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Cooking Course in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I love Thai food, so I took a couple cooking courses while I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I figured it would be good to add a new dish or two to my repertoire of burritos and pasta. I ended up adding five or six, and I discovered a secret along the way: Thai cooking is fun and, in many cases, easy.

Here are a few dishes from the classes that I particularly enjoyed. An upscale supermarket or Asian food store should have all the ingredients.


Prawn and Coconut Milk Soup (serves two)  

This dish is very easy to make and extremely satisfying. Apart from Panang curry, this is the dish that says "Thailand"to me.

Note: be sure to remove the lemongrass and galangal (or ginger) before eating (I learned this the hard way, several times in a row).


cups thin coconut milk


slices galangal, sliced thinly (can substitute with ginger)


stalks of lemon grass bruised and cut into 4 CM pieces


medium sized peeled raw prawns (shrimp). Veggie substitute: mushrooms or tofu


straw mushrooms cut in half (can substitute with white mushrooms)


chilies (bruised)


kaffir lime leaves stalks removed and torn in half


cup thick coconut cream


tablespoon chili paste


tablespoons lime or lemon juice

1 ½

tablespoons fish sauce. Veggie substitute: soy sauce



Turn gas on medium and place the think coconut milk into the wok. Add galangal and lemon grass. Bring gently to boil. Stir constantly.


Add the prawns, cook until tender


Add mushrooms, thick coconut cream, lime leaves, chilies, and chili paste. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.


Turn gas off. Add lime juice and fish sauce.


Serve hot. Garnish with fresh coriander.


Start with simple, fresh ingredients

Stir them together in the wok

Bon appetite! (but do pick the lemongrass, galangal, and leaves out)


Panang Curry with Pumpkin and Tofu (serves two)


Panang curry is sweet, creamy, slightly spicy, and absolutely decadent. It's also versatile: tofu can be substituted with chicken or pork; pumpkin can be substituted with just about any vegetable.


More fresh, simple ingredients.

It helps to cook with a smile.

Bing, bang, thank you Panang!


cup firm tofu sliced in thin strips


cup pumpkin sliced in thin strips

cups thick coconut milk

3 or 4

tablespoons curry paste


tablespoon fish sauce. Veggie substitute: soy sauce


tablespoon brown sugar


kaffir-lime leaves, torn in pieces, stems removed


sweet basil leaves


large red chilies (garnish)



Mix the curry paste, sugar, and fish sauce together and set aside.


Place ½ cup thick coconut milk into a wok/saucepan and heat over medium heat until the coconut oil starts to separate from the milk.


Add the curry paste and continue to stir until the curry paste is cooked (about 1 minute).


Add the tofu, cook on medium for about 2 minutes.


Add fish sauce and sugar.


Add 1 cup thick coconut milk and the kaffir lime leaf. Add pumpkin. Cook for about 4 more minutes.


Add sweet basil leaves and stir to combine.


Remove from heat and serve garnished with shredded karrir lime leaf, basil leaves, and sliced chili garnish.



Sticky Rice with Ripe Mangoes (serves two)


Sticky rice is a popular alternative to steamed rice in Thailand and Laos and is great with any main course. In this dish, sticky rice is transformed into a super-sweet and exotic dessert.


For best results, have a Thai person prepare this dish.

Mmm... sweet mangos and sugary sticky rice.

For Rice:



cup sticky rice (long grain)



cup thick coconut cream



tablespoons white sugar



teaspoon salt

Topping Sauce:



tablespoons thick coconut cream



teaspoon salt



teaspoon white sugar



tablespoon corn flour dissolved in 4 tablespoons of cold water




large ripe sweet mango

Note: The sticky rice must be soaked overnight in cold water or for five hours in warm water. Alternatively, you can boil the rice for 15 minutes prior to making the dish.



Drain the rice. Rinse and place inside a wet cloth sack (pillow cases are fine) and then inside a bamboo or vegetable steamer.


Steam over boiling water for 40 minutes or until rice is tender.


Make the sauce for the rice by placing thick coconut cream, white sugar, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved


Using a large spoon, massage this mixture into the rice, spoonful by spoonful. Set aside while you make the sauce.


For topping sauce, place the sugar, salt, coconut cream and the corn flour/water mix in a small saucepan and heat on medium until the sauce thickens.


Peel the mango and slice it into 12 pieces. Discard the stone. Arrange it on two plates beside the mango.


Place of a heaping spoonful of rice on the plate. Top with a dribble of sauce.

Posted on December 16, 2002 08:32 AM


Comments (post your own below)

Looks like we have a "Wolfgang Pugh" on our hands. Look out Yan, Pugh can Panang.

In case I don't get an update before Xmas, have a Very, Very Merry one and take care.

P.S. Did you know that Shawn and I are expecting a little McKee in 2 weeks? We will keep you posted

Posted by: Erin McKee on December 17, 2002 12:15 AM

soooo... think you can take on iron chef! ha! foolish mortal...

Posted by: chaz on December 17, 2002 10:23 AM

I am hosting an Asian Inspired Dinner party to celebrate Chinese New Year on February 1. We want to do something fun and different this Chicago winter. One or more of these litte treats will be on the menu.

Posted by: Lisa Collings on January 10, 2003 03:20 PM

Hi Michael,

First of all our very best wishes for the coming year!!!!!

Hope you had some good days at X-mass/New years eve on the beaches of Koh Chang or another beautifull spot somewhere.

The site including your latest pictures of our cooking course look fantastic!!We still have to try many of the dishes here at home in the Netherlands but we're working hard on it!!

Keep the good work up!!!

All the best & Take care,
Paul & Marjolein

Ps. We had snow & ice during the last week. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....very cold and many people were ice-skating during the weekend!!

Posted by: paul on January 13, 2003 02:53 AM

I made the Sticky Rice with Ripe Mangoes a few nights ago, and it was wonderful!

A few notes:

The pillow case I used was probably a bit too thick. The rice turned out a bit chewy.

The recipe for topping sauce made quite a lot. I think doubleing the recipe on everything else would work out just right.

I picked up some Panang Curry paste the other day, so I should be trying the Panang Curry recipe soon. Any ideas on what I should substitute for the pumpkin? It's only available around here in October.


Posted by: Ryan Jameson on February 27, 2003 02:43 PM

Nice article

Posted by: steph on March 3, 2003 10:48 AM

I cook alot of Thai dishes and find that acorn and butternut squash is a good substitute, Yams work also...Good Luck!

Thank you for such a wonderful site, so educational yet fun!

Posted by: Marci on March 3, 2003 12:50 PM

TOP BLOG! Food looks great! The blog is also very inspiring, is there a 'how to' page anywhere for beginners. What kit have you got, just a digital camera. How do you process photos, have you software online, access to Photoshop...

joe - t / joty

Posted by: Joty on April 28, 2003 11:01 AM

I am looking for Thailand cook to set up multi outlet in Singapore, interested cook pls reply.


Posted by: peter on June 22, 2003 07:03 PM

How To avail Thai Cooking course...Please let me know

Posted by: Yash Sethi on July 16, 2003 01:51 AM

I'd like to go to Thailand and get some courses of Thai food, could you send me some information about it , and how much will be it
Thanks a lot

Posted by: Aitana on August 4, 2003 03:53 AM

What about going to Thailand FIRST. And then look out for the courses once there by yourself ? ;)

Posted by: angkor on August 4, 2003 04:50 AM


It's a good site for sharing your photo and experience. I am planning to visit Chiang Mai, could you please tell me the information about the cooking course? Thank you so much.

Isy \(*o^)/

Posted by: Isy on September 21, 2003 07:10 AM


Please see Angkor's comments above yours ;) I don't remember the name of the outfit I went with. There are loads of them, though. Ask around and you won't go wrong.

Posted by: mike on September 22, 2003 07:25 AM

Comments closed.


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