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A Thai Dinner with Dan Gourmet and Blue Elephant Restaurant

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to be part of a special cooking class hosted by Dan Gourmet School of Kosher Culinary Arts. I felt a rush as I entered the building. It was the same heart-racing, passionate rush that I used to  get  when I grabbed my knives and headed out to my cooking class at The Art Institute of Seattle.

Dan Gourmet is a key culinary school in Israel. They also host special workshops  bring in chefs  from all over the world.  This class was honoring Chef Noorer Soomany-Steppe and  her daughter Chef Sandra Chandra Steppe. The two restaurateurs behind Blue Elephant, a world renown, award-winning Thai chain of restaurants known for their incredible quality and authentic flavors. They welcomed us with an introduction to Thai cuisine including tips on balancing flavors, tricks for curries and how to make all the ingredients from scratch. The Thai ambassador of Israel, Her Excellency Angsana Sihapitak was in attendance and she even lent her palate for some curry tasting.


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There were so many things to love about this class; firstly the atmosphere was warm, welcoming and professional. Dan Gourmet’s Kitchen is filled with abundant ingredients and down-to-earth explanations by Chef Amir Ilan, including where translations of ingredients names and where to buy them. Chef Ilan graced us with his humble attitude. Chef Noorer Soomany-Steppe and her daughter  Chef Sandra Chandra Steppe showed patience as we followed their lead.

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It was a feast for your eyes with this incredible line up of exceptionally fresh ingredients.



Yes! We tasted everything!



Chef Noorer Soomany-Steppe and her daughter Chef Sandra Chandra Steppe really went into details about every ingredient and every flavor profile.





What I found most captivating was the fact that they don’t use any MSG in any of their cooking and they basically explained every tip for balancing all the  flavors. They also recently came out with their own line of curry pastes which you can get online. Get it here.

If you ever visit Thailand, you have to visit their cooking school . I am sure I will, hopefully in the near future. If you want to explore cooking classes in Israel, check out the Dan Gourmet.

We got to take some recipes home with us! I am so happy to share them.

Kua Kling Kai

Southern Style Stir-fried Chicken with Yellow Chili Paste

Ingredients for Paste

2 pieces dried bird eye’s chili

2 pieces big red dried chili

4 pieces bird eye’s chili

1 tablespoon lemongrass

½ tablespoon kaffir lime zest

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon black pepper

3 cloves garlic

2 pieces shallot


100 grams minced chicken

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ tablespoon fish sauce

3 leaves kaffir lime leaves (finely sliced)

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon stock


  1. In a mortar, pound all of the paste ingredients until well blended.
  2. In a wok, add vegetable oil and stir-fry the pounded paste until an aroma develops.
  3. Then add chicken and stir-fry until cooked. Then add the stock.
  4. Add seasonings; fish sauce, sugar and salt.
  5. Then add sliced Kaffir lime leaves and turn off the heat.

Kaeng Phed Ped Yang

Roasted Duck Red Curry

(to make 3 servings)

Ingredients for Red Curry Paste

(or substituted by Blue Elephant ready-made red curry paste for 95 grams)

5 pieces  dried big red chilies

(15 minutes soaked in water, squeeze water out)

3 roots  coriander root

½ tablespoon kaffir lime zest

½ tablespoon galangal (finely sliced)

1 ½ tablespoon lemongrass (finely sliced)

5 cloves garlic   (peeled)

4 pieces shallot

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds

½ teaspoon ground roasted coriander seeds

½ teaspoon white pepper powder


In a mortar: pound all ingredients together until they become a smooth paste.


200 grams roasted duck, sliced

80 grams pineapple, preferably fresh, cut into small pieces

4 pcs cherry tomatoes

10 pcs nos grapes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 ½ cup coconut milk

1½ tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp palm sugar (reduce amount if using canned pineapple)

2 kaffir lime leaf, finely sliced

12 horapha basil leaves (sweet basil)

1 large red chili, sliced

5 pcs lychee


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan until hot. Add red curry paste.
  2. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes until an aroma develops.
  3. Add the coconut milk a little at a time and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the roasted duck, the pineapple and the cherry tomatoes and simmer.
  5. Add the grapes, kaffir lime leaf and red chilli thinly sliced. Bring to the boil.
  6. Add the Thai sweet basil leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl, float the cream of coconut milk on top of the curry and sprinkle with basil leaves.
  7. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

For the fun of it, here are a few photos of when I studied at The Art Institute of Seattle in 2007. It’s kind of where it all began, the beginning of a love, a passion that is always there, no matter how busy I am or how much I have to do.


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