Thailand

Pad Thai For Life

Y'all, I had the best Pad Thai of my life and it was made by yours truly. While visiting Chiang Mai, Maria and I decided to take a Thai cooking class. Several blogs recommended MAMA NOI Thai Cookery School so we booked a half day, giving us the flexibility to choose our own dishes for a grand total of $13 or 400 Baht. This place is a well-oiled machine! They picked us up from the hotel at 9:00 am and took us directly to San Pa Khoi Market to see all the fresh ingredients we'd use throughout the day. 

Maria and Chelsea at MAMA NOI Thai Cookery School 

I've been traveling Southeast Asia for the last two months and haven't come across a market so clean! I could actually stand to be inside for longer than 5 minutes. No foul smells..   I'm still not sure I'd buy fresh fish off the chopping block but it was still fun to explore and watch the locals prepare their table and interact with consumers. Each stand sells the same fruits and veggies so I'm wondering how they differentiate themselves. Maybe they have loyal customers or just hope and pray someone decides to buy garlic from them opposed to the other 20 stands. 

After visiting the market we were taken to MAMA NOI's. They grow a lot of their own produce and have an entire garden before entering the pavilion. The space was big enough to have over 100 people learning to cook Thai cuisine. Classes are broken up into Chinese and English groups. We had two other girls in our group so it felt like a private lesson.

I tell everyone I love Thai food, but really I love Pad Thai, so naturally, I choose how to make this fine dish. If you're around in July when I get home I will be making you dinner!! You will die. Below are the recipes for the three Thai dishes/drinks I really enjoyed. Share pics if you happen to make any of them :-)

PAD THAI

Pad Thai Recipe at MAMA NOI Thai Cookery School 

Ingredients:

NOTE: This is one serving. 

  • 100G Rice Noodles
  • 50G Chicken Breast/Thigh or any other meat cut into chunks
  • 50G Tofu Cut into Cubes (you can forgo this if you'd like, brought me no value or flavor :-))
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1-2 Shallots Sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Sliced
  • 50G Bean Sprouts
  • 20G Shredded Carrot
  • 2 TBSP Cooking oil
  • 1TBSP Dried Shrimp Seasoning
  • 1/2 TBSP Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 TBSP Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Oyster Sauce
  • 1 TBSP of Tamarind Sauce
  • 1.2 TSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TBSP Chopped peanuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine all seasoning in a mixing bowl and mix well
  2. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat with a wok and add sliced shallot, garlic, and dried shrimp. Fry until fragrant then scramble in meat and tofu, cook until meat is cooked
  3. Crack the egg in a scramble it with meat and garlic mix, once scrambled push to the side of the pan
  4. Add rice noodles in together with the seasoning sauce. Add water and cook the seasoning sauce with the noodle until tender. Mix the garlic and egg concoction with the noodles.
  5. Finally add bean sprouts, chives, and carrot. Stir for a few seconds. Remove from the heat 
  6. Garnish the Pad Thai with lime juice and roasted peanuts 

YOU'RE WELCOME!!! 

TOM KA SOUP (CHICKEN IN COCONUT MILK)

TOM KA SOUP RECIPE

Ingredients: 

Note: This is one serving. 

  • 100G Chicken Breasts/Thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 30G Oyster Mushrooms
  • 2 Cups Coconut Milk 
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1 TBSP Lime Juice
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass, diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 Pieces Galangal, thinly sliced
  • 1 Kaffir Lime Leaves, torn in half (stem removed)
  • 1/2 Onion, Quartered (small red onion)
  • 3-5 Chilies, Crushed (I used one because spicy isn't my thing)
  • 1 Tomato, Quartered
  • 1 TSP Coriander, Cut into 1 cm lengths
  • 1 TSP Spring Onion, Cut into 1 CM lengths
  • 1 TSP Palm Sugar (I used two.. and I'm so glad)
  • 1-2 TSP Fish Sauce

Instructions:

  1. Mix 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup vegetable stock in a pot over medium heat, add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and chili. Stir and add in the remaining coconut milk. Boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and boil until cooked, then add onion, tomato, and mushroom. Season with sugar, fish sauce and stir well. 
  3. Boil for a few seconds, turn the heat off and add in lime juice 
  4. Garnish with coriander and spring onion

I thought this soup was really good. Had great flavor and a little bit of a kick (depending on how many chilis you put in.) I'm not sure this is something I'll ever crave but I think I'd like to try and make this my own by adding in a few more veggies and a bit more chicken. 

THAI ICED TEA

Ingredients:

Note: This is one serving. 

Drinking Thai Tea at MAMA NOI Thai Cookery School 
  • 1 TBSP Thai Red Tea
  • 25 ML Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 TSPN Sugar
  • 15 ML Fresh Milk
  • 120 ML Hot Water

Instructions:

  1. Pour hot water over tea leaves in a strainer and let sit for 2-3 minutes
  2. Strain the tea leaves
  3. Mix milk, condensed milk, and sugar with the strained tea
  4. Pour the brew over ice

In the past I would have never gone to a cafe and ordered Thai Tea. My life is forever changed. I wish it were a bit healthier but YOLO. It's so good!. Excited to buy some Thai tea and try this at home. 

For anyone interested in a Thai cooking class while visiting Chiang Mai, I highly recommend MAMA NOI Thai Cookery School. They had everything ready for us, the place was immaculately clean and the transportation to and from the class was highly organized. As soon as we were done with a plate, a pot, a spoon.. whatever, the staff was there to get it out of our way. In the end, they handed us a cookbook of all the Thai dishes they teach. I give MAMA NOI 5 stars. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiang Mai, Elephant Rescue Park

Maybe twenty years ago, my best friends family flew to Thailand for a month and adopted the sweetest 7-year-old boy. I remember his welcome home party like it was yesterday. Robyn had brought me back the most beautiful Thai sarong, one I still use to this day and she told me all about her families travels. Ever since then, I've been dreaming of visiting Thailand. 

I've been planning this trip for the last 4 years, buying the Lonely Planet books, researching on Pinterest and other travel blogs. Chiang Mai and the islands were at the top of my list. The moment I was accepted into Wy_Co (formally known as We Roam) I had one adventure on my mind, an elephant rescue park. 

Before going into cuteness overload, I feel it's important for me to embark all my new elephant knowledge on you. For a second, imagine how you would feel if you had to carry a child on your shoulders for 8-12 hours a day. Exhausted, right? A lot of elephants here in Thailand and other surrounding countries are not treated well and are used for the benefit of the logging industry or tourism. An elephant has to eat 18 hours a day to fill full and can munch on 250KG of veggies, bananas, and plants. They also require a lot of rest. The tourism elephant parks are strictly trying to make money and don't care about the health and well being of their elephants. Very few tourists know and continue to flock to these establishments. The same can be said for Tiger Kingdom where they consistently drug the animals on a daily basis all so we can get a photo with the tiger who would normally EAT YOU!

Several elephants are injured from carrying tourists all day, and when this happens they're injected with steroids so they forget about the injury, causing horrible infections or compound fractures. There are a few rescue parks within the Chiang Mai area who take elephants in from the logging, tourism and the circus industry. Riding is forbidden at these establishments but they do rely on tourism to keep the animals fed and healthy. This is where we decided to go!! 

Elephant Rescue Park, Chaing Mai, Thailand

Elephant Rescue Park offers half day, full day and overnight tours. We opted for the half day which really ended up feeling up being a full 6 hours. They'll pick you up from your hotel and take you 1.5 hours north of Chiang Mai to start the adventure. There we changed into an outfit provided by the park. We were told the elephants would adapt to us faster if we were all in this uniform, due to the fact no one in this outfit has ever harmed them. Our day was spent admiring a 35-year-old female, and three babies (two of which were more like toddlers.) 

Feeding baby elephants at Elephant Rescue Park, Chiang Mai

Our interaction with the elephants started by feeding them two giant laundry baskets of bananas. They saw us coming from a mile away and were already lined up and waiting when we arrived.  You could tell this wasn't their first rodeo. ;-) We all took turns getting to know each one by feeding and loving on them. This was my first time being up close and personal, I was surprised by how rough their skin was and how much hair they had. For whatever reason I had assumed their skin was a bit more velvety. 

Each elephant had a unique personality, the smallest was a little bit shy and never strayed far from the adult and another baby was ready to party. Sitting still was not something he knew how to do and was constantly swaying back and forth like he was a dad at a high school dance. 

35 Year Old Female Elephant at Elephant Rescue Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For an hour or so we hiked up a hill with all 4. What could have been a 10 minute hike was nothing short of an 1.5 hours as they stopped every few feet to graze or roll around. I made the mistake of dumping some of my bottled water down a babies trunk and he blew it back in my face. HA. Kids.

When we reached the bottom of the hill they were lead into the water by their Mahout (This is what they call each elephants keeper/trainer.) Being a 95 degree day, the elephants gladly submerged themselves, feet in the air, rolling around trying to cool off. It was adorable. I was SO tempted to join them. The uniforms they gave us were by no means sweat wicking material. 

Soon enough we were able to join each elephant in a separate pond for a good scrubbing. I took the smallest guy and watched his Mahout go to town. I couldn't believe how hard they took the scrub brush to their skin. OWE! They must have loved it because they were smiling, giving us the same face your dog gives you when you rub his/her belly. It didn't take long for us to become drenched from the chest down. As we were walking out the pond the elephants lined up, almost as if we knew we'd take one last group photo before taking off. 

This experience is one I'd do over and over again. I'm not sure it could ever get old and I'm wishing I would have experienced the elephant rescue park in Cambodia. February 26, 2018, marked a day I'll never forget, and a highlight of my trip abroad. You can't help but feel free, happy and full of life when walking next to a baby elephant. 

This is what we call, living your best life.