans. We finished the class by using the almonds we peels to make energy balls which consisted of blended almonds, dates and shredded coconut. This was my favourite dessert in which I will also try making at home. We had a wonderful afternoon joking around and enjoying our day off living like a true Thai local. Ta's garden was amazing. She would sneak away and come back with all these different fresh produce that we can't grow at home. Before she left she grabbed us a giant papaya from her garden and made us "eat, eat" before catching our tuk tuk to town. We were all sooo full after leaving her house and were all surprised at how film we felt from eating raw food. It's a lot of hard work and definitely not cheap to eat like this everyday but it was a good experience. It would be nice if Vikasa could make us some of these tasty raw dishes to change things up a bit. Don't get me wrong, the food is good and we are so lucky to have these amazing meals prepared for us everyday but it would be nice to have a bit more variety in our diet and seeing what she could make with all the same healthy ingredients was a big eye opener to us all. I would love to start learning more about this food movement and maybe open up a nice yoga studio/raw food bar when I get back to Canada.
Last night a group of us decided we would go out and experience a bit of the island nightlife after dinner. Every friday night in Koh Samui they have a little night market in the fisherman a village where all the locals and tourists go to shop and experience the local Thai street food vendors. After strolling through the market it was time to hit the bar. One of the girls here was in koh samui with her boyfriend for 3 weeks before training so she knew where all the hot spots were. She took us to this really cool bar on the beach that had giant bean bag chains and candle lit tables facing the ocean where you could just relax and hangout on the beach. I decided I wasn't going to drink as I am here for yoga and teachers training and want to detox my body as much as possible now as I know there will be plenty of partying to come. The bar had a really cool laid back island vibe, I loved it an cant wait to hangout at more bars like this as I continue to travel later on. There were a couple guys walking around selling paper lanterns and well all thought it would be a good idea if we all signed one and let it go as a little celebration for making it through week one! After we had our little lantern celebration we headed to the next bar called solo, where everyone goes on Friday night. There was a dj with two live musicians who took turns playing their instruments while the dj played popular club/dance songs. One was this insanely intense bongo drummer and the other player the saxophone! We all danced for a bit before making it to the craziest and final stop, The Green Mango. This was a younger backpacker type crowd with a dj spinning popular club songs much like what we would hear back home. It's not to often that I am out in a nightclub dancing sans alcohol and I was pretty impressed with my self control! It was fun to get out and fun and know that I would remember everything the next day and wake up feeling great! I am looking forward to going back to those bars when training is done and I can let lose a bit though. I can tell the nightlife here can get pretty crazy judging from what I saw being out until only midnight. Someone was saying the clubs are open til around 6 or 7 am!
Anyways I am getting tired and have a full day of training I have to get back to tomorrow. I sure it's only going to keep getting more and more intense as the weeks go on but I'm hoping my body will be more used to it by now. Come Friday, we were all super exhausted and ready for our day off today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day and I will have lots of strength and energy to make it through this next week! Ram, our philosophy teacher, arrives on Monday so I'm excited to get into that content of our theory practice. Not sure if I mentioned it earlier but Kosta had to go back to Russia for a few days and he gets back on Monday as well when Ram arrives so it will be interesting to see how intense his practices will be once he gets backs to make up for his days lost!
I will try and keep you all posted on how week two is soon and will also try to post my pictures from last night and our cooking class as soon as possible.