Asian food has always been my favorite and I have wanted to learn how to prepare it for a long time now. Being in Chiang Mai and searching for the things to do, I thought it is a perfect opportunity to take a Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai. There are many schools to choose from, but I picked the Thai Farm Cooking School. It focuses on growing most of the plants and spices we use for cooking on their own farm organically. If you decide to take a cooking class, make sure you go with an empty stomach as you’ll do a lot of cooking and eating!
Key Information about Thai Farm Cooking Class
- They provide transportation to and from your hostel/hotel
- Pick up is around 8:30am and drop off 5:00pm
- The price is 1500 bhat (around 39€)
- Everyone has their own individual cooking station
- Everyone gets an apron and a hat
- You will be cooking 5 dishes (1 curry paste, 1 dessert & 3 dishes)
- You will be provided a recipe booklet
- Lemongrass tea & drinking water are provided throughout the whole day
- Papaya salad is also provided
Start the day with a visit to a local market
They picked me up around 8:30 am from my hostel Thunder Bird, and after picking up a few more people we made our way to a local market. We arrived at the Ruamchok market to pick up some of the ingredients that we would be needing for the cooking later in the day. That market was amazing! After Wass (our awesome cooking instructor!) explained us the differences between all the sorts or rice, spices, and herbs we were allowed to just wander around the market for about 20 minutes. If you truly want to experience a local market this one would be great as I didn’t encounter a single tourist while wandering around.
Exploring the farm
After we finished with the market, we drove a little bit more until we arrived at the farm. Immediately, I noticed how beautiful and peaceful the whole farm was. Wass showed us most of the farm and explained what each plant is and for what do we use them. She also told us what we can use back home if we can’t find some of the spices they use. We also picked some of the spices we were going to need for the cooking.
Making the Green Curry Paste
The first thing that we were making was a curry paste. We were able to choose from the green, red or yellow paste and I decided to make a green one. What I really liked about making this paste is that we made it from scratch. When we collected all the ingredients, we put them into the mortar and crushed them until it felt like a paste. The whole process took about 10 minutes.
INGREDIENTS USED: green chili peppers, galangal, garlic, ginseng, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chopped shallots, lemongrass, chopped kaffir lime rind, salt
Making the Tom Yam with Shrimps
The next dish that we made was Tom Yam soup. We could choose to make a Tom Yam soup with shrimps, chicken or vegetarian or chicken in coconut milk so there was something for everyone. I’ve tried ordering the Tom Yam soup a few times, but it was always too spicy for me to actually eat it. Here, in every dish that we made, we could choose how spicy we wanted it to be. I do like spicy food, but Thai spicy is just too spicy for me.
INGREDIENTS USED: shrimps, chili peppers, mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal, tomatoes, lime leaves, lime juice, fish or soy sauce, sugar, tamarind chili paste, water, spring onion, coriander, salt, Thai parsley, shallots
Making the Pad Thai with Chicken
My absolute favorite Thai dish is the Pad Thai so you can’t even imagine how happy I was to learn how to do it from scratch. I always imagined it is much more complicated, so that may be the reason why I’ve never tried to make it before. It all took maybe about 5 minutes and the Pad Thai was already done. The only thing you have to do before is put the noodles about 30 minutes into the water before cooking so they soften.
INGREDIENTS USED: chicken, rice noodles, carrots, bean sprouts, tofu, eggs, peanuts, tamarind paste, sugar, fish or soy sauce, spring onion, chili powder, oil, salt, water, molasses, lemon, shallots
Making Stir-fry with Chicken and Basil
This is another dish that I absolutely love to eat while in Thailand so getting to learn how to make it was absolutely amazing. The dish wasn’t complicated to make at all. We just keep frying and adding new ingredients and then some more frying. It was done in about 10 minutes.
INGREDIENTS USED: chicken, rice, oil, garlic, long beans, chili pepper, holy basil leaves, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, onions, water
Making Green Curry with Chicken
Remember that green curry paste I mentioned at the beginning? Well, we finally got to use it. The Green Curry was considered the main dish so that’s why we waited a bit to make it. This is another meal that is usually too spicy for me when I order it somewhere. I was really happy again that I actually got to eat it without it being too spicy. When ordering spicy food in Thailand, even if you say you don’t want spicy or too spicy, they will still make it really spicy. Knowing how much chili to put into my dish is one of the things I really appreciate from this cooking class. Now I will be able to always prepare a meal and not have to worry about it being too spicy!
INGREDIENTS USED: green curry paste, chicken, coconut milk, oil, eggplants, sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves, seasoning
Making Bananas in Coconut Milk
I was really unsure about this one. I didn’t think I will like it, but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. As you can probably imagine, I ended up loving it! This is my favorite thing about exploring food in another culture. Often things do not sound good, but once you try them, you end up loving them.
INGREDIENTS USED: bananas, coconut milk, water, sugar, salt, sesame seeds
Would I recommend it?
The Thai Farm Cooking School has definitely been an amazing experience for me! The day spent deep into the Chiang Mai woods on a farm was full of relaxing and laughing. We had the most amazing cooking instructor Wass who had us cracking jokes the whole day. Definitely be prepared for a lot of cooking, but also a lot of eating. Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all. You can always bring what you can’t eat back to your hotel. They will provide you with a “Thai tuperware” aka. the plastic bags.
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