It was by chance that I stumbled upon Smile Organic Farm. My friends and I were looking for an authentic thai cookery class experience whilst in Chiang Mai, and found a leaflet with ORGANIC printed in large letters. After some research we learnt that the school not only taught how to cook classic thai dishes, but also began the day with a stop off at a local market where you learn how to identify fresh key ingredients. We were sold on organic produce, which is a niche for the farm amongst the many cookery schools that are dotted around Chiang Mai.
There is the option to visit hot springs on the full day course, however we opted for the half day course at 800 baht per person, which is roughly £18.43. We were picked up from our accommodation between 08:00-08:30 and finished around 14:00.
After visiting the market we arrived at the school and chose our cooking stations, complete with a giant wok each. A coffee break later we were handed woven wooden baskets and headed out into the school’s allotment, where we learnt how to identify and pick the organically grown ingredients for our chosen dishes.
In Thai cooking there is emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components such as thai basil and chilli. The cuisine uses a fundamental balance of four taste senses: sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
A few of the ingredients and herbs that we gathered from the garden for cooking were: Sweet Basil (Bai Horapa), Hot Basil (Bai Kra Pao), small Red and Green Chillies and Thai Ginger (Galangal).
The beauty of the course is that you can choose what you cook, you can adapt the whole menu to be vegetarian, and even better, you eat everything you cook! (If you are too full take it home for later).
I began by making red curry paste with a pestle and mortar that formed the base for two dishes, Panaeng Curry and Hot & Creamy Soup. Spring Rolls were on the menu too!
For more information, take a look at Smile Organic Farm Cooking School here.