Cooking Thai food in Chiang Mai

A few weekends ago, I embarked on one of the crazier travel decisions of my life – going to Thailand for a mere 3 days (it’s a 9 hr plane flight from Sydney, which is in fact close to essentially no other cities in the world) for a wedding and to reunite with all the people I worked with in Manila.  It was more than worth it and definitely one of the best weekends I’ve had in quite a while.  The night before the wedding, we all went to a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai and it warrants blogging about because Thai food is so amazing.  I adore all Asian cuisine, but if I had to pick a favourite I would probably have to go with Thai (although Japanese and Vietnamese can vie for that spot as well).  The variety of spices, stir fry dishes, and noodle dishes are amazing, and to be able to go to a cooking class for Thai food in Thailand was such a great experience.

My favourite thing about cooking classes is they give you all the ingredients and clean up after you, and you get to eat the food and learn how to make it.  Normally they are quite expensive, but in Thailand, obviously they are a fraction of the cost than they would be in Sydney or even America.  For about $30, we got a 4 hour experience that involved going to a Thai market and making a three course meal in an adorable house with its own herb garden and cooking station set up in the backyard.  Amazing!

IMG_4235We started off with this appetizer that involved lettuce leaves, some sauce, and different elements of Thai cooking – salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, etc.  You put a bit of each in the lettuce leaf with the sauce and ate it to whet your appetite.

IMG_4242I chose to make pad see ew, my favourite noodle dish – so with that awesome knife and our cute round cutting boards I chopped up garlic, bok choy, and carrots, the main ingredients.

IMG_4244Noodles for both pad thai and pad see ew along with the egg to crack into the pan

IMG_4250Finished pad see ew product – so delicious

IMG_4257Making papaya salad with an awesome mortar and pestle

IMG_4269We chopped up tomatoes and added chili and fish sauce to the papaya and carrot mixture and stirred it all together in the bowl

IMG_4270Top with peanuts and you’ve got yourself a deceptively innocuous looking dish – but the spice really grows on you as you it!

IMG_4273All the ingredients for the four different kinds of curry pastes we made – red, green, Penang (basically red with peanuts), and Massman (involves cool star anise and cinnamon).  We used the mortar and pestle to smash up all the ingredients (chilis, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, etc. depending on the type of curry) into a paste, and then we used the paste along with coconut milk to make our own curries.

IMG_4280My penang chicken curry with fresh basil.  So delicious!

Key take-away: If you ever go to Thailand, do a cooking class.  And not at a resort or somewhere fancy, but in an actual local area where you can be at someone’s house, learning about the stories and culture behind one of the greatest cuisines in the world.  What a fantastic experience!

One Response to “Cooking Thai food in Chiang Mai”
  1. ellenmbard says:

    What fun! I’m doing a cooking class here next week…

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