6.28.2013

Thailand 2013 Volume One: Cooking Class and Market Browsing Day


 


I was in Thailand about a month ago for some project work and have been going through the huge amount of images I took since I've been back.  It's taking me forever to edit them, but I'm finally ready to share some of the images from my cooking class day.  Hooray!

It was my first visit to Thailand. I arrived late around midnight. Through the taxi's window, the first thing I saw driving away from the airport was a street filled with food stands and people hanging around them.  It looked just as I imagined it would.

Food is all over the place in Thailand. Everyone is always selling, making or eating food. Street food truly is one of the quirkiest and funnest ways to learn about a culture and get connected with people.  I instantly felt connected to Thailand.

During my 2 week trip I mostly stayed around Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand. I visited every single market in town, some of them twice, and observed the food and people at the markets and streets.  I have photographed strangers on the streets right in their faces in a number of countries.  Thai people are the friendliest and most open people I have ever met and photographed.  I was starting to see why it is so popular for tourists to visit and so comfortable for foreigners to live in Thailand.  Who wouldn't want to be where the food is excellent (and reasonable) and people are friendly. 




Toward the end of my trip, after I accomplished photographing what I wanted, I took a day off to go and take a cooking class.  All the photographs posted here are from my day with the cooking class.

I had no idea cooking classes were so popular in Thailand.  I guess I wasn't the only one who loves Thai food yet doesn't know how to make it!  There are dozens of cooking schools in Chiang Mai.  I picked the one that had the best reviews on TripAdvisor.  A nice man came to pick me up on a scooter and we rode through the crazy streets of Chiang Mai to the market near the school.  He showed and explained to me the ingredients we'd be using during the lesson.



 



We headed to the school where I met the other students who had come from all over the world.  We all made 4 dishes each and ate most of it during the 6 hour course.  I definitely learned a few key things on how to make Thai food way better at home from taking the class.  I want to share two of my favorite dishes that I made there, so make sure to check the recipes if you want to try making them at home : ) I also highly recommend using a stone grinder like the ones in the photo below and wok.  They just make it a lot more fun to cook Thai food.


 
 
 


Recipe: serves 2


Phanang Curry:

1/4 pound or half of chicken breast sliced thinly
1 tablespoon phanang curry paste
a small handful of string beans chopped
a small handful of carrots sliced thinly
a small handful of red bell peppers sliced
1 cup coconut cream (not coconut milk)
1/2 cup water, vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 lime leaves
sweet basil leaves and red chili

Phanang Curry Paste:
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dry pepper corn
1 teaspoon curry power
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts

To make phanang paste, put all the ingredients in a grinder and mash until they fold as a smooth paste.

Add cooking oil and 1/2 cup coconut cream in a wok or pan.  Add phanang curry paste with low heat, bring to simmer and stir continuously for 2 minutes.  Keep adding a small amount of water to avoid burning.  Add chicken and stir until cooked.  Add the rest of the coconut cream, fish sauce and sugar on high heat.  Add string beans, carrots, bell peppers and lime leaves.  Garnish with basil leaves and thinly sliced red chili.



Spring Rolls: makes 20

1 1/2 cups glass noodles soaked in water
1 cup diced tofu
1 1/2 cups chopped green onions, julienned carrots and bean sprouts
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 egg beaten
1 cup water
20 spring roll skins (2 1/2" x 2 1/2")

Stir garlic and tofu in heated wok or pan with oil. Add bean sprouts, carrots and green onions. Add water, light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce. Mix well. Add soaked grass noodles and stir until cooked for 1-2 minutes.  Prepare 20 pieces of skin and egg wash.  Take a piece of skin and place as a diamond shape.  Apply 1 teaspoon of filling and fold it in half tightly. Fold the sides to wrap up the filling, apply some egg wash on top as glue and roll it up to seal.

Fill up a wok or pan half way with vegetable oil at least 2 inches deep and heat on medium heat.  Deep fry 3-5 spring rolls at a time until golden.  Serve them with sweet chili sauce.



Note: The recipes are adopted by Siam Rice Thai Cookery School Recipe Book.

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