On the agenda for today is a one day Thai cooking class, and we've really been looking forward to it. After reading several reviews, we chose "Basil Healthy Thai Cooking School", and it was a great choice.
We had a wonderful, fun day learning to cook some delicious Thai food. Our instructor was a very nice young lady named Boom, she was an excellent teacher. One of the things we really liked about Basil is the class size is small, we got a lot of individual instruction, and were each able to choose from a large variety of dishes to cook.
David and I were joined by two delightful women, Christie and Adele. They are both from Sydney, Australia, although Christie and her family have lived in Thailand for 9 years. They were lovely classmates, and very nice to visit with.
Our day started early, with Boom picking us up at 8:45 a.m. As Christie and Adele were already with her, we drove straight to the Som Phet market to pick up our fresh cooking supplies. On the way to the market, Boom gave us a 6 course menu, with 3 choices in each course. We were each to choose 1 item from each course, and then would shop for our supplies at the market. It was fun choosing our own menu, and very educational to shop for the ingredients. Boom was a good guide through the market, explaining some of the unfamiliar Thai ingredients that we would be using. We each had our own market basket to pack our produce in! Here's David:
This is Boom, showing us some of the many different kinds of Thai peppers:
It was a short drive to Boom's house, we soon pulled up to a small townhouse in a narrow lane. We were greeted by Booms assistant:
We removed our shoes at the door, and walked into a pretty dining room, with the table all set, ready for they yummy Thai food we're going to cook!
Boom is a very well organized teacher, and had most of the prep work done for us. For each of our dishes there was a plate at our prep station containing all the necessary ingredients for that dish. Although we did do some minor chopping prior to cooking, we were able to spend most of our time actually cooking and listening to Boom's detailed and informative instruction. Her attention to detail shows in the pretty prep plates, I love how she nestled the egg in the noodles in that cute little basket. This prep plate was for my chicken Pad Thai:
David and I chose a different dish for each of our courses.
David: Thai Drunken Noodle Di: Pad Thai
Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Fried Cashew Nut with Chicken Stir Fried Minced Pork with Holy Basil
Red Curry with Bamboo Shoot Pa-Nang Curry
Savory Minced Chicken Salad Green Papaya Salad
Black Sticky Rice Pudding Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
We chopped, stirred and fried the day away! Here are some "action shots"
David is having a great time!
After we complete each course, we sat down together to enjoy our delicious food. As we'd each chosen different dishes, it was fun to share and taste each others creations. Needless to say, by the end of the day we were stuffed to the gills!
Here are some close ups of our our yummy food:
Tom Yum Kung (Hot and Sour Soup) So easy and quick to make!
Green Papaya Salad:
David's desert, Sweet Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk, it was really good!
My desert, Mango with Sticky Rice--deeeelicious!
We also learned how to make curry paste from scratch; it's a lot of work! There are many, many different ingredients to make up each type of curry. We each chose a different kind of curry, and there was a lot of chopping and grinding with a mortar and pestle to get just the right consistency. It was so much better than store bought curry paste, definitely worth all that work!
Here's David and Adele, grinding away:
We even made our own coconut milk from fresh coconut! Boom already had the coconut shredded, and we put it in a large cloth bag, and into a bowl of water. Then we just squeezed and squeezed, and we had fresh coconut milk in about 10 minutes! Here I am, making coconut milk:
It was a fun-filled and very educational day, and we certainly enjoyed the very nice company of Boom, Christie and Adele.
I see a few Thai dinner parties in our future, and you're invited!
Boom gave us a ride back to our hotel, where we once again relaxed at the Terrace Bar for a cold beer and a mojito. We sat and discussed the yummy food we'd cooked, which were our favorites and what we want to try first at home. We are determined to make our own panang curry paste at home!
We still had part of the afternoon left, and we didn't want to waste a minute of our time in Chiang Mai. Still on our list of things to do was to visit a workshop for the handicapped, with a gift shop where we could buy gifts to help support their program. We found it without too much trouble, and bought several items to bring home, including some nice kitchen utensils made from palm tree, and some very fragrant lemongrass soap.
We explored this new neighborhood for a couple of hours, slowly making our way back to our hotel, The Parasol Inn. A quick and delicious dinner at our favorite "hole in the wall" restaurant right around the corner, and it's back to the Inn to pack our bags, tomorrow we're off to Koh Samui!
We are sad to leave charming Chiang Mai, but looking forward to new adventures. Stay tuned!