While in Thailand one of our non-negotiable must dos was take a cooking course. The food is so good so we definitely wanted to be able to take home the skills to make it for ourselves. Not to mention that thai food is super expensive in Canada.
We chose the Baan Thai Cookery School out of the many many options. It seems that pretty much every restaurant in Chiang Mai offers courses (just like every guest house offers treks and every other store front offers massages). Baan Thai was close to our guest house and had some great reviews.
We were not disappointed! The morning started off with a market tour by our hilarious Chef Guru after which we chose what dishes we wanted to make and got to work! There were three different classes of eight people going on at Baan Thai that day, and three different dishes that we could chose for each meal. In total we made five different meals and a curry paste. For each meal the people from the three different classes went to whichever dish they had chosen, which made for approximately equal people at each station.
We each chose one curry, one appetizer, one soup, one stir fry and one desert. I did spring rolls, chicken in coconut milk soup, pad thai, panaeng curry and water chess nuts in coconut milk. Keith made papaya salad, fried cashew nut with chicken, Chiang Mai noodle curry, hot and sour soup and mango sticky rice. Plus they taught us all how to make the different kinds of rice.
We gorged ourselves all day, eating every dish that we made. The instructors were great, particularly ours who kept telling jokes that I found hilarious. The people in our group were great, and the staff were kind enough to care for the daughter of one couple so that they could participate fully. Overall, while I’m sure most of the cooking courses offered in Chiang Mai are great, I would recommend this one as a delicious and fun option. Now we can’t wait to impress our families back home with the easy, quick and delicious thai recipes that we learned!
And I’m sure that Keith will be making mango sticky rice quite often!!!
For the first recipe in months, here are a few that we made at the cooking school:
Papaya Salad [som tam]
50 g green (unripe) papaya or carrot or cucumber, shredded
10 garlic cloves
1-3 chillies (or 10+ if you’re thai)
½ tomato, quartered
1 chinese long bean, cut in one inch pieces
20 g peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 limes, quartered
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar if you don’t have palm)
Put garlic, chili, and Chinese long bean in the mortar and pound together (tenderly – their words not mine!)
Add palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and pound until the palm sugar is dissolved.
Put in the papaya and tomato and mix well.
Pour into the dish and top with peanuts!
Panaeng Curry with Pork [phanaeng moo]
75 g pork, cut into ½ cm slices
1 tbsp red curry paste (see below)
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves with the stems torn off
1 tbsp ground, roasted peanuts
25 g pea egg plant
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fist sauce
1 tsp panaeng powder (see below)
2 sliced red chili (or more or less dependent on your spice tolerance)
2 tbsp oil
Heat the oil in a wok over low heat.
Add the red curry paste and panaeng spices and stir continuously until fragrant and oil surfaces.
Add the pork and ¼ cup coconut milk and stir until pork is cooked.
Add the remaining coconut milk and pea egg plant, stirring.
Add fish sauce, palm sugar and ground peanuts and stir continuously until coconut milk becomes thick and the pork is tender (not very long).
Pour into dish and top with kaffir lime leaves, red chili and serve over rice.
1/6 tsp cumin
1/6 tsp cardamom
1/6 tsp coriander seed
1/6 tsp clove
1/6 tsp nutmeg
1/6 tsp black pepper
Pound all ingredients together in mortar.
Red Curry Paste
5 red dried chilies, soaked
3 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
50 g galangal (thai ginger), chopped
½ tbsp chopped lemon grass
1 tsp lesser ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp chopped kaffir lime peel
1 tsp coriander root
1 tsp turmeric root
Soak the dried red chilies in hot water for 10 minutes.
Put the garlic, lemon grass, kaffir lime peel, galangal and coriander root in the mortar and pound.
Add lesser ginger, turmeric root and shallots and pound well.
Add red chilies and pound well.
Add shrimp paste and pound until smooth and fine.
This can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.
Mango Sticky Rice
1 ½ kg cooked sticky rice
6 tbsp palm sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 litre coconut milk
1 ripe sliced mango
Heat coconut milk in a pot, add palm sugar and salt and stir well.
Add the sticky rice and cook on low for 30 minutes. Stir one more time and serve on a plate with sliced mango.