October 02, 2009

Raw food cooking class / VeganMofo

Veggies on the counter
We took a raw foods cooking class at PCC Natural Markets, our local food coop. It was taught by the head chefs at Chaco Canyon Café, a great organic, half-raw, vegan restaurant in Seattle. I've been there twice and have eaten raw both times, but my husband chose cooked foods on our two visits. I eat a lot of raw food - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds - but other than salads, don't usually prepare special raw dishes. I eat more cooked foods than raw, especially during the cold months, but was really interested in learning more about preparing raw foods. The subject of the class was Thai food, with an introduction to using young Thai coconuts.

Raw Thai tom kha soup
The first dish our chef-teachers prepared was a raw tom kha soup, using the water and meat of a young coconut as well as traditional Thai ingredients like lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro and ginger. To simulate the flavor usually obtained from fish sauce they used dulse and Nama Shoyu. The soup was raw and cold, and served with sweet red pepper and mung bean sprouts. This was not my favorite part of the meal. To be perfectly honest, I prefer hot, cooked tom kha, but if I were following a raw foods diet, hey, this would be a good recipe to have.

Marinating mushrooms and other things
The next dish prepared was Portobello mushroom larb salad. I don't have a photo of this so you'll have to take my word for it that it was attractive as well as tasty. After marinating the mushrooms for an hour, they became soft and pliable, as if gently cooked, and they were served atop a beautiful plate of mixed salad greens augmented with green onions, basil and cilantro.

Raw Thai green curry
Raw Thai green curry, a dish recently developed for the restaurant, was the entrée. A wonderful, creamy sauce was served over a plate of mixed raw veggies. This was my favorite dish. I really loved it.
Coconut mango parfait

The dessert was coconut mango parfait, except it was made with pineapple. One thing the teachers stressed was the need to be flexible when preparing food. You need to adjust ingredients to suit the nature of the fruits and veggies you are using. Is the lime especially sour? Are the carrots unusually sweet? Are the mangoes looking unripe and funky? Are there no parfait glasses in the kitchen? You get the picture. The parfait was another example of how to use young Thai coconuts and consisted of cardamom-scented young Thai coconut pudding topped with fruit.

I have permission to share a recipe from this dinner on my blog, and I think it will be the portobello mushroom larb salad. As soon as I get it together to gather the ingredients and make some, you'll be the first to know.


  1. Wow great looking food!

  2. Wow, raw Thai food sounds like a perfect idea! I love that parfait, it looks magnificent.

  3. I recently took a raw cooking class too, and worked a lot with the Thai coconuts. We even learned how to open them. Their water and flesh tasted amazing, but I was a bit intimidated about opening them at home on my own!! ^_^

  4. Lindsay,
    Thanks! It makes me want to go out to dinner at the café.

    In the restaurant, they would layer the pudding and fruit to make an actual parfait, but the class kitchen only had bowls. It had a wonderful flavor.

    As I watched them being opened, I was wondering about opening one at home. It was a little intimidating, I agree.

  5. Yay--I was hoping for some more details on the mushrooms! They sound fantastic. And what a fun class to take! Everything looks gorgeous, and tasty too :-)


  6. Courtney,
    Hopefully next week. I want more of those mushrooms.

  7. Yum! I really miss eating raw food. I'm hoping to eat raw at least 50% of the time once VeganMoFo is over. That coconut mango parfait looks delicious.

  8. You always take the most interesting cooking classes! The soup actually looks great to me, but I've never had it cold. And of course the parfait--in a glass or not--looks amazing.

  9. Thanks for sharing- I am on a raw foods fast right now..

  10. Mo,
    I think I could eat raw 50% of the time. Maybe I could just go to Chaco Canyon Café for 50% of my meals. :) (just kidding)

    The soup probably IS great - I'm just used to having my tom kha hot, and it's such a favorite I'm kind of prejudiced.

    What is a raw foods fast? Do you just have raw smoothies and such?

  11. That looks like it was a fun and informative class. I'm looking forward to the salad recipe.

  12. Wow, what a great class! It looks like they covered a lot of interesting dishes. Thanks for the recap! :-)

  13. Diann,
    I'm hoping to make the salad today - but all those limes to squeeze!

    Chow vegan,
    You're welcome! We learned a lot in the class.


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