Kiki and I are pretty ethnic eaters-we love Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food to name a few. We were first introduced to Thai green curry in 2011 by our friend, former travel nurse now nurse anesthetist, Bryan. His wife, Rad, is from Thailand, and she had to go back to North Carolina while Bryan was finishing up his contract in Tacoma, Washington. Since he was alone in Tacoma, we adopted each other, and took turns cooking dinner for each other. Bryan was even there in Vancouver when Kiki proposed to me! So one night, Bryan cooked Thai green curry for us, consulting Rad on the phone, and we fell in love…with the green curry that is.
Since then, we have tried to replicate green curry, but could never really get it to taste the same. We stopped trying because we found the perfect green curry at a place called Sukhothai in Southfield, Michigan. Anytime we are back in the area, we always order it. It has become our favorite Thai green curry. When we moved to Dallas, and then to Cleveland, we would order green curry at the new Thai restaurants in our life, but it was never the same. Damn you Sukhothai!
Our honeymoon adventure landed us in Thailand, with cooking classes abound. What better place to learn to cook our favorite curry dish! So a Thai cooking class it was! Thai Orchid Cookery School, one of the many cooking schools in Chiang Mai, offered a full day cooking class with pick up and drop off at our hotel, and a cookbook of all the recipes for 2400 baht ($77) total. The cooking class only ended up with four people, which was perfect. Kiki and I made different items so we could learn to make as much Thai food as we could! Each item was demonstrated to us, then we were able to cook what we had just learned.
I learned to make chicken satay, complete with peanut sauce, while Kiki learned to make spring rolls.
(peanut sauce, chicken satay, cucumber salad and spring rolls – Kiki’s spring rolling might need some work)
(cooking complete with aprons)
I made Tom Yum Goong, the national soup of Thailand, while Kiki made Chicken Coconut Soup. We learned that certain items of the soup are just for flavor (not to be eaten-similar to a bay leaf), but left in for presentation. Before learning this little fact, I definitely had eaten the galangal (Thai ginger) and lemongrass. Oops!
I made Pad Thai, a one pot (wok) wonder.
Kiki made Cashew Chicken.
(here we are posing with our final dishes, pad thai, red curry, Kiki’s cashew chicken and green curry)
We started by actually making curry paste by hand in a mortar and pestle. In each type of curry there are at least nine different ingredients! The instructor informed us that the heat of the grinding by hand actually released more flavors from the curry ingredients, but man was it hard work! She told us that years ago, when a man was looking for a wife, he would walk around the neighborhood and listen for the sounds of a mortar and pestle making curry. Before electricity, curry could take HOURS to make by hand, so if he heard someone making curry, he knew she would be a good cook, thus a good wife! Lucky for us, when the curry started to get a little wet/mixed together, we learned a secret: finish it up in the food processor!
I opted for panang curry (maybe my new favorite) and Kiki went for green curry.
We ate (most of) the food we had cooked, and were thoroughly stuffed, but there was still one more course to make:
Steamed banana cake required mixing ingredients by hand and placing it in a bowl made from banana leaves into a steam pot to cook. Pretty neat!
Mango sticky rice included steamed sticky rice, a reduced sugary sauce, and fresh mango.
The Thai Orchid cooking class was amazing. The instructors were great. We had full bellies and a new knowledge about Thai cooking!
Where did we stay in Chiang Mai?
B2 Ayatana Premier Resort – A little outside of downtown Chiang Mai, but a great hotel with a nice breakfast & relaxing pool.