Anyways, thought I'd share a bit on an experience in Chiang Mai in Thailand's north. After getting off our over-night train from Bangkok, we arrived in Chiang Mai in the morning. Feeling a bit peckish, some of my travel companions and myself decided to attend a cookery class! It was SO MUCH FUN!!! Omg I absolutely loved it. I learnt how to cook SO MUCH! And it all tasted AMAZING!! The Cookery School we went to was the Baan Thai Cookery School and it's been recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide for Thailand as well (God Bless Lonely Planet!).
The school was situated within a maze of side roads, as everything seems to be in Thailand =P. We were seated in a room with both ends open to let the beautiful breeze flow through while our teachers for the day served us a platter of fruits and snacks. As we munched away the structure of the program was explained to us - as it was a half-day class we got to chose to make 4 dishes (1 extra if you go for the full day). There were a range of dishes to choose from different categories....so within our little group we tried to split it up so we all made different things. I ended up choosing Stir-Fried Prawns, Tom Yum Soup, Green Papaya Salad and Penang Curry.
Before we got cooking though, we were taken on a little expedition to the local fresh produce market.....I love these types of places, and it was SO refreshing to go to a place which wasn't crawling with tourists.
This had to be one of the highlights of the cooking class actually, I thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the aisles and picking out a few things to try. We had the traditional Thai ingredients explained to us by our teachers, and we were all given a few things to take back to the school to cook with. I took note of the location of the market because I was certain I was going to return before leaving Chiang Mai!!
Once we got back the real fun started.....each dish was given a different cooking station and we all watched the teachers cook the dish step by step and all the students just followed on. I must say, it makes it much easier when the ingredients are prepared for you and the cooking equipment is all set up. OH, and no washing up! BRILLIANT! If only it was like that at home...
After we had finished preparing one dish, we would sit back down in our little groups and enjoy the fruits of our labour....absolutely deeeelish! It was SO satisfying to make such authentic good tasting Thai food. Never in my DREAMS did I think I would be able to re-create some of these classic Thai dishes. Of course, there are alot of factors that would make it a bit more difficult back home, such as the cooking equipment used. I'd have to do a bit of searching to find a wok as good as the ones we used, which was also seasoned. Also, one of the key things about Thai cooking appears to be the amount of heat generated by the stove top - the ones we used were SOOOO HOT that it was so hard to even let your hand linger over the pan to stir the contents....Also, I'd have to search through my local fresh produce market to source some of the authentic ingredients such as the small Thai eggplants.
|Stir Fried Prawns|
|Green Papaya Salad - Made mine extra hot haha =)|
|Spring Rolls - These were made by my friend Nat...so crunchy!|
|Tom Yum Soup|
|Penang Curry - Definitely my favourite!!|
After chowing down on our first dish, we moved on the next, and so it went on until we finished our last dish, by which time we were absolutely stuffed. We had made so much food, I sorta wished we could have doggy-bagged it ahahha. The class ended up going over the allocated half day, but we weren't complaining!! The great thing was that we got a cookbook with all the recipes of ALL the dishes we could have possibly cooked that day, as well as a guide to all the common ingredients used in Thai cooking. I even bought some Thai curry pastes to take home to try re-create our magnificent dishes. I'm so keen to get in the kitchen and make some of these dishes! Especially the Penang curry, that had to be my fav....mmmmmm so good.
Baan Thai Cookery School
11 Rajadamnern Rd. Soi 5 T.Sriphoom, A.Muang
Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand