We both love Thai food, so when the opportunity came up for me to take a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai I was all for it. Unfortunately, this meant I had to miss the Elephant Nature Park experience, but I’ll just make Eric take me the next time we’re in Thailand. :)
Yui and her husband pick you up in a powder blue VW bus – which is pretty awesome. Her classes max out at eight people but for my session there were only three of us – me and two girls from Brisbane, Australia. Because there were only three of us, Yui gave us the choice of making our own curry pastes or taking a trip to the local market. We happily choose the informative market tour rather than grinding ingredients in a mortar and pestle for an hour!
The local market was full of friendly vendors and lots of sights and smells. It also helped familiarize me with some of the strange fruits and veg I was seeing on the menus – baby eggplant included. Interestingly, most folks in Thailand do not make their own curry pastes (red, green, paneang, massaman) as it’s time consuming and they are readily available at the markets.
Tom Ka Gai bundles — ready made for making the famous thai coconut soup
After an entertaining hour at the market we headed back to Yui’s place where she has a lovely shaded side yard used for the cooking classes.
For each of the six dishes she demonstrated preparing the ingredients and making the dish so we could see in what order and how much of the ingredients to add. She also went over how to modify amounts to suit out own personal tastes and substitutions that would be readily found in the US and Australia. Then, it was our turn…
chopping up lemongrass for the fried brown rice dish
the beginnings of paneang curry
Each student received a beautiful full-color cookbook with all the recipes we made plus a bunch more. Also included are homemade curry recipes and a glossary of common herbs and vegetables found in Thai cooking.
I really enjoyed my class and would definitely go back on a future trip to Chiang Mai!