Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pad Thai Pros (we wish)

"It's 8:00. Let's rush to grab breakfast before we are picked up for the day."

Fortunately our breakfast was light as we somehow failed to anticipate an entire day of eating as we cooked at the Basil Cooking School in Chiang Mai. We began the day in the local market talking about ingredients. Get the fish sauce that is clear, not with a yellow tint (fish sauce? isn't that something we steer clear of?). Coconut milk is made from a fresh brown coconut, not a green one. The smaller the pepper, the stronger the kick.

Our instructor, Boom, explains ingredients in the market
From Thailand - Cooking Class

I could barely keep up with the tips and soon we were on our way to a day of cooking school in a kitchen set up with six woks. We each had our own cutting board, set of ingredients and apron.

Krista finished with a complicated cutting routine involving many veggies and sharp knives:
From Thailand - Cooking Class

Pad Thai - a longtime favorite but seemingly too complicated dish was created in a matter of minutes.
"Oh yes, Pad Thai is Thai fast food," laughed the smiling Boon, our energetic instructor. From Pad Thai we moved to Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup and fried spring rolls before a break to rest our tummies. That breakfast proved to be absolutely unnecessary as each dish prepared had to be eaten. Sometimes being a card carrying member of the clean-your-plate club is not a good thing.

We returned from a walk to prepare fried bananas that would be eaten at the end. As always, the kitchen magically cleaned itself and prepped for the next course. This time, we made an incredible cashew nut with chicken dish. Then, large stone mortars were broken out to pound and pound and pound as we made curry paste for Pa-nang Curry. Just as we finished savoring this curry dish, the fried bananas reappeared with a coconut ice cream. Wow!
From Thailand - Cooking Class

By the end of the class, we were rolled out of Boom's house, into a pick-up and carted back to town. The final result was a 4 kg (over 8 pounds!) increase from the precooking weigh-in and a desperate need to sleep.

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