I had a busy morning yesterday that I'll go into later. I got back to my hotel which doubles as a travel agency (a common feature in Chiang Mai) with the goal of going and doing something touristy. Not that I hadn't been doing touristy things but this time with someone else in charge. My options for evening activites were limited and a cooking class from 4-8:30 had the most allure. No matter that I haven't really spent much time cooking before. This was Thai food and I've developed a taste for their curry's and coconut milk based dishes.

The school "Baan Thai Cookery School" picks up chefs to be at their hotel in a pickup truck with benches down the sides of the truck bed. All the people in my truck are very friendly and English speaking. After gathering at the school we walk to a local market to learn about ingredients that we're using. Nok is our instructor and shes very animated and sweet.
There are four lessons (Stir-Fried, Appetizer, Soup and Curry) and three options for each lesson. First lesson is Fried Cashew Nut with Chicken. We are gathered in a prep room with the ingredients placed in what I would call an appetizer bowl. Nok walks us through each set of the prep work.

In this bowl you see the expected: Cashew nuts, and the odd: Elephant ear mushrooms. Also included are baby corn, dried chili, spring onion and onion. To be perfectly honest I eliminated onion from all my dishes. The joy of cooking: No onions in my dishes. And the result I have to say was delicious.
Next up was Spring Rolls and Chicken Coconut soup. In my book you can't go wrong with coconut. Or fried food. One of the other chef's to be was talking about eating a fried and salted maggot. He didn't know that's what he was eating until after and it wasn't bad. But of course if you fry and salt something, how bad can it be really.

The wrappers for the spring rolls have a smooth and rough side. The smooth is suppose to be up for a "pretty" roll. They walked us throught the process once and then we made one on our own. I think just about everyone ended up with a "pretty" roll and a rough one because they forgot that step.
This was all the point that everyone was getting full and a little tired. The breaks between cooking were filled with talking and laughter. A really good group of people. A couple both named Jo/Joe (Guy and Girl) from London traveling for three weeks in Thailand. Another couple from London traveling through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam for 6 weeks. And a Canuk named Dillon traveling around for 4 months after working on a fishing boat and saving up.

The final dish was the curry. Panaeg Curry in my case. It's a lot of work. There's a mortor and pistle involve and pureeing peppers but the outcome is delicious even if I couldn't finish it because I was so full.

My grand plans of hitting the night market were foilled by the fact that I was falling asleep standing up. Just have to visit it on my way back through Chiang Mai. Because, I don't think I mentioned, I'm hitting the road today!


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