Southeast Asian Vegan Banquet

I decided it would be a good idea to take a cooking class or two. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a vegan cooking class in any of the communities I’ve lived in, but right now I have the good fortune to live near NYC. That seems to make a big difference in terms of vegan opportunities!

I went searching online, and came up with the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Public Classes. When I was searching, most of the classes marked as vegan were full, but I saw one that was happening in February, that looked really interesting. Hence, I enrolled in the Southeast Asian Vegan Banquet class, with instructor Myra Kornfeld, author of The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals. The class was really cool, and the food was amazing. I’ve never taken a cooking class before (well, I had home ec in middle school, but I don’t think that really counts). The class isn’t a “beginner” class, but that was fine- I don’t think I had any problem keeping up. There were a lot of individual dishes on the menu, which might seem a little daunting, but you as a student don’t cook each individual dish- you’re broken up into teams of two, and in this case, we each cooked two of the dishes. At the end, everything was all plated together- you’ll see in the pictures.

My only complaint about the class is that the Watercress Salad with Cucumber & Green Mango in Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette dish is not actually vegan; it contains honey. I am including a picture so you get to see what it looks like. Since that is a separate dish, it’s a little easier to skip eating it. You still get plenty out of the class by not making it, since you’re only making two out of the eight dishes yourself, anyway. I did mention it in my comments sheet, and hopefully they will be more clear in their advertising in the future.

I still plan on taking another class or six there in the future! It was a great experience, and the food was amazing!

The Menu

Hot and Sweet Sesame Nori Fins
Watercress Salad with Cucumber & Green Mango in Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette*
Galangal, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaf-Baked Tofu Medallions
Spinach-Thai Basil and Yellow Pepper Coconut Milk Sauces
Red Bhutanese Rice with Roasted Vegetables
Indonesian Sambal
Crispy Rice Noodles
Mango-Lemongrass Ice Cream Parfait with Lemon Tuiles


Hot and Sweet Sesame Nori Fins with Watercress Salad with Cucumber & Green Mango in Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette*


In the middle of the plate is the Red Bhutanese Rice with Roasted Vegetables; surrounding that is the Galangal, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaf-Baked Tofu Medallions. The rice/vegetables are topped with the Indonesian Sambal. It’s all surrounded by the Spinach-Thai Basil and Yellow Pepper Coconut Milk Sauces, and then topped with the Crispy Rice Noodles.


Finally, Mango-Lemongrass Ice Cream Parfait with Lemon Tuiles. The ice cream is the only thing the students didn’t make, though we watched it being made at the very beginning of the class (since it had to get into the ice cream maker right away in order to be ready). It was delicious!

*Not vegan as prepared in class.

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8 Responses to Southeast Asian Vegan Banquet

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Southeast Asian Vegan Banquet | The Picky Vegan -- Topsy.com

  2. I took my first class there in January! (same instructor, the class was “Vibrant Vegan Vegetable Dishes”: http://bit.ly/elOE9M ) She was a little funny about my camera but ultimately I was able to take a picture of the three dishes I made.

    Loved the dishes you made. I’ll have to look for that class because I agree with you, I’m going back for more! (I’m taking the vegan hors d’oeuvre in May). I wonder if they have a raw cooking class? Will have to look!

  3. jodie says:

    I saw your post! I knew I had seen a post about them recently, but I couldn’t remember where. I had already signed up for this class, and was glad to see another review. I don’t think she saw me taking pictures, but there were actually quite a few people who were doing so. I hope it doesn’t cause a problem- I was very careful not to give away any copyrighted info. I know the honey thing isn’t a positive, but I would hate for another vegan to take the class on my say-so and then get caught off-guard by the honey thing. I just hope they fix either the description of the class or sub the honey with agave next time.

    There is a raw cooking class coming up on March 28- Easy and Affordable Raw. I was thinking of taking that as well as the vegan/gluten-free/soy free mini cake baking/decorating classes (there’s two) and the Seitan Workshop. That hors d’oeuvres class looks awesome, too! I think I have some choices to make. 🙂

    • I signed up for Easy and Affordable Raw right after I read your blog post (reading blogs is DANGEROUS for me! LOL) The Seitan workshop is a great idea .. I’ll have to look a the date…

      I phoned the school and asked if I could take photos. They said I could not take photos of the classroom, or the students and only the food I made myself. When I got to class I went to Myra to let her know what I was doing. It was an “interesting” exchange, let’s say, but ultimately she said it was fine to proceed as the school suggested. Whatevs. I gave her and the school great propos on my blog!

      • jodie says:

        Well, I’m hoping that I don’t get in trouble. The two dishes I made were one of the sauces and the Sambal- and neither were plated separately, so…

  4. Good for you for taking a cooking class. I visited the Natural Gourmet Institute on a trip to NYC a few years back. What a great resource. P.S. I’m thinking of going to the Vida Vegan conference too, will probably buy my ticket next week!

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