Making authentic Thai dishes in 90 degree heat in an open kitchen.
29.06.2012 - 29.06.2012 90 °F
Dan and I extended our stay in Chiang Mai by two nights so that we could take fuller advantage of the activities offered. We decided to take a cooking class and learn how to make some authentic Thai dishes. We signed up for The Thai Farm Cooking School, an organic farm located in the sticks of Chiang Mai. A red truck/shared taxi picked us up early in the morning. In the back of the truck were the other 6 cooking school students.: 2 girls from Reno, a mother and daughter from Hong Kong, and 2 men from Amsterdam.
Our first stop on the trip to the farm was the local market to pick up our ingredients. We didn’t actually do any of the shopping, We marked the dishes that we wished to learn how to prepare and the instructor handed the sheets to a man as she led us deep into the market to talk about essential ingredients. It was hard keeping up with our instructor, as she was about 3 feet tall and FAST. She taught us about different types of rice, sugars, curries, and oils. She also showed us oyster sauce and fish sauce. Thais use a lot of oyster sauce and fish sauce.
After showing us the essential ingredients, we were given some free time to roam. We quickly found some pretty unusual items- insects. Fried water bugs, silk worms, bamboo worms, crickets, and what looked to be cockroaches. No thank you! We also saw whole-fish-on-a-stick. While some foods did look tasty, there was no way I was risking an upset stomach over any of the foods I saw.
We arrived at the farm after an hour’s drive through the countryside. Along the way we saw many villages, water buffalo, and other livestock. Thailand is crawling with animals. The farm has three impressive structures outfitted with classroom kitchens. WE toured the farm first. All of the produce ingredients are from the farm. We saw mangoes, dragon fruit, lemongrass, basil, bergamot, and many other veggies I’ve since forgotten. Next, we started prepping and cooking.
Collectively, Dan and I made 9 different dishes: green curry, red curry, Pad Thai, coconut soup, mango sticky rice, coconut-banana dessert, a wide noodle dish, basil chicken, and sweet and sour chicken. It was a hot and sticky day, but we had fun laughing with the other students and learning just how easy it can be to make the dishes.