Master a Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai

On April 13, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

There’s one thing you can’t beat in Thailand – street food. Not only does it taste fantastic, it will only set you back a few dollars, which is great for a budget traveler. Even better is learning to cook the food yourself with a Thai cooking class.

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Our class hard at work.

As we wandered the night markets all throughout northern Thailand, we realized many of the vendors tend to specialize in one type of food, such as pad thai or noodle soup. Maybe that’s the secret. They’ve perfected their dish and they’re sticking to it. Hey, it works. And for those of us who walk the rows of food vendors to find our favorite meal, you know it’s definitely going to be worth the money.

OREN FAILS AT COOKING THAI FOOD BACK HOME

Oren and I don’t have a lot of experience cooking Thai food and the few times we tried back in the States, we ended up with a skillet full of burnt and undercooked noodles. (Oren objects to this comment, even as he admits its truth). So, we decided that we couldn’t leave Thailand without taking a Thai cooking class! There are schools throughout Thailand’s major cities that offer full-day and half-day cooking classes. Since we were spending most of our time in the north, Chiang Mai seemed like the perfect place to test out our cooking skills.

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Gettin’ ready for cooking time!

OUR BAAN THAI COOKING CLASS

Baan Thai Cookery School has been running Thai cooking classes in Chiang Mai since 1999. It offers full-day classes, but we opted for the evening class from 4:30-8:30. It was really easy to enroll; we just sent them an email. The company also provided transportation to and from our guest house. The class was split into two groups of about 8 people.

Our first stop? The market. We seem to go to a lot of markets while we travel, but each one is very different. The market also helps you better understand the culture and diet of the country you’re visiting. We were very intrigued with Thai fruits, like jackfruit, durian, and Thai apples. Some we had never seen before! After our chef showed us the ingredients we would be using in our dishes, we walked back to the school.

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This is durian. As a general rule, most foreigners hate it.

TIME TO COOK SOME THAI FOOD!

Our evening class consisted of four different dishes, plus a curry. Within each course, we were allowed to choose from three or four dishes. This was great! Oren and I tend to like different foods. Also, we figured we’d divide and conquer so that between the two of us, we could make all of the dishes. My first dish was pad thai. Recipes courtesy of Baan Thai Cookery School.

Pad Thai Recipe

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My awesome pad thai!

Ingredients:
250 grams rice noodles
50 grams chicken (optional)
3 tbsp oil
20 grams spring onion
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tbsp oyster sauce (or mushroom sauce)
1 egg
30 grams bean sprouts or cabbage
1 tbsp chopped garlic
50 grams tofu (cut into small cubes)
1/2 cup water

Directions:
1. Heat the oil over low heat, add garlic and fry
2. Add chicken (optional) and tofu. Stir until the chicken is cooked
3. Break the egg in spread the egg throughout the chicken. Lightly scramble.
4. Add noodles and water, still under tender.
5. Season with fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar
6. Add bean sprouts and spring onions.
7. Turn off heat
8. Serve with fresh vegetables (like cabbage or beans sprouts) and you can add lime juice, grounded peanuts and grounded chillies as additional seasoning.

Following this meal, we created and dined on an appetizer and a soup. I made spring rolls from scratch! (After years of eating them, it’s about time I learned how to make them!) After finishing that, we were so full! But, we still had our main course to make and eat! I went with Kao Soy:

Kao Soy (Chiang Mai Noodle Bowl)

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My just as awesome noodle soup!

Ingredients:
50 grams deep-fried egg noodle
100 g boiled egg noodle
2 tbsp pickled cabbage
50 grams chicken
2 tbsp oil
2 cups coconut milk
3 chopped shallots
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Indian curry powder
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves and spring onion
1 lime, cut in quarters

Directions:
1. Put the boiled egg noodle in a bowl
2. Mix the red curry paste with indian curry powder
3. Place the wok over low heat, add oil, red curry paste and stir continuously
4. Add chicken, add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and stir until the chicken is cooked
5. Add the remaining coconut milk, turn to medium heat and continue stirring
6. Add fish sauce and sugar
7. Pour into the bowl and top with deep-fried egg noodles
8. Serve with picked cabbage, lime and shallots

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Oren’s penang curry.

It was hard to believe that we made these Thai dishes! Truthfully, if they didn’t taste good, we had no one to blame, but ourselves. This was not the case. Oren may have added a little too much spice to his dishes, but luckily, he was the one shedding the tears, not me. At the end of the meal, we had enjoyed great food and wonderful company. Even if you’re a novice chef, it’s worth taking a Thai cooking class!

-C.K.

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