The Silom Thai Cooking School is an absolute must for any visitor to Bangkok, regardless of culinary skill! The school runs small classes (only 1-9 people) in traditional open kitchens three times a day and is extremely professionally operated!
Before the class even started I have to praise the school for their amazing welcome email! Details of where to meet the chef for the market tour were extremely detailed and easy to follow by public transport or taxi. They even suggested a leaving time, based on traffic and a letter for your taxi driver in Thai to make sure they get you to the right place! Amazing customer service!
Every class (except evening classes) starts with a guided trip to a local market to buy the fresh ingredients needed. Your chef explains the variety of vegetables, herbs and spices available as well as their uses, differences and substitute items – great for when you get home and can’t source a specific ingredient!
The market was fascinating and really made me wish that there were more fresh markets like this readily available in London! If you have a local grocery, butcher, baker, market etc, make sure you use them to stop them all disappearing!
After filling our baskets with the necessary ingredients, our class walked back to the school to start cooking our 5-course lunch from scratch under the watchful eye of Chef Nam. The first task was to make fresh coconut milk ready for our dishes. The process is relatively straightforward, but takes a bit of effort to squeeze the coconut flesh and water twice to produce cream (first round) and milk (second round)!
For all of the dishes we prepared the ingredients and cooked the dish in less than 30 minutes! We always prepared all the ingredients before we started cooking in the extremely hot woks stationed outside and this means your not panicking over chopping something whilst the wok burns.
Tom Yum Goong ( Spicy sour shrimp Soup)
This soup combines the usual Thai flavours of spicy and sour, that are sure to warm up the coldest of days! Many ingredients are left in large chunks as they are designed to give flavour but not be eaten in the final soup.
The final dish was absolutely delicious and the perfect start to our Thai menu!
Shrimp Pad Thai
Pad Thai is something I ate neary daily from the multitude of Street food vendors in Thailand and I was excited to learn how to cook it as I’m always disappointed by the dish in the UK! The trickiest part is preparing the noodles that have to be soaked before cooking, otherwise its a quick and satisfying meal! (Since being back in the UK I have discovered MAMA instant noodles, which work really well and require no soaking!)
Phaneang Nuea ( Penang Chicken Curry)
This Malaysian curry was extremely quick as we were able to use a red curry paste pre-made. This wasn’t shop bought, but made by an earlier class (our surplus green curry paste would be kept for another class too). The key component that makes it a Penang curry is the inclusion of green beans and chopped peanuts.
Geang Khew Waan Gai (Green Chicken Curry)
Our last dish had two stages preparing the green curry paste from scratch and then making our curry. To make the paste the whole class joined efforts to chop up the various ingredients and pound them in a huge mortar and pestle!
Once the paste was made it can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for a few weeks/month, so the effort is worth it! From there it was simply cooking it altogether in the wok to make a delicious green curry!
Khaw Neaw Ma Muang (Sticky rice and mango)
Our last dish was the infamous dessert of Thailand and the perfect way to end any meal! Although many main dishes aren’t meant to have sugar (although it is often added for tourists tastes) the dessert is a sweet tooth’s dream! The rice is cooked and then mixed with Pandan leaves, coconut milk and lots of sugar to make it sweet. Amazing!
After our final dish, feeling satisfyingly full of amazing dishes, all attendees were presented with a perfect little cookbook! It includes the information on ingredients from the market tour, the components of Thai cooking and recipes for everything we had made and more! The ideal way to end the class!
– always use vegetable oil for Thai cooking.
– if ingredients are left in big chunks, it normally indicates not to eat it as it is only there for flavour ( e.g. ginger, lime leaves).
– many places serve watery curry as it’s quicker to cook, keep stirring it and make it thicker for a nicer curry.
– It’s not Thai if there’s no fish sauce!
– Spend time preparing everything first before you start cooking.
– Cooking from scratch is fun, and it definitely tastes better!
This was one of the best cooking classes I have done anywhere! The level of service from the school was amazing and the instruction/experience was fantastic. I feel confident in making these dishes again, ingredients permitting, and think the value for money was exceptional! The class is the perfect way to experience authentic Thai culture and cuisine and would be my must do for Bangkok!
Cost: 1000 THB each.
Time: approximately 3-4 hours.
Date of Travel: March 2016