I took a full day Thai cooking class at Green Mango Cookery School today. I have learned to cook six traditional Thai dishes, curry paste, Green Curry, Tom Yum Soup, Chicken with Cashew Nut, Papaya Salad and Mongo Sticky Rice. The whole family was very satisfied with the experience and the cooking results. Rae’s comment: It tastes like from a restaurant.
Green Mango Cookery School is located in Hong Dong (the rural area of Chiang Mai) and it is a private house with a huge backyard. It is surrounded by beautiful rice fields. Rian and Rae took a nice walk while I was busy learning.
Like I said, programs in Thailand seem flexible. Rian wasn’t interested in learning cooking, but he and Rae could still visit the cooking school with me and have lunch there. The full day course (9am-3:30pm) cost 1000thb (40 Canadian dollars) per person, but all together we paid 1500thb (about 60 Canadian dollars) for 1 person’s cooking class, 2 visitors, and 3 people’s breakfast and lunch as well as free hotel pick-up and drop-off. It was great to have Rae and Rian there. Rae helped me with some cooking processes and she also enjoyed playing around. It was a small class today, only 2 students. It felt like a private class.
The instructor Ben came to pick us up at hotel around 8:30 in the morning. He was in Scottland for a couple of years and speaks understandable English. There is also another teacher at Green Mongo who can speak Chinese. After a 30 minute drive, we got there. They welcomed us with Blueberry Tea. Then Ben started to introduce some herbs and ingredients which are commonly used in Thai dishes. They grow a lot of the herbs just in their garden.
It’s time to cook! I was very excited to head to the kitchen. Surprisingly they have a large open space in their backyard for us to cook. It was much better to be surrounded by a beautiful garden than stuck in a kitchen. It was truly a nice environment to work in. They cleaned up your working station every time you finished cooking one dish and got the materials for the next one ready.
Our first job was to make our own curry paste. We cut the herbs and smashed them in the bowl made of stone. The curry paste smelt so fresh. After that, you used the curry paste that you made to make your curry dish. Ben also taught us how to decorate your dish by making hearts with coconut milk.
I didn’t know we will eat our outcome every time we finished cooking. Ben’s assistant set up the table with rice and noodles waited for us to bringing our curry on. I had a taste of my curry. I just couldn’t believe that it was my cooking. It tasted amazing!
Besides cooking, we also paid a visit to a local market and discovered a lot of Thai ingredients. They are inexpensive and seem easy to make. I wish I had a kitchen here so I could practise.
In the following class, we did Tom Yum Soup, Chicken with Cashew Nut, Papaya Salad, and Mango Sticky Rice. Ben also made Rian and Rae some Pad Thai and Spring rolls for lunch.
The day was full of satisfaction from cooking and eating. At the end, Ben asked our email addresses and he was going to email us the recipes. I was very happy that I can have them. Maybe one day I would invite my family and friends for a lovely Thai dinner party.