As we didn't have much else to do one day, I managed to include cooking course in the schedule!
9am one morning, we are on our way to the cooking centre where we got to decide which 5 dishes we will prepare: 1 stir fried, 1 appetizer, 1 soup, 1 curry and 1 dessert; knowing that we also make the curry paste from scratch!!!
Once the decision made, we head for the market where we learn a lot about different type of rice, different types of noodles (who would have known that some of them are made from beans?), the difference between coconut milk, juice and cream and get to see some very colorful ingredients.
First the little welcome snack: Meang Kum, a lettuce wrap of ginger, shallots, toasted coconut, chili, peanut, lime, peanut and sugar cane.
It was good but I would advise not to cut the chili with your teeths...
Up next was the stir fried. I went for Pad see uw, R opted for the hot basil with chicken. I think I won this battle! I even think it was my favourite dish of the day.
As we were pretty hungry by that point, we ate it straight away! And then carried on with the appetizer. I was making spring rolls and I got top mark from the teacher. :-)))))
To my taste there was a bit too much wrapping but they did look good!!!
R was making his favorite dish of the entire holiday: papaya salad (he has since found out that it is meant to be a lady's snack but that doesn't stop him ordering it for every single meal!)
Papaya salad was very good, full of chilies as usual. Making it also looked really traditional in the wooden mortar.
Once this second dish eaten, we were on a row, making soup, curry paste, curry and dessert in one go!
The Tom yam koong soup was a clear winner for R, I don't know why but it was just so much better than mine, richer, less watery, tastier...
Making the curry paste was quite an exercise! Apparently it takes 2h on the stone mortar to make a proper paste! We probably did it over 20min and there were several of us taking turn. (It seems as difficult as beating the eggs white without the electric whisk!)
I was going for the Massaman curry and R for the Khaw Soi, a Chiang Mai speciality.
By now I have had 3 Massaman curries and I can officially say that there are as many Massaman curry as there are Massaman curry maker. None of the 3 I have tasted (included mine) had anything in commun...
Out of all the curries our group made: red, Massaman, panang, Khaw Soi, the best one was when we mixed my Massaman with some Panang.
So that's the new rule: if you can't make one dish properly, just change it!
Making anything else than sweet sticky rice with mango wasn't even an option for me, but I have to admit that the special recipe of fried banana that R produced was really good as well.