So here it is, Chiang Mai Cookery School. This was probably one of my favourite experiences from the whole holiday in Thailand! I wonder why…?? Haha!
This was the cooking area where we worked. All tools & ingredients were there ready for us when we came out the demonstration room after seeing how each dish was made. And the best bit? You don’t have to do any pot washing!!
Our first lesson of the day was vegetable carving. I actually found it to be strangely therapeutic! First up was a tomato rose.
The idea is to make a kind of continuous snake from the tomato skin. At the top of the tomato – slice the top but just before cutting it straight off, stop & begin slicing in a helix around the tomato until you reach the bottom and there is no more skin left.
Starting from the smallest end, roll the skin up tightly until you reach the “top” piece. Then fold the “top” piece underneath the rolled skin to make a base and et vous voila! Tomato rose!
(Here is a video explanation to help: Tomato Rose.)
Next on the menu was this really pretty carrot leaf. (My personal favourite.) The carrots were already sliced for us on the course but all you need to do is slice the carrot on an angle to get a larger surface area.
First, shape the top into a leaf shaped point. (As in diagram 1) Then, leaving about 1cm at the top and 1cm at the bottom, cut out the line in the centre.
Next, starting from the bottom, carefully cut out the small leaf shapes on both sides of the centre line. Angle them upwards. I found it easier to have the carrot upside down for this. (As in diagram 2)
Then starting from the bottom again, begin carving out triangles in-between the leaf shaped holes to form the jagged edge. (Started in diagram 2, ending up like diagram 3) Then shape the bottom of the carrot into a point – like the bottom of a leaf and there you have it, a carrot leaf!
The last carving we were taught at Chiang Mai Cookery School was this, the lotus flower. Its quite tricky but once you’ve had a few goes it gets a little easier. Just like anything, practice makes perfect!
So, firstly make 4 incisions at the top of the tomato to create 8 segments. (As in diagram 1) NOTE: only go 1cm deep into the tomato or you will cut the sack and the seeds will burst out.
Second, lengthen each incision to the bottom of the tomato – again, only 1 cm deep into the tomato. (As in diagram 2)
Third, pull out all the segments. Some can be a little stubborn but stick with it! (As in diagram 3)
Fourth, slice the dark red skin from the light red flesh on each segment. (As in diagram 4) This is the tricky bit so take your time.
Lastly, just as you would with ribbon on a present, curl the dark red skin on each segment with the back of your knife. Then pull the light red flesh from the centre and rest it on each curled skin.
It’s so pretty isn’t it?! I really loved learning how to make these. In fact, me and the Mr even held a family gathering when we got back and had a little plate of these to show off our new skills. Everyone commented on how beautiful they looked… I was so chuffed!!
After the vegetable carving we were taught how to make 6 different Thai dishes. What follows are some of my favourites.
This is the Tom Jued. (Clear Soup with Minced Pork.) Absolutely delicious! I didn’t think I was a fan of clear soups until I tried this, now I definitely am!
This was the Mr’s Gaeng Phed Ped Yang. (Red Curry with Roast Duck.) Apparently this is one of the King’s favourite dishes and I must say – he has great taste! The depth of flavour is phenomenal. Its so sweet and creamy!
This was one of the afternoon dishes – Gai Phad King. (Chicken with Ginger.) I couldn’t believe how quick this was to make! It was also one of the recipes that I noticed I could source all of the ingredients back here at home. Here is how to make it for yourself.
For the Sauce
Heat the oil in a wok until it just starts to smoke then add the garlic. As soon as you can smell the garlic, add in the onion & the chicken and stir fry until the outside of the chicken turns white.
Then add the ginger and stir fry to combine. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir fry again. Add the chillis and the chicken stock and stir fry for 1 minute. Lastly, add the spring onions and stir fry to combine.
Serve and wolf it down!
This was one that really surprised me. Khao Neow Mamuang. (Mango with Sticky Rice.) I really did not expect to like this Thai pudding but ended up loving it so much that I bought half the ingredients back with me so I could have a go at recreating it at home!
Pon (our teacher at Chiang Mai Cookery School) got us all up helping out in the demonstration room on this classic Thai dessert. Here is me hard at work, flavouring the sauce with pandanus leaves.
The Mr was in charge of slicing the melon (with a gigantic knife!) and presenting the pudding on the plate. It was such a fantastic day! Both of us thoroughly enjoyed it!
If you are visiting Thailand I would definitely put Chiang Mai Cookery School on your list of places to visit. Such a fun day!
Now I know that you lot will all be hungry for loads of authentic Thai recipes but you will have to bear with me until I get a chance to find suitable UK equivalents for all the ingredients we just can’t get over here! Sad but true I’m afraid.
In the mean time though – do give the Chicken and Ginger recipe a go! It’s a super quick and super tasty authentic Thai dish. And I know that we can get all the ingredients from our local supermarkets too. Brucy bonus!
I hope you enjoyed my post on Chiang Mai Cookery School, until next time.
Until next time.