Thailand: Chiang Mai, Part III
Why do I travel? Too many reasons to list, but generally my answer is, "to learn...and to eat!" I planned very little on this trip, as I do for most trips, but spending my day at Thai Farm Cooking School was a decision I had made months in advanced.
Thai Farm Cooking School offers an escape from the bustling city, located about 11 miles outside of the Chiang Mai city parameters.
After our 9AM pick-up, we headed to the local market. The market was bright and aromatic, there we learned more about the ingredients we would be using and had an opportunity to chat with the vendors.
After learning how to make coconut milk from scratch, we headed over to the farm. A short 20-minute drive landed us at a tranquil farm, nestled between the mountains. A group of 10 of us sat at a communal table, refreshing drink in hand, and learned what the day ahead would look like. Our instructor, Yummy--yes, really, explained what ingredients we would be using, how to pick them and where they are sourced.
Our preparation and cooking took place at a beautiful terrace, adjacent to a fishpond. First we began by making our curry paste. With a mortar and pestle in hand, we pounded until the paste formed. One of six dishes, completed.
Our class itinerary included;
-1 Curry paste; Green
-1 Curry; Green curry with chicken
-1 Soup; Tom Yam with shrimp
-1 Stir-fry; Chicken with basil
-1 Noodle dish; Pad Thai Fried noodles
-1 Sweet dessert; Bananas in coconut milk
For me, the best part of Thai Farm Cooking School, aside from the eating, was the comradere. As a solo traveler, I really enjoyed sitting with my fellow classmates, each excited about preparing their authentic Thai dish. After a 5-course meal, it was time to go home. Bellies full and leftovers in hand, we headed back to our respective hostels.
And now for the moment you've all been waiting for (drum roll). Recipe time! The first Thai dish I ever tried was Pad Thai, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that it was one of the dishes we would be preparing. This dish calls for tofu, but feel free to substitute with the protein of your choice!. Enjoy!
-80 Grams of rice noodles
-1 Cup Bean sprouts
-2 Tbsp. Tofu, cut into small pieces
-1 Tbsp. Chopped pickled white radish
-1 Tbsp. Crushed roasted peanuts
-1/3 Cup Juice of ripe tamarind
-1 1/2 Tsp. Sugar
-1 Tsp. Fish sauce
-1Tsp. Chopped Chinese leek
-1 Tbsp. Dried shrimp
-Pinch of chili powder
-3 Tbsp. Oil
-Pinch of Salt
-3 Cloves of crushed garlic
Heat up oil in wok on medium heat. Place tofu and fry unti crunchy. Then turn down heat to low. Add garlic, pickled radish, dried shrimp, chili powder and sti until fragrant. Add tamarind juice and noodles and turn heat up to medium. Stir fry until noodles are soft. Turn heat to low. Add egg and scramble. Add fish sauce, sugar, salt, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and Chinese leek and turn heat up to high. Stir fry thoroughly until well mixed. Serve with additional crushed peanuts, sugar and chili powder.
What are your favorite Thai dishes?