I’d heard so much about them, cooking classes, that I just had to try it myself. Some of the Thai food is amazing, so it would be nice to cook it at home some time, provided I can find all these exotic ingredients. I was actually so excited that it was the first thing I did in Chiang Mai. I hadn’t even seen the city yet, and I was off to the countryside in a van with some other wannabee chefs.
I got picked up from the hostel, although I almost got in the van that went ziplining, and then we picked up some more people and went to the market. There was another backpacker, the only guy in our group today, and some older ladies from China, the US and England. Our guide Richie told us all about the different Thai ingredients at the market and gave us some time to look around as he did the shopping for today’s course.
With a few bags full of fresh ingredients we went on our way. Our cooking school was on a small organic farm that grew rice and a few vegetables. The surroundings were amazing and there was a professional setup. We each had our own cooking station with all the pans and tools we needed. We had an apron and towel and everyone got a recipe book to take home. Nice, because I am really not going to remember how to prepare everything.
Another guide, Sam, did the class with us. He would show us how to prepare something and then it was our turn. I had often already forgotten what to do by the time I got to my cooking station. Thai cooking seemed to involve a lot of smashing. Bam! Smash the pepper. Bam! Smash the garlic. I must say that Sam made a good show of it. We started with preparing breakfast, which for me was just a simple rice soup. The rice had already been precooked and my dish didn’t involve much chopping. I basically just put everything in my pan and let it boil.
We were also shown how to make a curry paste. It was a team effort. We each got to choose a curry and make it, but for that the paste had already been prepared. As the curry simmered on the stove, we were told how to make some other dishes. Once the curry was done we could make our own pad thai and a vegetable dish. The trick with pad thai was to make a fancy omelette and wrap the pad thai inside of it.
Frying vegetables sounds easy enough, but in Thailand it is a challenge. You basically had to create a gigantic flame to roast everything in a few seconds. “Stand back.” Sam said as he was showing us. I think the flames went up about a meter. When it was our turn we counted down together. I was so afraid. I think I did something wrong, probably because I really didn’t want a big flame, and I ended up with a baby flame that lasted for about a second.
After cooking and looking for a few hours it was our turn to eat. Of course we’d tried some food already, like soups, papaya salad and mango sticky rice, but now we got to eat our curry, vegetables and pad thai. It was delicious! I can’t open a Thai restaurant yet, but I can definitely give it a go at home now. While I’m here, I’m sticking to the markets!