Throughout Chiang Mai there are a million and one different places offering cooking schools on how to learn Thai cooking skills. Picking which one to go through is the trickiest, you could compare prices, how long each session is, what dishes they offer, but it generally all winds up being pretty much same-same (very common phrase used in Thailand.) We chose our place through a recommendation from our guesthouse, which is generally the safest bet. Gerrard did not let us down.
We got picked up by a songthaew (pick up truck taxi) and met our other companions for the day, and once again got chatting away with them. Our first stop was the market, which we have visited ourselves a few times as it is very close to us. But this time we actually learnt about what we were looking at. Boom (the young lady running the school) talked us through the basics and made us realise how vast the thai palate and ingredient list is and little ours is, “how many types of basil so you have?….how many types of ginger?…” In which we all answered one. It turns out their are 3 types of basil and ginger native to thailand and a whole barrage of chillies, our favourite being the mouseshit ones (or birdseye to you or me.) Boom even went into the details of what each colour of chilli means: green being a young chilli so the heat is minimal, red being the old man so the heat is medium, and orange is like the teenager so the heat is most intense. I could bore you with all the details of what she taught us, but I’ll leave it there.
We arrived at the school and were welcomed into a clean and friendly home, offered drinks and interesting fruits to eat whilst the staff prepared everything just bought at the market. Previously we had picked 7 dishes to make and we were all wondering what we were going to cook first.
First up was Pad Thai for me and Adam made stir fry noodles. Everything was ready and prepared for each individual, very efficient and we were each given step by step methods on what to do with our dish, it was idiot-proof! All the staff were amazing, so helpful and funny. Throughout the day we even got basic lessons in thai! And learnt the delightful saying “more chillies means more sexy” which the staff continued to remind us as we only put in a “Westerner” portion of chillies.
After cooking, eating, sharing, cooking, eating, sharing our dishes and cooking some more we were all delightfully stuffed and got a well earned break (?!?) When we returned we found it was time to make our curry paste which we would then turn into our own curries. The amount if dried chillies which went into each of these pastes was alarming, but it worked. The flavours were amazing as all curries were passed around for the offering.
All in all, another fantastic day in Chiang Mai where we got to meet more fantastic people, and make some beautiful food. We even got our own recipe books to take home! Thank you Basil Cooking School, we couldn’t recommend you more highly.