I like Thai food well enough to bother making it, but I've never tried. Since it's cooler here in Chiang Mai, I decided to sign up for cooking school. Today, I spent the majority of the day at Siam Rice Cooking School. They picked me up at my hotel in one of those red trucks.
This is my view from inside the truck.
We stopped first at a food market where our guide tested us on our knowledge of Thai ingredients. As a group, we did pretty well.
There were a few vegetables that looked familiar.
These are the biggest carrots I've ever seen. I think they're from New Zealand.
Pork rinds, anyone?
The full day program involves cooking 5 different dishes and making one of several different curry pastes. Five of the 9 in our group signed up for the full day program, so we tried to coordinate our choices so we could try a number of different dishes.
Our class was conducted in a tent outside. Nancy was our teacher. She was really good, especially considering that she had to give instructions for several different dishes simultaneously.
We prepped the ingredients for our soup first. I made Sweet and Sour Soup--galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, spring onion, tomato, oyster mushrooms, fresh chilis, and limes were the main ingredients
At the stove, we added sliced chicken, sugar, chicken stock, fish sauce and water. This is my finished product.
The prep for my noodle dish, which was glass noodles with vegetables and chicken--the veggies were carrot, onion tomato, kale, and baby corn. Seasonings were oyster sauce, Thai chili paste, sugar, soya sauce, and garlic.
The finished product, which was really good.
We did our cooking at this big square cooking area where there were 10 gas burners.
After we ate these first two dishes, we prepared our curry pastes. I chose to make massaman curry, because I've never had it before. It has 17 different ingredients, which I won't list here.
It took several minutes of serious pounding to get all those ingredients to come together in a paste. That is a very serious stone mortar and pestle....very heavy.
My curry ingredients included carrots, potatoes, onions, pineapple, and sliced chicken.
At the stove, I added coconut cream, water, fish sauce, brown sugar, palm sugar and water, then garnished with coconut cream and thin slices of fresh red hot pepper. This was a very sweet curry.
I forgot to take pictures of my dessert, which was sticky rice with mango. It's my favorite Thai dessert. Already cooked sticky rice is cooked in coconut milk with sugar and salt until it's thick. Then you just slice a mango and eat the two together. It's delicious, but you can find it in restaurants...it's a street food.
This is my group enjoying our curries and desserts. There were two women from Malaysia, a mother and daughter from Israel, one American couple from Virginia who are traveling for a year and a couple from northern China--the guy is American and she's Chinese.
By this time, I'm beyond full, but we had an appetizer to make.
I chose spring rolls, because I love them and have always wanted to learn to make them. The school did the prep work for us on the appetizers, but I learned how to make the rolls and fried them. I couldn't manage even one bite.
What surprised me most was that every dish we made had sugar in it...even the very spicy ones.
It was a great experience, and I'm planning to do it twice more while I'm here. This full-day program cost 900 baht--that's about $30. You get transportation from and to your hotel, the cooking instruction, a 5 course meal, a recipe book....and you get to meet more really interesting people. It's a great way to spend a day.