Cooking a four-course Thai meal with ingredients picked from the local market and from the grounds of an organic farm, I brought my appetite and anticipation from the night before. The full day class, offered by the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School, gave me yet another escape from the familiar streets of Chiang Mai. After just barely making this morning’s count, bringing both of the daily classes offered to full capacity. I was off to the farm with 3 Alaskans, 2 Australians, 2 Germans, 3 Israelis, a Brit and French woman.
But first, the local market to learn a bit about Thai cooking’s food staples: rice and coconut milk. Being granted 20 minutes of free time to wander the busy market’s aisles, I had to hunt down some kow dom mat, a quick handheld breakfast wrapped in a banana leaf to tie me over til feeding time. My love for these 4″ wonders is now bordering on obsession. Mission accomplished. The rest of my 20 minutes was spent leering at the whole decapitated pig’s that was for sale. Also worth a mention, my Food Fight tote bag got some more attention from dislocated Americans. It caught the eye of two zany gentlemen from Portland also signed up for the cooking course. This bag is a reliable source of social outreach!
At the farm, we met our ingredients. Bitter eggplant, sweet eggplant, lemongrass, galangal (Siamese ginger), Thai ginseng, Thai parsley, sweet and holy basils, chilis, tamarind… the grounds have everything! Our instructor let use all our senses: we smelt, felt and tastlt (new word) everything under the shade of our wicker hats of enormous diameter. After, at my indiviual cooking station, I made all of the dishes below from scratch! Not only did I build my kitchen confidence by following the instructions with ease but my food turned out scrumptious. Thai cooking party at Olive when I return!
Kaeng Phed with Tofu (Red curry)