Cooking in Chiang Mai

28 Jan

Our third destination on winter break was the lovely city of Chiang Mai. I have been there several times at this point, and always have a good time. It’s a nice size city, smaller than Bangkok, with good food, fun bars, and pretty scenery. The main activity we had planned in Chiang Mai was taking a cooking class at Thai Farm Cooking School, an activity I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the area (after you’ve visited us in Bangkok of course). I have always loved Thai food, and living here for two and a half years has not diminished my enthusiasm for the cuisine in the slightest. Our very first month here, I made some attempts at cooking it myself; I believe it even occupied a blog post early on. However, we soon realized that it was both cheaper and easier to buy dishes that someone else prepared, and tasty takeout has been the theme of our dinners ever since. That sounds lazy by US standards, but over here most people buy fully prepared food from the markets on a daily basis. All that being said, both Orestes and I enjoy cooking when we have the time, so a cooking class seemed like a great idea.

IMG_0294 IMG_0295Ready to cook in our snazzy aprons!!

Thai Farm Cooking School is a cute little farm that grows organic herbs and veggies a few kilometers outside of the city. They scooped us up in their songtau, visited a local market to buy some supplies, then headed out to the farm. Our master chef, MB, was a hilarious Thai lady with solid cooking skills and an off-color sense of humor. She laughed hysterically at all of her own jokes, and gave the ladies in the group lots of unsolicited romantic advice. One such gem: she told us scallions were “good for your man!!”. Why? If he eats enough, he will have bad breath, making him unable to flirt successfully, thereby guaranteeing faithfulness. 😉

We chose a selection of dishes for five different courses, and did lots of hands on chopping, mixing, and stir-frying. We got to pound our own curry paste with a mortar and pestle (an aromatic and strenuous affair), and of course sample all of our handiwork. Orestes made tom yum goong (sweet and sour soup with shrimp), fried spring rolls, green curry chicken, pad kaprao gai (fried chicken with holy basil), and bananas in coconut milk. I tried my hand at tom ka gai (coconut lemongrass soup with chicken), cashew chicken, pad thai tofu, yellow curry chicken, and mango sticky rice. One downside: I was feeling under the weather so some of the cooking smells were a little intense. MB was super sweet, and packed up all my dishes to go. I did however manage to nibble the mango sticky rice – I love sticky rice! Check out our cooking in action. 🙂

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One Response to “Cooking in Chiang Mai”

  1. elaine mccormick February 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    On my next visit to Thailand we have to include the cooking school on my list of things to do; I know I would love it! Yum! Love, Mom

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