Hats off to my husband for his research and planning. This day of cooking and gluttony was outstanding! It started as usual with a minivan pick up at the hotel at 8:30am. There were a total of 10 students in our group all young couples... totally the "date" excursion, but every one of us was representing a different country. We had New Zealand, Germany, France, Poland and Canada hanging out with our host Wass to make Thai food.
Wass took us first on an educational trip through a local food market. She taught us about the different varieties of rice, showed us the proper sauces for Thai food, and introduced us to palm sugar. She didn't spend much time touring us through any of the veggies, as we were headed to the cooking school that is located on an organic farm and would be picking our own.
We arrived at the farm and its set up with 4 or 5 kitchen areas that we can see... maybe more. They are amazing. Underneath each open air kitchen are 10 cooking stations and a long table to learn and eat at. And all around them is an integrated organic farm, rice paddies and everything. So we enter the vegetable education phase. We get our aprons with a pouch on the front to carry our ingredients and a farmers hat and we follow Wass out to taste fresh produce and pick our own fresh chilis.
Back at the kitchen we find our stations set and ready to begin our training.
First up on the schedule we make Curry paste with the fresh birds eye chilis we just picked.
Curry Paste - Choice of Green, Red or Yellow (surprise surprise, Cole chose green and I chose yellow)
We set our curry paste aside in Thai Tupperware (plastic bag) and headed into the cook stations to learn how to make Tom Yum Goong soup (you could choose chicken or shrimp) and then we were handed a tray with all our ingredients on it and set in front of our cook stations. The incredibly well planned and school had two ladies at each station who cleaned your pots and utensils between each course and plated your trays of ingredients. As a business, this runs like a beautiful machine.
Next... Spring Rolls! We made the filling, learned how to make fresh sweet chili sauce, were taught how to properly roll them and deep fry them. Best spring rolls I've ever had... AND I MADE THEM! (I'm telling you, as a business... this is genius. They cut out all the tedious prep steps for you, they have well trained and charismatic instructors and they make you feel like a pro chef immediately!). They even kept up with the branding by saying "and who made it?" and we all say ME! Stupidly, perfectly simple and highly effective.
After we ate our spring rolls we headed back into the kitchen to cook our curry dishes. Whoops forgot, the first thing we did when we got into the kitchen was wash a class sized portion each of jasmine and sticky rice. Jasmine went into the rice cooker and we were shown how to steam the sticky rice in a bamboo basket. These two rice portions will be served with our main dishes that we are about to cook. Our curry and our cashew chicken stirfry.
My favourite part of the curry lesson was how to make your dish go from 50 baht to being able to charge a customer 200 baht by adding garnish and making it (as Wass says with a quick Salt Bae pinch of sugar) more sexy...
50 baht dishes (like the locals make for the locals)
200 baht dishes (sexy dishes to take tourist money)
Then we make our stirfry... using the wok for a total of only about 2 minutes. Set it at the right heat, use the right oil and now we are cooking with fire! I can't tell you how excited it makes me to learn how to properly use my wok. And Janet just bought us a new one! We haven't even used it yet... so we will break it in like pros when we get home.
Wass - The firestarter
Cole - Cooking like a pro!
Our Beautiful and tasty final exam of the Thai Organic Farm Cooking School
And then its time for the last course... And my stomach is so full I can hardly sit down properly.... I was unable to finish eating my curry... which was incredible... and now I'm expected to have room for a tasty dessert?! We are going to learn how to turn sticky rice blue (like a smurf says WASS) and create a sexy enough to sell to tourists Mango and sticky rice. Which honestly, I have always avoided because it never really sounded appealing, nor does the street vendor version of this dish look very appealing. Well... I won't skip past this treat any more! Its soooo tasty. Fresh mango and sticky rice that is sweetened with warm coconut milk and topped with sesame seeds and mung beans. Delicious.
We passed! Watch out friends and family... yummy Thai dinner parties are on their way home this winter!