Matt was working in Thailand in January, and after his work session, I flew out there to meet him for a 2 week long vacation. I'll get more into how awesome our vacation was another time. For now, I want to share my experience taking a pretty awesome Thai cooking class.
There were a bunch of cooking classes in Chiang Mai to choose from. Most of them offered the same dishes at about the same rates, but we heard about this secret cooking class and decided to give it a try. We didn't know the secret at the time though.
So, the instructor picked us up at our hotel (which is something a lot of touristy businesses do in Thailand) and we were the first in our car. The group was small, about four of us, but that made it even more of a personal experience. The other two ladies were traveling Thailand alone, both of them from Germany. They met and had an instant connection. It's funny what a small world it is.
Anyway, we first went to the local market, and our instructor showed us some Thai ingredients like kaffir lime, ginger, Thai eggplant, and even blood soup (looked like grey tofu to me- but this was not something I was going to touch with a 10 foot pole).
We then, drove about 20 minutes outside of Chiang Mai to our instructor's beautiful home/cooking school. The bottom level was all open, but covered, so it wasn't blistering hot. On her property were rice fields and a garden where we picked some of our ingredients.
Next, we started cooking! I started off with my coconut soup and pad thai dish. Did you know that the rice noodles in Thailand don't have to be cooked in water? The reason why they have to be soaked in water in the U.S. is because they dry the noodles to preserve them before shipping them. When you're making the noodles, soak them in warm water for about 5-10 minutes, just be careful they don't get to mushy. I have a bad habit of being impatient and I end up boiling those noodles until they're noodles no longer.
Pad Thai ingredients:
Our instructor showing us how to make pad thai
Other dishes I specifically made were: egg rolls, green curry, and mango sticky rice. Matt made his favorite papaya salad, panang curry, veggie soup, and fried bananas. By the end of the day, we were stuffed. We didn't even eat dinner that night.
Enjoying all the food we made:
You might be wondering why they call it the secret cooking class. But I can't tell you because it's a secret. All I can say is that the instructor made our class so very personable, that made it a good decision we didn't go to any other cooking class in Thailand.
It really was a great time. I highly recommend that if you go overseas, spend a few hours or a day and take a local cooking class. It will really help you to understand the ingredients you're working with, how to use them, in what dish to use them in, and you get to meet people from all over the world.
Matt and I in the zone cooking
I like to make faces when we take pictures
Wrapping some egg rolls
Making fresh curry paste
Oh and how can I forget the pictures of the food???
Mango Sticky Rice- Best thing ever!
Matt;s Panang Curry- Panang curry is just red curry with peanuts
Matt's incredibly spicy papaya salad