Learning to Cook Thai Food

Sunday was my cooking class with Thai Farm Cooking School – and it was super fun! Another good group of folks, with visitors from Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Finland. Our guide and instructor was MB – who got off on the right foot with me when I asked what MB stood for and without missing a beat, she replied, “Most Beautiful.” Yes, I’m sure she uses the same line every time, but as I (and everyone who knows me) can attest, when you’ve got good material, you use it whenever the opportunity arises.

We had a quick tour of a local market and learned about some of the ingredients before heading off to the farm itself. MB took us on a short walk around the garden to learn about some of the other things we’d be cooking with that day.

The kitchen was great – outdoors but within an open and airy structure. Oh, and also equipped with an adorable dozing kitty, called “Gai” – which is “Chicken” in Thai (and to all you racists: no, he was not an ingredient…). Some prep had been done in advance, such as peeling shallots and garlic, deveining shrimp, cutting up the chicken – but we did plenty of slicing and dicing on our own, including preparing a curry paste of our choice (red, yellow, green) from scratch in a mortar and pestle.

Everything we made was quite delicious – my particular favorites were my green curry chicken and the dessert of bananas poached in coconut milk, which was stunning in both its simplicity and scrumptiousness. And who knew how incredibly easy tom yum was to make? Of course, my rendition was a little on the bland side – apparently I’d used too much water… But I’ll try again at home and maybe get the proportions right.

Of course, I more than made up for the mediocre tom yum with my superior spring roll rolling technique. MB was convinced I’d made them before, but I had not! I guess I’m just a natural. It’s good to know I have at least one potentially marketable skill…

As we wrapped up for the day, MB quizzed us on some of the ingredients for the day, asking us the Thai name for long beans. I quickly found them in our recipe book and yelled out, “Tua fak yao” – to which MB kept telling me, “No, fak yu! You fail the course now!” She really knew her audience, since I was LMAO.

I also have to give an extra big “kiitos!” to Oskari, the Finnish exchange student who snapped a lot of these photos. Given my vanity and narcissism, it was great to have so many action shots of me in the kitchen.

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