Like a child in a candy store, I was giddy – so many choices. I could choose 6 from 60 different options. Would I chose old favorites or try something new and maybe discover a new favorite? Decisions, decisions.
I was one of four students in the Classic Home Cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were given a list of the 60 tantalizing items from which we could each choose: a curry, a stirfry, a noodle, a soup, a salad, and a dessert or appetizer. Decisions made, Vannee prepared a quick shopping list, and we followed him into the market.
Markets are so interesting and colorful. I always have questions as there are so many unusual foods. This market opens at 3:30am each morning for restauranteurs!
After marketing we drove into the country and arrived at our cooking classroom.
I learned that the way I had made curry in the past was all wrong! First, the curry paste is sauteed in oil until it releases its rich fragrance and then the coconut cream is added and brought to a boil. Finally the meat is placed in the pan with some fish sauce, sugar, chopped peanuts and kaffir leaf to simmer in the sauce. Garnish with julienned chili pepper and kaffir lime leaf and some coconut cream.
In summary: Guay Tiew Pad Khee Mao or Drunken Noodles is one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes so I chose it first. I love all the curries, but could only chose one, so I opted for the Panang Curry. The lime, lemongrass and mint flavors of the Yam Nua (Thai Beef Salad) are fantastic, the Pad Prig Khing Thaou (Stir-fry Pork with Chili Paste) was deliciously spicy, and the Tom Jued Wun Sen (Chicken Glass Noodle Soup) was flavorful, but not spicy – a perfect choice for those chicken soup kind of days and something I’d love to find at a restaurant here. The only loser was the bland Bua Loi (Pumpkin Balls in Coconut Milk) even swimming in sweetened coconut milk!
It was a day well spent and I highly recommend Classic Home Cooking School.
I know you’d like to take a Thai cooking class!
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $25 (900 Thai baht for booking directly, a 100 baht savings)
Hours: 9:45am – 3:30pm
The price included pick up and delivery, market tour, preparing a curry paste and 6 entrees to eat or take away, a cookbook of all 60 recipes, and a day of fun and new friends.
Tripadvisor lists 70+ cooking schools in Chiang Mai. I read the reviews and perused the websites of more than 50 of them before choosing to contact Classic Home Cooking by email. They responded promptly and were efficient and easy to communicate with. I liked that the day class didn’t start before 9:00am, included the market tour, and that they allow the student to choose from over 60 entrees (including Drunken Noodles).
What is this Mystery Item I purchased at the market? Mineral? Animal? Plant?h
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a leguminous tree that produces edible, pod-like fruit which is used extensively in cuisines around the world.
The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in) in length, with a hard, brown shell.
The fruit has a fleshy, acidulous pulp.
The tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste, and is high in tartaric acid, sugar, B vitamins and, oddly for a fruit, calcium. ~Wikipedia
Foodie Fact: The sweetness of Pad Thai comes from the tamarind.
Meet You in the Morning next week – same city, same country. Thanks for reading!