In stride with my goal to take a cooking class in every Asian country I visit, I knew I would have to find a cooking class in Bangkok. And after spotting their rave reviews on Trip Advisor as well as an enthusiastic review from a close friend, I settled on Silom Thai Cooking School for my introduction to cooking Thai food.
Wet Market Tour
The morning begun by meeting our adorable instructor, Mai, outside the local wet market. I loved how she took the time to explain the difference between ingredients- by 10 am I had already learned about everything from identifying mushrooms to levels of curry spiciness by color.
Yellow curry paste, red curry paste, green curry paste. Mai taught us that red is the spiciest but personally green is my favorite!
Learning How to Cook Thai Food
Next we walked to the cooking school which I have to commend for its cute design as well as being clean, well-organized and spacious.
We began the class by washing all of the produce we had just purchased. Among the familiar (tomatoes, plantains, limes) were some new ingredients like yellowgrass and Thai eggplant.
The first lesson of the day was how to make coconut milk which was surprisingly laborious. You take shredded coconut, soak it in water and then squeeze it into a sieve. After you repeat the process a few times you have coconut milk!
Our adorable instructor, Mai.
Making coconut milk from shredded coconut.
I loved having a local teacher because she taught us so many little cultural quirks about Thailand. “We put sugar in everything,” admitted Mai with a smile. Which may explain my slight aversion to Thai food, ahem…
As we squeezed the water out of the shredded coconut, she told us. “Good food take time, no?”
And when asked to explain how Thai people eat such rich food and stay slim, she replied, “Thai people no fat because chili and tamarind paste make you digest quickly.”
Other fun fact of the day- apparently kaffir lime keeps your hair from greying and can be used as a toilet deodorizer. Who knew?
Learning how to grind chili paste which apparently is how you tell if you will be a good wife or not in Thailand!
Something I noticed about Thai food was that the preparation for each dish is long, but the actual cooking time is quite short. Each of the dishes we made was on the flame for no more than one of two minutes. As I learned in Hong Kong, using a wok speeds things up considerably!
Here were the five courses we made.
First course: Chicken in coconut milk (tom kah gai)
Chicken with cashew nut (gai pad med mamuang). Personal thoughts? Meh. Fried fish cake (thod mun pla) with homemade sweet chili sauce. My favorite dish of the day! Red curry with chicken (kaeng ped gai). By the time we had this I was so full I could barely touch it!
The dessert. Which I can't remember the name of but it had banana and was delicious.
Overall I loved Silom. Aside from the wonderful instructor, I loved how the class included so many personal touches like giving us a recipe book at the end of all the recipes we had made. One word of advice- do not eat breakfast the day of the cooking class as you'll be absolutely stuffed by the end!
Even though I'm far from a Thai food convert, I still enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how to make Thai food at home.
Have you ever taken a Thai cooking class?
Many thanks to Silom for the complimentary cooking class. I have truly never had such a warm and helpful instructor so thanks especially to Mai for her patience with us!
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