Cooking in Chiang Mai
I could consider this post either a year overdue or the perfect way to reminisce on my Christmas in Chiang Mai last year! Chiang Mai is a major cultural hub, nestled in the hills of Northern Thailand. The city is brimming with history, art, Buddhist sanctuaries, yoga studios, and most importantly, phenomenal food! My days here were spent exploring the city by foot, stumbling upon beautiful temples, bazaars, markets, and some of the best street food of my life!
Taking a cooking class was one of the highlights during my time in Chiang Mai. Baan Thai Cookery School is located just past the Thapae gate of the Old City. The Old City is the most gorgeous area of Chiang Mai, overflowing with ancient Buddhist Wats and surrounded by the original walls and moat erected at the end of the thirteenth century.
The course began with a tour of a local outdoor market as we stocked up on the fresh ingredients for our menu. The market was brimming with gorgeous greens, fresh fish, and the most wonderful variety of eggplants I'd ever seen. Thai eggplant, typically used in Southeast Asian curries or served raw in green papaya salad, are small, round, and can come in purple, green, yellow, or white varieties.
Thai cooking is made most unique by its spices and herbs. Thai ginger (Galangal), Spur chili (Prik Chee Fah), Kaffir lime, lemongrass, and sweet basil are among the most distinct Thai flavors. At Baan Thai, we were given the choice among three different appetizers, soups, stir-fries, curries, and desserts to prepare. I selected Spring Rolls as my appetizer, Tom Kha with Seafood, Pad Thai, Green Curry with Chicken, and Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert.
Ingredients 1 1/4 cup, rice noodles 1 3/4 ounces, chicken 3 tbsp, palm oil or vegetable oil 2 tbsp, spring onion, chopped 1 tsp, sugar 2 tbsp, fish sauce 2 tbsp, oyster sauce 1 egg 1 cup, bean sprouts 1 tbsp, garlic, chopped 1/4 cup, tofu, cut into thin slices 1/2 cup, water
Preparation In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil over low heat then add in the chopped garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned, add in the chicken and tofu. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked.
Break the egg in the pan and combine with the ingredients. Add the rice noodles and water, then cook until the noodles are tender. Season with fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Top with the bean sprouts and spring onion before removing from heat.
Serve topped with ground peanuts and fresh squeezed lime.
Ingredients 1/2 cup, glass noodles 1 cup, bean sprouts 1 3/4 ounces, minced pork 4 spring onions, chopped 1 tbsp, garlic, minced 4 tbsp, vegetable oil 1/2 tbsp, sugar 2 tbsp, fish sauce 2 tbsp, oyster sauce 1/2 cup, water 10 spring roll wrappers 1 egg, beaten
Preparation To prepare the filling, heat the garlic over medium-low heat in a frying pan or wok. Fry the garlic until golden brown. Add the minced pork and fry until the pork is almost cooked. Next add the fish sauce, sugar, and the oyster sauce.
Add the glass noodles, bean sprout, and spring onion to the pan. Stir until the vegetables are cooked before setting aside to cool.
Place a tablespoon of the filling in each spring roll wrapper. Seal the spring roll wrappers closed with the beaten egg mixture.
Fry the rolls in the pan over low heat until a dark, golden-brown. Serve with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
Tom Kha with Seafood
Ingredients 2 1/2 ounces, shrimp (peeled and cleaned) and/or seafood mix 1 ounce, oyster mushrooms 2 cups, water 1 cup, coconut milk 3 fresh Thai red chilies 1/2 tomato, quartered 3 kaffir lime leaves 1 lemongrass, sliced diagonally 1/2 inch ginger root, sliced 3 tbsp, lime juice 3 tbsp, fish sauce 1 tsp, sugar 1 tsp, chili paste 1 finely sliced spring onion
Preparation Bring the water to boil in a pot over high heat. Add the kaffir lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass and lastly, the shrimp once the water is boiling. Add in mushrooms and cook until softened. Once the shrimp is cooked, add the quartered tomato, and coconut milk.
Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, and chili paste. Stir well before serving, topped with spring onion.
Mango with Sticky Rice
Ingredients 3 lbs, cooked sticky rice 5 tbsp, brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp, salt 4 1/4 cups, coconut milk 1 ripe mango, sliced
Preparation In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk, then add in the brown sugar and salt. Stir well.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked sticky rice with the coconut milk. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with sliced mango atop the sticky rice.