Thai food is delicious, it combines a mixture of flavors like no other… sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy combined with fresh ingredients. We had such a good time in Thailand trying different dishes. It was a delight for our palate. We liked it so much that we decided to have a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai, making this trip also a cooking vacation!
About Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine is very diverse. In the South, dishes contain more coconut milk. In the north, there is a bigger diversity of types of rice. Thai food has a big influence on Chinese, Khmer, and Indian cuisine. It also has common dishes with Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
The Portuguese also had a small but very striking influence. 🙂 We introduced chilies in South East Asia (from America) which are now extensively used but also “fio de ovos”, a delicacy made of egg yolk.
Being from Portugal, everything for us was a novelty, we were Thai food virgins. Some of the dishes we didn’t even know what they were. Therefore we decided to do a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai to try to learn how to do some of our new favorite dishes and find out how Thai cuisine works. We did a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai because there’s a big variety of options at very reasonable prices and finally, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to eat in Thailand.
In Bangkok, we delighted ourselves with street food. We even discovered steam buns that aren’t traditionally Thai but Chinese. In the South of Thailand, we had a delicious Pad Thai, Papaya Salad and Spare Ribs BBQ. So at this point in the voyage, we had already tried a lot of Thai dishes, and we were no longer virgins.
One of our favorite dishes, and probably the most famous, is Pad Thai. Rice noodles with a fantastic sauce, bean sprouts, and egg. It is delicious. So one of our priorities was to learn Pad Thai.
What to expect in Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai
We chose the half-day cooking class at the Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School in Chiang Mai. The course included cooking 5 dishes: a curry paste and a curry, spring rolls and two more dishes from 2 categories.
There were 10 people in the Thai cooking class. After some discussion, the group decided on the 2 categories we wanted to cook: stir-fried (Pad Thai, cashew-nut with chicken, Pad see Uw, Hot basil stir-fried) and soup (Tom Yum, Coconut milk soup, Tom Sab).
Before starting to cook, we went to the local market with our cooking teacher to buy all the ingredients we needed for the dishes. We had already gone to numerous markets in Bangkok, but it is different going with a local who knew the ingredients. Afterward, we chose the herbs, which we had the privilege to pick up from the school garden after a small description of their properties.
We started the Thai cooking class with a welcome snack (Miang Kham), it’s a traditional Thai snack that means “one bite wrap”. It is a simple snack that combines raw ingredients in a betel leaf. The leaf is filled with toasted coconut, chilies, shallots, ginger, and sliced lime with the skin and topped with palm sugar syrup. You have to eat it all in one bite. You will sense an explosion of flavors that combine well together.
Then came the fun part, cooking. Each person had a cooking station with one wok and stove to cook. First, the teacher exemplified, and then we tried to do the same. After each dish that we cooked, we would sit together and eat. So at the end of the class, we were quite full. The recipes are pretty simple and easy to do and the teacher gave us great tips.
By the end of the class, we had learned to cook the above dishes. However, you should note that these dishes were chosen by the group and us, so each class is slightly different.
- Spring Rolls: made with vegetables and chicken in rice wrappers.
- Pad Thai: traditional Thai dish made with rice noodles, a mixture of vegetables served with peanuts, chili powder, and lime;
- Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew nuts: made of cashew nuts, chicken, and vegetables served with rice;
- Chicken in coconut milk: soup made with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, tomato, mushroom, spring onion, chicken, and coconut milk;
- Massaman Curry: curry made with massaman paste, chicken, coconut milk, and boiled potatoes served with rice;
- Khaw Soi: traditional Chaing Mai noodle soup made with red curry paste, coconut milk, egg noodles, lime, pickled cabbage, and chicken leg;
- Tom Yum: hot and sour prawn soup made with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaf, tomato mushroom, onion, and prawns.
So do you want to learn how to cook Pad Thai? This was the Pad Thai recipe we learned during the cooking class!
Pad Thai Recipe from the Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai
Ingredients of a Pad Thai
- 2 pieces garlic;
- 1 piece tofu cut into small sticks;
- 100 g bean sprouts;
- 50 g chopped chicken;
- 200 g rice noodles;
- 1 egg;
- 1 tsp sugar;
- 2 tsp fish sauce;
- 3 tsp oyster sauce;
- 3 tbsp tamarind;
- 2 tbsp cooking oil;
Method of cooking a Pad Thai
- In your wok, fry garlic until golden. Reduce heat and add chopped chicken and small sticks of tofu;
- When the chicken is cooked, add an egg and the seasoning ( 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp fish sauce, 3 tsp oyster sauce), mix everything;
- Increase the heat, and add fresh rice noodles (200 g). Immediately add water (2 cooking spoons) and tamarind sauce (2 tbs);
- Mix the rice noodles with the sauce and cook, constantly stirring, until the noodles absorb the sauce;
- Join vegetables ( bean sprouts, chives, carrot ) and cook for a few seconds with high heat!
- Serve with roasted peanuts, chili powder, and lime;
We enjoyed doing the Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai a great deal. It was one of our favorite activities on the trip! It was fun, tasty, and we learned a lot. Besides, now we can eat Pad Thai (and a few other things) at home 🙂