Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

As the one of most searchable words on my blog is most likely to be ‘Massaman Curry’ and Chaing Mai is famous for it’s Thai cookery schools, it seemed like a meeting of the minds to spend the day at Siam Rice Cookery School.

It’s 800baht (£16) for a full day 9am to 4pm, and worth that alone for the stand up routine of Sim, our very entertaining Thai host. His favorite joke seems to be to sneak up behind us a drop cubes of stock into our boiling saucepans with mutter “opium juice?” with a cheeky wink. He is a great teacher, a funny guy and dab hand with a pestle and mortar.

First we head to Ton Pa Yom Market, where I finally learn that those green vegetables in Thai Green Curry that I never can place are in fact Thai eggplants. This has baffled me for months. There are ten of us who all peruse around the stalls like a pack of sniffer dogs, ogling at coconut milk, curry paste, turmeric etc, like we have never been let loose in the aisles of Tesco before. Here is what we are picking up ingredients for:

Spicy Soup with Sweet Basil
Pad Tai
Boiled Egg Salad with Lemon Grass
Sweet & Sour Vegetables
Curry Paste
Massaman Curry
Banana in Coconut Milk

That’s right people: 7 courses! Just to clarify the above are just mine. You each get to pick from 5 or 6 different dishes per course. Claire goes for the Thai Green Curry for example, which pretty much blows everyone’s head off, and I pimp up my veggie dishes with prawns, which they aren’t stingy on. Add to this free tea/water all day, and someone who breezes around like the woodland creatures in Cinderella, washing and tidying after you. It’s a pretty perfect way to cook. We are outside too in the open air for 5 hours with gas stoves, and a huge communal table filled with little pre filled bowls of ingredients. It all makes you feel as though you should do a little Blue Peter piece to camera and demand your own TV show. One of the highlights was the noodle course which Thais usually cook in less than 2 mins. The secret to this is near meter high flames exploding out of the pan. I have a clip I can hopefully get on Facebook shortly. I’m the one cowering at the back.

With the amount of leftovers I brought with me I may well not need to buy another meal until I reach Bangkok in a fortnight. To top it all off we all get a cute certificate, a great recipe book which I will treasure forever, and last but not least, a lesson in how to carve ornate flowers out of a carrot. I’m just warning you, don’t even challenge me to a game of Come Dine With Me, I’ve got you whipped. : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

January 2012

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