While visiting Chiang Mai, we decided to book a cooking class to learn how to recreate some famous Thai dishes. Based on some good recommendations, we went to Cooking@home, which is run by two lovely sisters and overlooks a rice field in a quiet village (just a 15 min car ride from Chiang Mai away).
We started the day with a market visit (more about this tomorrow) and then went to the outdoor kitchen. There were 10 work stations set up, five at either side of the room and one work station for Pom, the cook, at the front of the room.
The recipes for the day were a fish soup, chicken satay, a red duck curry, chicken stir fry with cashew nuts and Thai whiskey and a steamed banana pudding.
We started off with marinating the chicken for the satay, and watching Pom together with two helpers, creating the peanut sauce and cucumber chili relish (given that we only needed small portions there was no point in 10 people preparing the same sauce).
Once the chicken was marinating, we made a sweet and sour fish soup with fresh ginger. It’s called ‘Dtom som plaa’ and fairly easy to make – if you have fresh ingredients like lemon grass and chili. But given we’ve been to the market, we’ve had everything we needed.
Then we grilled our ‘gai satay’ over charcoal…
…once that was done we sat down to enjoy the appetizers.
Next, the hard work began. We had to prepare our red curry from scratch… these were some of the fresh ingredients:
We had to cut the ingredients into tiny pieces and then grind them into a paste. It was really hard work, 10mins grinding with each hand and I still had a tiny piece of lime that would not melt into my curry paste.
Completing the ‘Gaeng phed ped yaang’ was easy – we already had roasted duck and just added it together with some coconut milk to the paste, stirred it, added some pineapple and then the dish was ready to go. The other main dish was stir fried chicken with cashew nuts ‘Gai phad med mamuang himapran’ and it was cooked with dried chilies, onion, garlic and roasted chestnut. The secret ingredient is Thai whiskey to round off the taste.
Our final dish was a steamed banana and coconut pudding – but it was so good that I could not eat slowly enough to take a picture of it… All in all it was a fun day (4,5 hours of preparing, cooking and eating) with Pom and her sister, who were perfect hosts and very good teachers. I’ve actually recreated the chicken stir fry at home and it was very nice too – even without Thai whiskey!