Cooking Thai Style @ Organic Thai Farm
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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We made the short walk to the office for an 8:00am start. A pickup truck was waiting for us, so we hopped in. Our driver mentioned that a large group would participate today, 23 to be exact. Although there would only be 6 of us in the one car. Our small group consisted of: 2 Brits (us), 1 Israeli girl, 1 Brazilian guy and 2 Belgium girls.
Our first stop would be at a large indoor market to learn about the different ingredients that make-up Thai cusine. Inside, stalls stretched as far as the eye could see, no strange smells penetrated the air, bizarre contraptions swirled above raw meat to deter flies. Wow it seemed hygiene was actually important for once. We also discovered that Thai's have a fond relationship with the plastic bag, as everything from cooking oil to live fish was sold in one. In a way it reminded me off the balloon stands found in fun parks, popping one would reveal a suprise!
Back in the pickup, we drove outside of Chiang Mai to the organic farm. The sun was shining and the temperature was set to a steady 30 degrees. Before any cooking would commence a tour of the garden was needed. To protect us from the sun we were given a large straw hat, all I needed was piece of straw and a banjo :). Our head chef took us around and he was very informative. We got to see Lemon grass, Kafir Lime, Papaya, Tamarind, Bitter Eggplant, pretty much everything that can't be grown in the UK.
The entire group was split into two classrooms and the lesson started straight away. We would all be cooking five dishes each and this is what we chose:
Dish 1: Emma (Green Curry) Paul (Red Curry)
Dish 2: Both (Tom Yum Soup)
Dish 3: Both (Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
Dish 4: Both (Pad Thai)
Dish 5: Emma (Mango Sticky Rice) Paul (Banana in Coconut Milk)
Our chef gave a live demonstration of each dish and then it would be our turn to cook it. Thai food is quite straight forward and fast to cook. We did suprise ourselves when we ate our first two dishes as they could have easily come from a restaurant. Although it was remarkable how different our two curries and soups tasted. A slightly larger pinch of sugar or teaspoon of fish sauce and the balance of a dish completely changes.
The first two courses went down with ease, complimented by a fragrant lemongrass tea, but we were now completely stuffed and had 3 more courses to come. I think most of us worried, but the chef brought out the fabled Thai plastic bag and our worries washed away, as we would simply take them home with us. A definite plus point for this cooking school.
Our final 3 courses were cooked and we did manage to squeeze a little extra food into our bellies, desert is definitely a hard course to resist. At the end of the day we were all given a cooking book of todays receipes, so not only did we benefit from today, but hopefully some of you back home will do too.
At 3:30pm we jumped back into the pickup and travelled into Chiang Mai Old City. We lounged for a few hours before heading out to the Saturday walking street. A huge market selling handicrafts and other knick knacks from 4pm until 12pm. It was a great way to burn off a little of that coconut we have eaten. All in all I would recommend this cooking course to anyone visiting Chiang Mai.
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