On our second day in Chiang Mai, we visited Boonpratana House, a lovely teak house surrounded by gardens. It’s the home of the wonderful Mama Pea and her son Chef Jah. They open their house to cooking classes, as well as weddings and events.
At Boonpratana House, we learned to cook a number of northern Thai dishes under Mama Pea’s guidance. The dishes we made are commonly found at any meal in Northern Thailand, yet are easy enough to cook in our own homes. These are the dishes we made:
We started off with mieng kum, a traditional snack in both Northern Thailand and Laos. The name “mieng kum” means “one-bite wrap.” The wrap is a whole piece of chaphlu leaf, which is sometimes referred to as wild betel in English. The leaf is folded like so, and then filled with shallots, garlic, ginger, lime, dried shrimp, green or red bird’s eye chili, roasted coconut, and unsalted cashews or peanuts. The filling ingredients are chopped so they can fit inside the folded leaf.
Nam prik ong
Nam prik ong is a spicy sauce that’s often used for dipping meat and vegetables. It resembles spaghetti sauce and it’s comforting to eat. This dip is made with tomatoes, lemon grass, dried chili, garlic, shrimp paste, and salt pounded into paste in a mortar. The paste is then cooked with meat—either chicken or pork.
We’ve got to have som tam. Som tam, as most of us know, is Thai papaya salad. As its name indicates, its main ingredient is unripe papaya. We pounded the papaya in a mortar with chilies, fish sauce, lime, palm sugar, and other ingredients.
Pad kee mow or drunken noodles
The next dish we made was pad kee mow, also known as drunken noodles. This is a stir-fry noodle dish using rice noodles, which we cooked with onions, long beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, and bamboo shoots. We also used Thai holy basil in this version. You can cook this noodle dish using chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp.
The last dish we made was khao soi. It’s a curry-like soup dish whose base contains red chilies, yellow curry powder, lemongrass, white peppercorn, turmeric, and coconut milk. We made khao soi with chicken, then topped it with crispy fried egg noodles.
Bonus: bua loy
Bua loy is a soupy dessert. We didn’t exactly cook it ourselves, though. Rather, we helped Mama Pea make it by rolling mixtures of purple yam flour and yellow yam flour with sticky rice flour into little balls of dough. Mama Pea then boiled these in sugar and coconut milk.
This is, hands down, one of the most memorable cooking classes we’ve had. Thank you so much, Mama Pea and Chef Jah, for welcoming us in your home.
You definitely need to stop by Boonpratana House on your visit to Chiang Mai.
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