Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cooking with Cory

Warning: Brandodojo style Food Post.

So I figured that I ought to leave Thailand with some sort of skill other than two-sword fighting and showering in a sink that I can use to justify my three months here. So what better skill than being able to cook those excellent thai dishes that those fancy progressives pay $18 a plate for in downtown Eugene.

So I took a cooking class from a nice Thai lady (who spoke perfect english) here in Chiang Mai called "A lot of Thai," which was totally great and I highly recommend them to anyone who happens to go to Chiang Mai thailand and wants to learn to cook (probably nobody reading this).

There were four other people in the day-long class, three australians and a Taiwanese girl.

We all had our own cooking areas with gas stoves and everything, and she would go step-by-step through how to prepare the ingrediants and cook it in front of us, then we would do it and she'd come around and help out. Then when we were done with each dish we'd sit down and eat it. It was great.

The first dish I made was by far my favorite dish here, Pad Thai.

This is the dish I will make for Mary as soon as I get home, as well as for folks when they come and visit. It is some great stuff.

Next I made boiled prawn soup, which is 1000x better than it sounds. Normally I dislike soups, but this was great. Interestingly, around 1/2 of the ingredients you couldn't eat, but they added a ton of flavor to the soup (lemongrass, shallots, ect.)

Third we made green curry with chicken. It was really good, and really spicy. Its primary base is coconut milk making it a very thick and hearty curry dish.

Then we took a break and went to the Thai market to look at vegetables we were using in our dishes, and Kwan (our host) explained how we could subsitute more common western veggies for things. The market was fairly interesting, but since I've been in Thailand for so long I was already pretty familiar with the markets.

My favorite is the whole deep fried chicken. And when they say "whole," they mean it.

Of course, you can just get the parts you want. Like the heads.

Speaking of chicken, the next dish we made was cashew chicken.

Now, I make cashew chicken all the time, and this dish took less than 1/2 the time to make and tasted more than 2x better. So I was humbled^4.

Then we went on to making everyone's favorite appetizer, spring rolls!

Finally, for dessert, sticky rice and mango with coconut creme sauce. Again, very tasty.

All in all it was a very good cooking experience, and I learned a lot of important tips. Like never add garlic to hot oil, always pour oil into the spatula and then into the wok to avoid using too much, and too much chili powder in your food makes you need to use the restroom eight times a day.

It was good to feel like a tourist again, as the other folks were all discussing how they were only staying for a couple days. I still have two weeks left so was a little envious of thier getting to go home and try out these recipes right away, but nevertheless, good times!