Baan Thai Cookery School, Chiang Mai, Thailand. For about $30, the class runs from 9a-3p with an hour break 1-2. You make five dishes and the class begins with a short tour of the market and the ingredients you will be needing. Overall very interesting to learn about the spices and vegetables, cooking technique, etc.
We started out at Sompet Market in the Old City. There were mostly locals buying the day’s fresh produce and maybe grabbing a fruit smoothie or plate of curry.
Delivery of more produce via motorbike
Four varieties of eggplant that I had never even heard of
One of the teachers explains that they sell the “soup pack” at the vegetable stand with all the ingredients for flavoring your soup.
Thai food of course is very big on chili peppers of all hotness levels, garlic and
Fresh live fish can be chosen
A few kinds of shrimp, and bags of clams with herbs
My first dish was papaya salad. It uses the young green papaya which is more like cucumber before it turns ripe and yellow on the outside when it becomes the fruit most people know. The ingredients are like that of a spicy noodle dish but with shredded carrot and green papaya instead of noodles.
My class included a woman from France, two med school students from U of Minnesota and a cute couple from Taipei.
My fave dish, tom yum goong in progress. We also used woks and I noticed that the plain “cheap” ones work best. At home I have a “fancy” Calphalon wok. I can see now why it doesn’t really do the trick. You want the metal to be thin enough so the food is close to the heat and cooks quickly.
The great thing about this class is we made everything from scratch, including the coconut milk and curry paste. Homemade curry paste is no simple process! Takes a lot of elbow grease.
My new favorite dish might be khao soi or Chiang Mai Noodle. Lots of spices, egg noodles, chicken or pork, and coconut milk. If you make your own Thai dishes at home, it is better to buy the coconut cream and cut it with water or broth to your liking, rather than the cans of coconut milk. Although delicious, I found the homemade coconut milk we did to be a little too rich.
One of the desserts we tried was the very popular fried banana. Here they use the short tropical bananas rather than the kind we have n the US. You can also use sweet potato.
I plan on trying cooking classes in Vietnam and Cambodia as well. Dinner party at my house this summer!!