One of the things I really wanted to do while in south east Asia is to attend a cooking class. The city of Chiang Mai in Thailand has numerous cooking classes to choose from. One blog I read prior to my trip heavily recommended Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School and after reading reviews I decided it was a good choice for me as well. At Asia Scenic you can choose from a half day or full day program and also have a class in the city or out on their farm.
I chose to do a full day class out on their farm.
Fortunately, like the elephant park tour, a van picks me up at my hotel.
We stop first at kitchen in town for them to collect payment and to wait for those who will be joining us for the farm class.
After our entire group arrives and payments are settled we take a van to go shopping at the market. We are given a tour and introduced different market foods.
After the market we arrive at the farm. We are given an apron and a fun hat to wear. We choose which we want to cook and then are given a tour of the farm while the kitchen makes sure we have the supplies we need.
After the tour it is to the kitchen where we are given a snack. We are given instructions on how to eat the snack wrapped in a leaf. Called Meang Kana it can be vegetarian or made with pork crackling. It is an interesting set of ingredients (lime, chili, onion, cashew nut, roasted shredded coconut, ginger, sauce) but they go well together.
Next it is on to prep our first dish – Mine is Cashew Chicken.
Our instructor gives us easy to follow instructions and is able to help all of us even though we have not all chosen the same dish to start with.
We learn the importance of certain ingredients, especially fish sauce and soy sauce. If your dish isn’t balanced quite the way you want then these tools come in handy to modify your flavor as needed.
For our next dish we make spring rolls. This is a group effort. The filling is made by one or two in the group but we each learn how to roll our own spring roll. After rolled it is deep fried.
Next up I choose the glass noddle salad to make. It isn’t too complicated and tastes great.
We eat as we finish cooking each dish so you can imagine we are getting tired and full right now. We take a “lunch” break to rest and lounge around the farm.
The grounds are very relaxing with pillows, lounge chairs and some sturdy hammocks.
In no time at all it is time to go back to work.
We start with the curries. I love Massaman curry so that is which one I choose. I am the only one in our group who chooses to make this curry. I am pleased to discovered that making Massaman curry is slightly more complex than the others. Also the spices are a little more varied and exotic. I need to roast the spices before I start making the curry paste with mortal and pestle.
Of course I am taking too long so I get some professional assistance.
We use the paste to make our curry dishes. The amount you add to the coconut milk makes the flavor vary.
I am reminded of what a slow cooker I am when my curry takes forever to cook down. I never quite have the temperature at that sweet spot.
We also make a soup. I make a prawn lemongrass soup.
Finally, we as a group make the sticky mango rice. It is made with pandan leaves (for flavor) and butterfly pea flowers (flavor and color). It is fun to watch it turn into the amazing dessert. I enjoy the dessert with a glass of butterfly pea tea.
At the end we get a cookbook with all the recipes and some great descriptions of common thai ingredients.
It is an amazing day of delicious food that was worth every penny of the cost.