The Recipe Below!
Thanks to my California friends, Amanda and Justin, who have moved to Thailand, I joined in an incredibly fun day of cooking school. Another California couple, new friends, Katherine and Tom, were also part of the group. It was such a great experience and so well organized! And this day long experience, including transportation to and from the hotel cost $33 - a bargain for sure!
I was picked up at my hotel at 8:30am and once everyone was gathered together, we all went to the local market. We selected fresh produce for our recipes, tasted a few things none of us had tried before and learned quite a bit about the Thai foods available at the local market. It was fun to go to the local market, a much different experience than going to the typical tourist markets that I'd been to. Mostly, since I've been here, I was leery of trying much new, when I didn't know what it was. So, having a Thai guide was really nice.
The style of the cooking school is Traditional Thai Akha. The Akha people immigrated and became citizens of Thailand in the early 1900's. They were originally from China, Laos and Myanmar. There are now 80,000 Akha people living in small villages, mainly in the mountains of Thailand. The Akha have their own traditions, culture, beliefs, just as many hill tribes do. Their cooking style is very healthy and fresh. I can attest to the delicious tastes!
Since the population is so small, our leader, Neeti, an Akha woman, was passionate about sharing her traditions and cooking style with us. I loved that she cooked like my grandma - no exact measuring, and much heart put into the cooking. A pinch of this and a touch of that, with no measuring cups or spoons. She tasted, looked and felt consistency of the pastes - her senses were her guides. And she was so good at it, that Neeti could show us how to do it too.
We did get recipes that have measurements, but even the recipes often have 1-2 of something or 2-3 of another ingredient. Personal taste and the variances of fresh produce allow for flexibility.
We learned how to make 11 dishes, and we ate all the way through the experience, which lasted until nearly 4pm when I arrived back at my hotel. Neeti was incredibly patient and so knowledgeable. She was also funny and fun to be around. Our group really had a great day, ate such delicious foods and learned much.
My stomach felt more full on that day than I have been since I arrived here, in Thailand. Yet, in typical Thai food fashion, within a short time, I didn't feel overly full. The foods are so light and fibrous, that they are easily digested and do not have any lingering heavy feeling.
A simple recipe that was so flavorful, delicious and one of my favorites.
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced in thin half moons
1 cucumber, peel the skin off and slice thin
1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (or to taste)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon ground peanuts (or to taste)
Mix everything in salad bowl and enjoy!
Anyone planning to visit Chiang Mai, I highly recommend the Thai Akha Kitchen Cooking School experience.
It was fantastic! I'm thinking of going back for a refresher before I leave.
Sending You Love from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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