After four nights in Northern Thailand, exploring caves and relaxing, we made our way back down to Chiang Mai. One of the things I wanted to do in Thailand, was take a cooking class as a family. After doing a lot of research, we settled on Thai Orchard Cooking School run by a family, out of their home. They picked us up in a van, along with 5 other people.
Our day started with a cup of coffee and a menu of items to choose from. We were able to choose fresh or fried spring rolls, one of three curry dishes, Pad Thai or cashew stir fry, and then one of three desserts. We made sure to sign up for a variety of dishes so we could taste each other’s and take turns cooking when we got home.
To start off, our instructor made sure we had proper veggie chopping technique. We each had our own cooking station and wok. I loved that they had full confidence in the boys abilities and didn’t coach them any more than was needed. They both took great pride in their dishes, because they had made them start to finish.
We started with the spring rolls. Charlie and Ethan made the fried rolls. The instructor said you could make these and freeze them before frying and they would keep for months. Anyone want to come over for a spring roll party?
Josiah and I opted for making fresh spring rolls. I have wanted to eat these at restaurants, but I am always nervous about eating fresh veggies here (because they may have been cleaned with tap water). They were quite easy to make and I am looking forward to buying rice paper when we get home and trying making them again with Siah.
After we finished eating our spring rolls (Yum!) we got back in the van and they took us to a local market. Our instructor showed us all the different Thai fruits and veggies. He explained that all chicken eggs in Thailand are brown and all duck eggs are white, so you can tell them apart. The fruit in the middle picture are oranges… but in Thailand their oranges are green, hmm.
One of my favorite parts was learning about things that we mostly only see on ingredient lists on jarred food. These are Kafir Limes. They use the leaves in stir fries/curries, or the skin, but never the juice. They smelled so yummy!
On a side note, if you are ever hiking in the jungles of Thailand and your guide offers you a pepper like this, and says “its only a little spicy” in broken English… you might not want to trust him. I took a little bite, spit it out, and my lips and tongue were burning for 15 minutes. Charlie and our new Australian friend Jake ate whole ones with their lunch and claimed to like them.
Another side note, there seems to be equal numbers of stray cats to dogs in Thailand. Ethan loved seeing them and trying to pet each one. So far he has never been scratched or bit. This is one he met in the market.
When we returned from the market we prepped our dessert so it would be ready by the time our lunch was done. Ethan and Josiah chose to make pumpkin cakes and Charlie and I chose mango sticky rice. They make the rice blue by steeping some flowers in the water first. The cakes were made by steaming them in banana leaves.
Once we finished prepping dessert it was on to the main course and curries. Before we did any cooking, our instructor would take us into the classroom and demonstrate the techniques we needed. For the curries, Ethan chose yellow curry, Charlie chose green, and Josiah and I made Panang.
After we made our curry we learned how to make Pad Thai and Cashew Chicken. Ethan made the Cashew Chicken and the rest of us opted for Pad Thai. I missed taking a picture of Ethan’s meal but it looked and tasted delicious. We all liked our Pad Thai but I think the curries were our favorite part of the meal.
Once we finished cooking we sat and ate and ate and ate and visited with our new friends. It was such a fun day. We have cook books with all the recipes to take home. So come visit us in our new home and we will test out our Thai cooking skills!