Cooking, it’s what I do

I am finally motivated to blog, ironically, when I’m dog tired after a long day of traveling, arguing with airlines, moving to a new hostel and a new city. I wrote a really great blog post while I was in Siem Reap about my travels that far, but the internet was really dodgy, and I couldn’t post it, nor did WordPress save it. Woe is me. Anyway, I got to Chiang Mai today, and met some new friends and decided to sign up for a cooking class together at the last minute, and it was so awesome that I was finally motivated to blog again!

Of course I love to cook, and quite enjoy Thai food, so taking a cooking class at some point was a given. I had planned to take one that an RPCV friend recommended, but then I met these three girls at my new hostel, ended up really getting on with them, and decided to join their instead. I am so glad I did! It was at in downtown Chiang Mai and was a half day class in which we could cook three courses: a curry of our choice (red, green, massaman, panang or khao soi), and any other dish from the menu within the two courses our group agreed on. That is a bit confusing, so let me explain further: we were allowed, as a group, to choose two courses to cook (appetizers, soups, stir fry, or dessert) and we could pick our own individual dishes from within those categories once agreed upon. Our group chose stir fry and soup, and I made pad see uw, a stir fry of Chinese kale, carrots, chicken and wide rice noodles. It was really good. I would have gone with cashew chicken or pad thai personally, and only picked it because we all wanted to cook different dishes so we could sample everything. I wasn’t so sure about kale, as it’s not something I generally enjoy, but I really liked the Chinese kale, and the dish. I was full at this point, but back to the stove we went.

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Next up, we made our own curry pastes (red, green, massaman and with some of the red we added cashews and re-ground it to make the penang) in a mortar and pestle, which made me feel like I was compounding drugs again! We used the fresh paste to make our curries, mine was the Panang, which consisted of garlic, shallot, Chinese ginger, coriander root turmeric, chilis, and a couple of other things I probably can’t remember, which we then cooked with coconut milk and chicken. All of us who made the Panang curry were kind of spiciness wimps so we held back at first, but then I tasted mine and it tasted like nothing, so I went whole hog…yum.

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We then cooked our soups, which I was MOST excited about, because tom yum soup (or so I thought…) was the dish that made me realize I really do like Thai food and just don’t love the curries (what can I say, I’m an Indian curry kinda gal!). My soup was not what I thought I was going to be making, it had a water base instead of coconut milk, and even though I only put half a chili in and didn’t even chop it up, it had a little too much kick for me! It was still yummy, and if I’d had a gallon of cold water handy, I definitely would have finished it. However, I am going to have to clarify what my favorite Thai soup is, since I think I was mistaken.

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In case it wasn’t clear, I had so much fun at the class, our instructor was amazing-gave great explanations and was hilarious to boot, which is extra special since our western humor doesn’t often convert to people in other part of the world, and vice versa, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Highly recommended.

Now, I’m bone tired and will have to tell you about my last three weeks another time, soon.

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