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Asia, 2014-02-17

After tasting some of Thailand’s most well known and delicious dishes we decided it was time to do some cooking ourselves. Because of the protests in Bangkok we headed to Chiang Mai for a cooking course and boy did we learn a lot! What a great experience, since we participated as a couple we were able to take in a double amount of recipes. Very interesting and good fun. We enrolled for a full day course (at the farm). The great thing about this option is you get to go to the local company farm and use their fresh produce while learning about the sustainable way they grow their crops.

After meeting our classmates and the introduction our teacher Indy said “first things first” the basics. When it comes to the basic ingredients you need for Thai cooking its all about the seasoning. According to the Thais every dish has to be harmonious with the four major tastes: sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Or sugar, lime juice, chili and fish sauce. So we started our trip at the local market where we picked up some ingredients for the course. Garlic, chili, kaffir lemon and their leaves, lemongrass, galangal and oyster sauce, together with the 4 listed above, form the main ingredients and once you found those, it’s a matter of putting it all together. Or, as our teacher so beautifully described it: using your feelings. We learned to make 12 different dishes in total and would love to share our favorites with you. Hope you enjoy the recipes below.

 

Happy cooking,

Wannes and Lore

All the recipes are for one person. If you want to cook for more people, just multiply the amounts. As for the seasoning, don’t double or triple these (our wonderful teacher was very strict about this)The amount for one person is: 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp fish sauce and 3 tsp oyster sauce (for stir fries), so 1-2-3. If you cook for 2 people it would have to be: 2-3-4 (and not 2-4-6), 3 people 3-4-5… You get the picture!

 


photo-11 Papaya salad (som tum)

Ingredients

– 1-3 small chillies
– 1 long bean cut into 2cm pieces
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1/4 tomato, sliced
– 1 tsp roasted peanuts
– 1 plate grated raw papaya (you can add some grated carrot as well or replace the papaya with raw mango or cucumber)

 

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp (palm) sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

 

Preparation

  1. Pound chillies, long bean and garlic together in a big mortar until they are starting to break.
  2. Add tomato, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and mix together.
  3. Add shredded papaya, and crush it all together.
  4. Divide the roasted peanuts on top.

 

 

photo-3 Massaman curry paste

Ingredients

– 4 dried red chillies
– 2 cardamom pods, shell removed, ground
– 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
– 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
– 1 small stick cinnamon, ground
– 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
– 1 tbsp shallots, chopped
– 1 tbsp lemongrass, chopped
– 1 tsp galangal root, chopped
– 1 tsp turmeric
– 1 tbsp peanuts
– Kaffir lime skin

 

Preparation

  1. Soak the chillies in water for 10 minutes, drain and then deseed.
  2. Dry-fry the dry spices in a wok to release the flavours and then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and grind to a smouth paste.

 

 

photo-7 Massaman curry

Ingredients

– 50 g chopped chicken or beef
– 100 ml coconut milk
– 1 tbsp Massaman curry paste (or to taste)
– 1 cup boiled potatoes, cut in 3 cm chunks

 

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp (palm) sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste

 

Preparation

  1. Oil the wok. Boil 4 tbsp of coconut milk in the wok over low heat until the oil appears on the surface.
  2.  Add the curry paste and stir for 1 minute or until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the meat and cook it until it’s done, then add the rest of the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables, palm suger, fish sauce and tamarind paste.  Keep boiling until it thickens.
  4. Serve with rice

 

 

photo-2 Mango sticky rice

I belief you can make a western variation on this dish using rice for pudding and cooking it in coconut milk instead of milk or using risotto rice, once we are home we’ll try it out!

 

Ingredients

– 1 cup sticky rice or glutinous rice soaked for 4-6 hours
– 1 cup very thick coconut cream
– 2 tbsp palm sugar
– 2 pinches salt
(In our course we used crushed blue bean flowers to give color to the rice, but i like it more if it looks natural.)

 

Preparation

  1. Drain the rice and steam it over a medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the rice from the steamer and mix in a cooking pot together with coconut cream, sugar and add salt while tasting. Stir gently.
  3. Turn the heat off, Cover and let stand for about 1/2 hour.
  4. Serve with Mango (peeled, cut in chunks)