Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Learn to cook Asian food from the experts

Phyllis Louise Harris
January 2015

Some of the most memorable moments of my life were spent in the kitchen learning to cook traditional Chinese cuisine. The kitchen was run by the amazingly talented Florence Lin and whether it was in the training kitchen at the China Institute in America in New York City or Florence’s tiny kitchen in California, I learned something new and delicious every time.

You, too have the opportunity to learn about cooking Asian food even if your grandmother did not come from Asia. (Or even if she did and you forgot to get her recipes.) The Twin Cities has a wealth of cooking class opportunities covering everything from kimchi to sushi to Thai curries and more. Here are just a few:

Sushi at Coastal Seafoods
Who else would you turn to but this well-known seafood importer who sells to top restaurants and markets in the Twin Cities. Coastal was among the first to offer sushi classes and continues to provide the basic training for sushi at home. Classes are $60 and fill up quickly. Dates begin January 15, then February 19 and once a month through October in Coastal’s Minneapolis store at 2330 Minnehaha Avenue S. For more information go to or call 612-724-7425.

Kimchi, Chinese and Japanese cooking at Minneapolis Community Education Adult Classes, Southwest High School
Learn to make the delicious Korean pickled vegetable, kimchi, along with its German counterpart sauerkraut on February 11 at Southwest High School. Or create Chinese tamales, zongzi sticky rice dumplings, on February 5, or Japanese cuisine on March 5 – all at Southwest High School. Just three of the Asian cooking classes offered through the Adult Class schedule. Or try a 3-part course in Southern Chinese Cooking January 27 – February 10. Classes run from $24 to $46 plus ingredient fees. Discounts are available for seniors. For more information go to or call Tom Neiman, 612-668-3100. Registrations are open and it is first come, first served.

Supatra’s Thai Cuisine
One of the area’s most talented and prolific Thai cooks, Supatra Johnson, offers cooking classes in her St. Paul restaurant, Supatra’s at 967 West 7th Street, St. Paul. The next class is Sunday, March 1 from 12 – 2 pm, for $65 including beer or wine. Enjoy and learn to make Thai egg rolls and pad Thai with chicken. You can also pick up a copy of her most complete Thai cookbook, “Crying Tiger: Thai Recipes from the Heart” at the restaurant or at Kitchen Window. In the meantime, check out her website for some of the most complete information available on the cooking and ingredients of Thailand –

Kitchen Window
With a variety of Asian classes Kitchen Window in Calhoun Square, Minneapolis, offers a continuing array of learning experiences. Among them is Thai World of Fried Rice on April 29 at 6:00 p.m. Chef Joe Hatch-Surisook offers a variety of fried rice dishes that will challenge any taste bud. How about basil fried rice with ground pork, long beans, chilies and fried egg? Cost is $75 and includes participation and tastings. Also, check out Kitchen Window’s series of sushi classes. For more information go to or call 612-824-4417 or toll free 1-888-824-4417.

Thai cooking at Sawatdee by Supenn Harrison
The founder of the area’s well-known Thai restaurant chain, Sawatdee, is also an avid teacher. Supenn Harrison offers two series of classes during the winter to give you the basic skills for making delicious Thai cuisine. Series 1 is held February 21 and 28 and Series 2, March 21 and March 28 at the Washington Avenue Minneapolis restaurant. From 1 – 3 p.m. Supenn demonstrates basic Thai cooking techniques for egg rolls, spring rolls, toam yum soup and chicken and coconut soup plus salad, curry and noodle dishes. Cost is $110 per series or $60 per class and includes some hands-on experience plus a copy of the Sawatdee Cookbook. And, of course, it includes tastings. Classes are limited and fill up fast so go to or call 612-338-6451 for registration and information.

Cold winter days are a great excuse to spend time in warm kitchens and learn more about Asian cooking. With so many delicious opportunities in the Twin Cities it is time to get out and explore them all. They will give your home cooking a whole new dimension.



Read more about Asian food in Minnesota and try more than 160 recipes in Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875, now in bookstores and on

Buy online:  Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875  

Watch the EMMY® award winning “Asian Flavors” television show based on the book on tpt MN. Check local TV listings for broadcast times or view the show streaming online at: