Hot, spicy, fresh & with a gentle hint of sweetness is the best way to describe the wonderful dishes we prepared at the “Classic Home Cooking” school in Chaing Mai. With the multitude of cooking classes to choose from it was difficult to narrow one down, however based on our hotel hostess’ recommendation this one was everything we wanted, plus! Bob, always the supportive spouse agreed, (“yes dear”), to accompany me for the day-long class where we both put hands-on culinary skills to work. Under the ever vigilant eye of our teacher we accomplished a total of 12 different & absolutely delicious dishes. The class was held at Mr. & Mrs. Vannee’s home where they host the group cooking classes. These folks come with great credentials, having had their own restaurant in Bangkok for several years. Quite the setup, each student has their own work station; we lucked out with only 3 of us for the morning class & just the 2 of us in the afternoon.
Picked up at our hotel in the morning, the day started off with a trip to one of the many local markets to purchase the ingredients for the dishes we had chosen to prepare (yes, we had homework prior to the class). Quite interesting to learn about new & different fruits & vegetables, how coconut milk/cream & palm sugar is processed from the raw material & the making various types of rice/egg noodles, etc. Familiar with most ingredients, our teachers provided us with substitutes for those ingredients we will no doubt have trouble finding back home. The one big take-away is the timing of adding ingredients for maximum fusion of flavour, plus the relatively short cooking time. One of our favourites is thai green curry & spicy papaya salad – a mix of shredded green papaya, limes, garlic, green beans, thai chilies, peppers, tomatoes, palm sugar, roasted peanuts & fish sauce – so fresh & yummy! I also now have the ‘secret’ ingredients for pad thai, one dish I hadn’t quite mastered previously, despite being relatively easy.
We had great fun, learned so much & with bellies full had several take away dishes for dinner & sharing with the staff back at the hotel. Can’t wait to get home to replicate the dishes & try out some of the new ones from the cookbook we were given. On another note, Bob has expanded his cooking repertoire & I look forward to some tasty dishes after work & a good workout at the gym. One more thing, we both graduated with distinction & received a certificate of achievement to boot!