Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm in Love!!!

In love, that is, with Thai food! If I liked Thai food before I came to Thailand, I absolutly love it now. My previous go-to dish when ordering at Thai restaurants, Pad Thai, only begins to scratch the surface of the Thai menu.

This was the best pad thai we had during our month-long stay in Thailand – available for only $1 USD at our guest house in Sukkothai

From the pineapple rice and coconut curries and of the south (green is my favorite)

To the spicy soup and stir-frys

Being that I am so in love with Thai food, it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite activities in Thailand was attending a ½ day cooking course in Chiang Mai.

There was a class of about 10 of us and we each made 4 dishes.

The class started with a visit to the garden and an introduction to Thai herbs and spices – which left me a bit worried that I would be able to find Thai ginger in the US! (it is different from Chinese ginger and the two cannot be substituted for one another!)

Check out these TINY chilies growing in their back yard, they were about the size of my thumb nail:

The visit to the garden was followed by a visit to the market

Here is my teacher explaining how there can possibly be 20 kinds of rice for sale

Before we started cooking, we had a traditional Thai appetizer: a plate is prepared with betel nut leaves, onion, lime (with the peal), peanuts, ginger, chili pepper, and sweet chili sauce.

Then, each guest takes the leaf, folds it into a cone, drops one piece of each inside the cone, tops it off with chili sauce and then eats the whole thing in one bite. It was delicious! Spicy, sweet, and bursting with flavor. I could have made a whole meal of it!

After our little appetizer, we were put to work

One of the main ingredients in Thai food is fish sauce – it has a nasty smell but goes into almost all Thai dishes – the trick is to put just the right amount in. (unfortunately, I used too little in my pad thai and way too much in my sweet and sour chicken… but I guess we learn best by trial and error!)

Over the course of a couple of hours, we made pad thai

Drunken noodles (pad-ce-ewe)

Spring rolls

a spicy and refreshing glass noodle salad

Sweet and sour chicken (secret ingredient: ketchup!)

Chicken and cashews

And we even made our own curry paste (with mortor and pestal)

And curry dishes

The 5-course meal was delicious (if I do say so myself!) and we were stuffed by the end of it. Just thinking about the class now makes my mouth water!
I hope that I can take what I learned home with me and cook something besides baked chicken and potatoes when I get back to the States. Nick has plans to buy a rice cooker when we get home, and I want my own wok… so we’ll see how it all turns out!

One thing I will surely miss about Thailand is their food – it’s absolutely fantastic!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I love green curry. Can you make us dinner when you guys get back? I would love it!