21 December 2010

Look Choop Workshop at Sam.Leong@Forest Cooking School

Attended a Look Choop Thai Dessert Hands-on Workshop at Sam.Leong@Forest Cooking School last Friday. That's right, the new cooking school on the block, by husband and wife team, Chef Sam Leong and Chef Forest. Chef Sam specialises in Chinese cuisine whereas Chef Forest in Thai. The cooking school is located at 4A Craig Rd, level 2 of a shophouse, first-timers might get a little lost, just like I did :p

The cooking school felt very cosy and especially so with the hospitality of Chef Forest, making us feel totally at home.

Upon entering the school, you will see a reception counter. To the left is the kitchen/demo classroom and to the right, the dining hall/hands-on area.
Spanking new kitchen where cooking and demo take place.
Dining hall cum hands-on area.
Chef Sam's and Chef Forest's cook books are on sale here as well.
Opposite the reception counter, a mural of newspaper clippings.
Self-service beverages.
Ok, back to the Look Choop dessert. For those of you who are not familiar, Look Choop is actually a dessert made from green mung beans, shaped into tiny fruits/veg, painted and then coated with agar agar. Chef Forest first shared with us on the interesting history of Look Choop. Look Choop used to be a dessert only served to the royalty in Thailand, where commoners hardly have a chance to taste it. Look means baby (very tiny) and Choop is the action of dipping.

Hubby loves this dessert and would always buy a pack whenever we go Bangkok. So when I saw on the school's website that there's a hands-on class, I signed up promptly, hoping that I could satisfy hubby's craving after attending the class.

Chef Forest first demo-ed the process of handling the green mung bean paste, which unfortunately a long and tedious process. Have to soak the beans overnight, steam, blend with coconut cream, then pan-fry till paste form. The frying part is the most tedious, have to keep stirring to prevent the paste from getting burnt and it could take around 45min to 1hr. It gets tougher to stir/fry as the batter turns from runny to pastey form, good form of exercise for the arm! If traditional flower candle is available, smoke the cooled paste would give it a tinge of herbal aroma. Chef Forest kindly gave each student a flower candle specially bought from Bangkok.

Next, she demo-ed the agar agar dipping liquid which is fairly simple.

Then came the interesting hands-on part.
Tools and ingredients used for painting the Look Choop.
Nope. These pretty pieces of art-work were not done by me. These were made by Chef Forest as samples for us to see. They were made slightly larger than those sold in Bangkok as the smaller it is, the harder it is to make. So she advised us to start 'big'.

She went through each type of fruit and veggie, showing us how to mould, shape then paint them.
So after painstakingly moulding the mung bean paste, they looked like this. Trust me it was not easy at all. Needed a lot of patience, imagination and nimble fingers. Can you guess what fruits and veg were they? They looked barely presentable without colour, but after colouring, you could see a slight resemblance to the real thing.
My Look Choop after painting and before dipping into the agar agar liquid. Not too bad lah. At least the mangosteen looked like mangosteen right?
Ta-dah, my creations after dipping with agar agar! I know, they looked fat and ugly, unlike the dainty little gems sold in Bangkok. Well, at least they are edible and tasted good.

Chef Forest gave each student a box of the mung bean paste for practise at home. I'm gonna practise moulding the Look Choop soon as the paste can only be kept in the chiller for up to 10 days. Well, if they 'look good' enough, I might post them up here :p, and if you don't see them, well you know.

Sam.Leong@Forest Cooking School
4A Craig Road


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I have been waiting for their school to open... Before I run off to check out their website, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  2. Hi Shirley,
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you too!