Thai Cookery Class

The day I had been waiting for! As a massive foodie, I love cooking and learning about new dishes so I was soooo excited to do a Thai cooking class to learn authentic recipes from a local. Thai is one of my favourite cuisines and whilst in Chang Mai the opportunity arose to do an evening class with The Best Thai Cookery School.

Back home, myself and George would regularly dabble in cooking Thai dishes like Pad Thai, Massaman and Thai green curries, usually cheating and using a curry paste but we knew the basics like adding fresh coriander, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, crushed peanuts etc. to try and make the dish a bit more authentic than the usual pre-bought jar. We were keen to actually learn from scratch how to make true authentic Thai so we could continue whipping up a storm wherever we are in the world.

The Best Thai Cookery School

The class was around a 20 minute drive outside of the center of Chang Mai and was called ‘The Best Thai Cookery School’ (how modest!) set in the country side in an open-air kitchen surrounded by gardens and mountainous views.

I totally recommend this school if you’re in Chang Mai, we had a large group of us and it was so much fun, very informative and everyone came away with a Bamboo cooking spoon and recipe book of what we had made. It cost 1000THB per person and this includes transfers to/from Chang Mai. We started in a food market where all the ingredients were explained to us by the chef, we then hopped on mini buses that took us to the school and continued the class there which lasted over 3 hours. It sounds like a long time but it flies by as there’s a fridge full of cheap beers you can help yourself to, you eat the dishes as you cook them and leave feeling like you’re about to give birth to a little Thai food baby.

I was somewhat under the impression Thai dishes made from scratch would be complicated due to the many spices used, however once you have a good curry paste its super quick and easy! The only tricky part may be tracking down every specific ingredients to make the paste from scratch as they are not readily available in all supermarkets however I’ve made a few suggestions below for alternatives. If you’re feeling thrifty and want to make your own I’ve included the recipe for my all time favourite, Massaman curry paste.

Recipes

Massaman Curry Paste

Serves 8

Dry ingredients

1 tsp Black Peppercorns

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cardomon pods

2 tsp Mace (Substitute for nutmeg as expensive to buy)

2 tsp sea salt

10-12 large dried red chillis (seeds removed and soak in water for 10 minutes)

Fresh ingredients

4 tsp Giza (Substitute Ginger instead)

4 tsp lemongrass

4 tsp garlic

4 tsp shallots

4 tsp chopping coriander

1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)

Method

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a pestle & mortar until they make a powder
  2. Add the ginger, lemongrass and coriander root and pound until smooth
  3. Add the garlic, shallot, shrimp paste & chillis and pound your heart out until smooth
  4. The paste can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks but can also be frozen.

Tom Kha Gai (Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup)

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 can of coconut cream

1 can coconut milk

Thumb sized piece of peeled ginger, thinly sliced

10 pieces of lemongrass, cut lengthways

1 shallot, crushed and roughly chopped

3-5 small chillies (or more if you want the heat!)

2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced

8 button mushrooms, cut in half or leave whole if they’re bite sized

4 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces

4 tbsp fish sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice (or cut a whole lime into quarters to garnish)

Small handful of Coriander leaves to garnish

Method

  1. Using a large saucepan, heat the coconut cream and milk over a medium heat and bring to the boil
  2. Add the ginger, lemongrass, shallots, chillies and kaffir lime leaves and cook for around 15 seconds
  3. Add the chicken and mushrooms, followed by the fish sauce
  4. Cook for around 3 minutes (or until the chicken is fully cooked)
  5. Serve with a wedge of lime and coriander leaves for garnish

Panang Curry

Serves 4

We made ours with pumpkin sliced thinly which was amazing and added a lovely sweetness, this could be made with sweet potato or butternut squash for a veggie version!

Ingredients

2 cups of meat, seafood or Tofu

1 can coconut milk

2 tbsp oil

4 tbsp panang curry paste

2 tbsp palm sugar

4 kaffir-lime leaves

2-4 large red chillies, chopped (depending how hot you want it!)

A handful of sweet basil leaves (optional)

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the curry paste over a low heat and cook out the curry paste for around 1 minute
  2. Add the meat/tofu and fry until cooked
  3. Once fully cooked add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf followed by the fish sauce and palm sugar
  4. Cook for around 2-3 minutes then add the sweet basil leaves (optional)
  5. Garnish with slices of fresh chilli

Pad Thai

Serves 4

I wrote a recipe for Koh San Road Pad Thai in my 24 hours in Bangkok blog after stalking a few street food stalls to find out the recipe. I have since learned it seems like there are slightly different tweaks on the recipe and this one we made at the cookery school was AH-MA-ZING. It is very much open to preference on what vegetables to add and garnishes. Some restaurants added shredded carrot and cabbage, others just beansprouts, some garnished with fresh chillis and lime so whatever takes your fancy! The important component simply being the sauce to give that authentic Thai flavour.

Ingredients

400g of fresh rice noodles

4 garlic gloves, crushed

1 cup of tofu (or meat if you want to substitute)

2 tbsp of oil

120g beansprouts

4 eggs

1 cup of water

8 stalks of chives

4 tbsp of palm sugar (or white sugar)

1 chilli

Crushed roasted peanuts to garnish

1 lime to garnish

Sauce

4 tbsp of Tamarind juice

3 tbsp of Soy Sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

Method

  1. Using a Wok (so wok and roll) heat the oil on a high heat
  2. Add the tofu and garlic until the tofu has turned brown (or the meat is cooked)
  3. Add the noodles followed by the water
  4. Stir the noodles well until they have absorbed most of the water for around 1 minute
  5. Turn down the heat to low, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and tamarind
  6. Turn up to medium heat and cook for another minute
  7. Add the beansprouts and chives then remove the noodles and set aside
  8. Turn up the heat in the Wok, add some oil
  9. Scramble the eggs and add to the wok to make a thin omlette
  10. Spread the omelette on top of the noodles (does not matter if it goes messy)
  11. Serve with the crushed peanuts on top and a wedge of lime

Chicken and Cashew Nut Stir Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

400g Chicken Breast, sliced

2 onions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

8 spring onions, sliced into pieces

4 handfuls of cashew nuts (around 10 per person)

2-4 large red chillis, cut into slices (optional for garnish)

2 tbsp oil

1 cup of chicken stock

4 tsp tapioca flour (or corn flour) combines with 8 tablespoons of water

Sauce

4 tbsp Oyster sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 tsps sugar

Method

  1. In a large wok, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft
  2. Add the chicken and wok away until cooked
  3. Whilst your chicken is cooking, toast the cashews in a pan for 2 minutes
  4. Add in the sugar, soy sauce and oyster sauce and give it all a good stir until the sugar has dissolved
  5. Throw in the spring onions, toasted cashews and some of the sliced chillis if you like it hot
  6. Follow with the flour mixture to thicken the sauce and give it all a good stir around
  7. Garnish with remaining sliced chillis if you wish and serve!

Sweet Mango Sticky Rice (Serves 8)

Ingredients

3 ripe mangos

5 cups of sticky rice (long grain), soaked in water for atleast 4 hours

2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

1 cup (around 1/2 a can) of Coconut Cream

3/4 cup (around 150g) white sugar

2 tsps salt

Method

So for this recipe called for a ‘steamer’ to cook the sticky rice however I’ve had a look for some alternatives and believe this could be done over a big saucepan with boiling water and just place the rice in a metal colander or sieve just over the boiling water. I also pondered if this could be done in an actual vegetable steamer if you placed the rice but unsure how sticky the rice becomes and whether it would just create a huge mess… to be tested once I have a steamer!

  1. Steam the soaked rice for 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked and soft
  2. Mix the coconut cream, sugar and salt together and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes
  3. Remove the rice from the steamer and cool for 1 minute
  4. Add the warm rice into the coconut cream mixture. give it a good stir and remove from the heat. Leave to rest for an 1-2 hours
  5. Once ready to serve, peel and slice the Mango and lay them on top of the sticky rice
  6. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and enjoy!

I hope you give one of the recipes a whirl as they were super tasty and I will certainly be making these on the regs as soon as I get back into a proper kitchen!

A x

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