Thai Cooking Class!

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Market with fresh orange juice and rambutons in the background

We arrived in Chiang Mai around 8am.  Before we left the bus station we needed to buy our return tickets.  For anyone who does not know, Steve and I signed up to do a 1 week volunteer workcamp in northern Cambodia.  We will be working in a village to help build a school and other things.  The workcamp is from July 17 to July 23, and we will not have access to the internet, so sorry there wont be any new updates during that week!  So we bought a bus ticket to leave Chiang Mai on Sunday in the afternoon and arrive in Buriram, Thailand at 4am, then we will take another bus to Prakon Chai where we will be meeting the people for the workcamp.

At the market with baskets
 

After buying our bus tickets, we took a truck with benches in the back (Chiang Mai's version of a city bus/taxi) into town.  We got dropped off in an area with many geusthouses.  After checking out a few different ones, we settled on one that I thought was kinda dirty and had no air conditioning, but only cost 250 Baht! (around $6 total per night).  I took a shower, and then we went to find some breakfast/lunch.  We ate at a small restaurant and had chicken with cashews and a glass noodle salad. 

After eating, we went to check out a few different travel agencies so we could book a cooking class for today and a trek for tomrow.  After consulting a few different travel agencies for prices, we settled on one that offered us a cooking class for this evening for 600Baht each, and a trek for tomrow which included an elephant ride, a jungle hike to a waterfall, a visit to the hill tribe people, and white water rafting for 1000Baht each.

Cooking in the wok
  I was really concerned about the hill tribe visit because the hill tribe people are often exploited and tourism can ruin their way of life.  The hill tribes are an indigenous semi-nomadic people group who are among the poorest groups in Thailand.  They live in small villages in northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, and their several different tribes with their own beliefs and clothing.  We wanted to know if there was anything that we could donate to the hill tribe people we visited that they needed.  The travel agent lady suggested sandals because they do a lot of walking.  So we went to a local market to buy sandals and bought 4 pairs to give to the hill tribe villages tomorrow. 

Then we went back to the geusthouse, and stopped to use the internet for an hour.

Making salad
  At 4:30 the cooking class came and picked us up at our door to take us to the cooking class.  There were 4 other British girls taking the class with us.  First we went to the cooking class place and met our teachers.  We had 2 teachers, one very friendly Thai woman and a flamboyant and funny pretty girl/boy?? (a pretty man dressed as a girl).  We first got to pick which meals we would make, course A or B.  I picked one and Steve picked the other so we could try some of both.  We would be making a 6 course meal this evening. 

Then we went to the local market with baskets in hand with our teachers as they explained the different ingredients at the market which would go into our dishes. This was very fascinating, as she explained different types of rice, identified different herbs and plants which would go in our dish, and showed us different curries and tofus.

Papaya salad
  The teachers bought all of the nessecary ingredients and we walked back to the cooking class place which had a dining table and kitchen area. 

The first dish we would make is soup.  Group A made hot and sour soup, and group B made Coconut milk chicken soup.  We started by cutting up different vegetables.  Then we put them in a certain order into our pot of boiling water for group A and boiling coconut milk for group B.  We each had our own stove station with pot of soup.  We also added different sauces and sugar to our soup.  When it was all done, we put our soup into a bowl and brought it into the dining table.  Then we got to eat our own soups!  They were very delicious and Steve and I tried some of each others.

Final courses (chicken with cashews, sweet and sour chicken, and green and panang curry)
  He made his extra spicy by putting in more chili peppers, so it was all very spicy. 

The next 2 dishes we made were salads and appetizers.  Group A made Pad Thai while Group B made spring rolls.  Steve was in Group A and cut up vegetables to get ready to put in his pad thai (noodle dish).  I was in group B, making spring rolls.  First we put some ingredients together in a wok and fried them for awhile to make the filling.  Then we put the filling in spring roll wrappers and wrapped them up.  Next we put them into a hot oil to fry.  While we were doing this, group A was putting their ingredients into their woks and quickly frying with noodles to make the Pad thai.  We then made salads, group A made glass noodle salad and group B made Papaya salad.

Instructors
  To make the papaya salad, we mashed all these ingredients together in a bowl with a pestle and put them on our plate.  Next we got to eat our salads and pad thai/spring rolls.  Steve and I shared some of each and it was so delicious!! I especially loved the papaya salad i made!

Next dish was the main entree, Group A made chicken with cashew nuts, and group B made sweet and sour chicken.  Again we cut up vegetables to fried them in a wok with other things to make the dishes and then put it on our plate with rice.  Next we made curry.  Steve made green curry and I made Penang curry.  We again cut up vegetables.  Cooked the curry paste in a wok with coconut milk and added our vegetables and chicken.  Then we brought our chicken with cashew nuts/sweet and sour chicken, and our curry dishes to the table and ate them.  It was again so delicious!!! Steve did a good job with his green curry and it was spicy but very good, and I also really liked the penang curry, but thought the sweet and sour chicken was too sweet. 

Lastly they gave us a desssert of pumpkin in coconut milk, that was very delicious also!  At the end, we each got a lovely recipe book that included pictures and recipes for all the dishes we made today, plus more!  I cant wait to go home and try our the recipes! Tonight was one of the most enjoyable evenings, we ate so much food which we cooked ourselves and learned a lot about Thai cuisine!

-Arum

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Market with fresh orange juice and…
Market with fresh orange juice an…
At the market with baskets
At the market with baskets
Cooking in the wok
Cooking in the wok
Making salad
Making salad
Papaya salad
Papaya salad
Final courses (chicken with cashew…
Final courses (chicken with cashe…
Instructors
Instructors
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes