While in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we had the opportunity to attend Auntie Orn’s Organic Family Cooking class. The class takes place on a organic farm just outside of the city, giving participants the opportunity to see a working organic farm in action. Auntie Orn’s family and helpers are all some of the nicest people you will ever meet, and the whole experience makes you feel good on many levels. We learned how to cook three classic northern Thai dishes: Khow soi, tom yam, and panang curry!
We were picked up a little before 9am and driven to a very local market in the countryside outside of Chiang Mai city. We were very excited about learning to cook Thai food, as taking a class had been on our list since our first days in Thailand. At the market Autie Orn met us and showed us around. We sampled a few of the local items and we picked up a few things for the class. We were the only farang (foreigners) in the market and the locals got a kick out of me sampling some ant larvae which was in season and harvested in the jungle. It had a real interesting flavor and texture, even better with hot sauce.
After the market we drove a few minutes away to the farm owned by Auntie Orn. In the front was a cute kitchen and tables and the land behind it was planted with all types of fruits and veggies. There were three couples in the class, and the first thing each of us did was to plant a tree on the farm. It was a great way to contribute something to the land! After planting our banana and mango trees, Auntie Orn invited us back anytime to check on our babies. You could tell she really meant it and we hope to make it back in a year or so to check on our baby banana tree!
Next we started preparing the food. We used large a mortar and pestle to crush up lots of different stuff into a Thai curry paste which was the base of the khow soi and panang curry. We pounded and pounded to extract the flavors of the ingredients and produce an amazing spicy aroma. Our hunger grew as we saw how delicious everything was getting, and we couldn’t wait to try the final product!
Auntie Orn’s Cooking class was about to get HOT! She heated up three woks, helping us work our curries into shape. The final product was a HUGE feast and we were all very proud of our labors! We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and maybe it was because we had made it ourselves, but we all thought it was by far the best food we have had in Thailand.
While our food digested we went on a tour of the farm, learning about permaculture farming methods and how the farm would progress in the future.
After the tour we learned how to make the ever-delicious mango sticky rice! It was very easy and so so good, a great way to finish the meal.
The final part of the day was extra memorable. We all received a very special New Years blessing along with bracelets for good luck! The blessing was given with holy water and everything. We felt special to be part of such an amazing ceremony.
Auntie Orn’s classes are by appointment only and you can contact Auntie Orn to make a booking via her website!
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