Tag Archives: Silom Thai Cooking School

Cooking Thai 101—Real Thai Pad Thai

LFW with instructor Awesome Jay!

LFW with instructor Awesome Jay

It’s no secret that at LFW we love, love, Thai food and Pad Thai is the ultimate ‘street food’ in Bangkok. My main complaint with Aussie Pad Thai was that it didn’t seem to have much taste—just a bit sweet and fragrant and that was it. But, after a visit to the Silom Thai Cooking School in Bangkok, I now know that it’s because a number of places in Australia omit Tamarind paste (and possibly chilli) from the recipe—perhaps for Australian taste—who knows? Anyway, here’s our fabulous Silom Pad Thai direct from Thailand and under the tutelage of Mr Awesome Jay.

Tip! Ready-made Tamarind paste can be bought from good Asian delis or supermarkets. At the school we had to grind and mix our own but the paste is much easier.




Real Thai Pad Thai (serves 2 – 3)

Silom School Pad Thai

Silom School Pad Thai

What you need: ½ packet Thai rice noodles, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 2 tablespoons Tamarind paste, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 shallot (spring onion) sliced on the diagonal, wedge of fresh lime, 1 small Bird’s Eye chilli (this is HOT!), 3 cloves crushed garlic, 4 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon ground peanuts (optional), ground pepper to taste, and some protein—either fish or tiger prawns, chicken, or tofu.

Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken Pad Thai

What you do:

Soak the noodles in warm water while preparing the other ingredients, making sure the noodles are fully covered with the water. By the time you put the noodles in the wok they should be soft but not mushy.

Pour the oil in the wok and heat on a high heat. Drain the noodles and add to the wok and stir, then add tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, and chilli. Stir well. If there is too much sauce in the wok, turn up the heat.

Push the noodles to one side and crack the egg into the wok and scramble until almost cooked, then fold into the noodles which should now be soft and chewy, then add the protein and toss gently until cooked.

Pour onto a serving plate and sprinkle with the chopped shallot, bean sprouts, and ground pepper, and serve with the peanuts and a wedge of lime on the side.

Veggie Pad Thai

Veggie Pad Thai

Cooking Thai 101—Thai Fish Cakes

We’ve been a bit tardy with the Thai recipes (promised in December—yes, that long ago), but before we start, we’ll recap with a visit to our earlier post on Cooking Thai 101 where we outlined the basics you need in your kitchen before you start your adventure with cooking Thai food.

Thai fish cakes with hot sour sauce

Thai fish cakes with hot sour sauce (see recipe below)

One of our fave Thai foods is Thai Fish Cakes and part of our sojourn into authentic Thai cooking—with Silom Thai Cooking School—was to learn how to make them, and surprisingly, they’re not as tricky as you might think. So grab your ingredients and your wok or frypan and Let’s Cook Thai!

Thai Fish Cakes (serves 2 – 3)

What you need: 500 grams finely chopped white fish such as ling or mahi-mahi, or you can use salmon steaks, 5 kaffir lime leaves rolled and cut into thin strips, 1 tablespoon red curry paste, 1 teaspoon good quality Asian fish sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 2 long beans or large green beans thinly sliced on the diagonal, 1 egg, and oil for frying. We choose to shallow fry in coconut oil but any good quality vegetable oil will do.

What you do: In a large bowl mix all ingredients together by hand, then take two tablespoon of mixture and shape into small flat patties. Heat oil and fry patties until golden brown turning once. And that’s it! Serve with dipping sauce and a crisp Asian salad.

Thai fish cakes with crisp salad

Thai fish cakes with crisp salad


Thai chilli dipping sauce (well you can’t have Thai food without chillies, can you?)

What you need: 5 – 10 finely minced bird chillies (these are really HOT, so if you’re a Thai novice, start with 5 or 6 and be very careful when chopping, and don’t forget to scrub the chopping board in hot water afterwards!), 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, ½ cup good quality Asian fish sauce, 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice* (not out of a bottle), and 1 tablespoon refined brown sugar

What you do: Combine all ingredients together and mix well—this is best done in a jar with a sealed lid so you can give it a really good shake, then set aside for 10 minutes, then shake again. Repeat until the sugar has dissolved and store in the fridge. The sauce will keep for a couple of weeks.


Thai hot sour sauce

What you need: 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce (see above), 2 tablespoons crushed unsalted peanuts, and 2 small cucumbers peeled and sliced.

What you do: in a jar, mix together the vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, chilli sauce and peanuts and shake well. Pour into a small bowl and add the sliced cucumber. Serve immediately.

*And, here’s Awesome Jay’s tip on squeezing limes. Cut your limes in half and squeeze the lime while running it against the flat rim of a knife (not the sharp side) over a small bowl. The lime juice will run down the knife and into the bowl—voila, no mess, no lime pulp, and no lime all over your hands. Cool eh?


Recipes and tips courtesy Silom Thai Cooking SchoolCooking school

Cooking Thai 101 – the essentials!

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Here at LFW we love, love, love Thai food—it’s fresh, simple, and über tasty; so on our recent visit we booked into the Silom Thai Cooking School and learnt how to cook up a storm! By Aine Dowling

Cooking schoolWe met up with our class, and teacher ‘Awesome Jay’ (yes, that’s his name), at a local market to select our veggies and herbs for the day. The market is an assault on the senses—from the aroma of herbs and spices, through textures of the fruits and vegetables, to the burst of colours with bright red and green chillies, and summer yellow mangoes and bananas which smell absolutely divine!

Selecting veggies and herbs at the market

Selecting veggies and herbs at the market

Awesome Jay lived up to his name. He had the honour of representing Thailand on MasterChef Singapore and he is a terrific chef! He’s funny and really knows about cooking Thai. In all the dishes we were given the option of adding our own chilli, or not, if we didn’t like spicy food. Jay’s chillies had four rankings: 1 chilli = chilli taste, 2 chillies = hot chilli, 3 chillies = rumbling volcano, and 4 chillies (you really have to be able to cope with the heat to try this) = KAMBOOM!

Our first task was to create our own coconut milk by pouring warm water onto fresh shredded coconut and squeezing it through a sieve. There were eight of us in the class and we had to make enough for two of the dishes and the dessert. We also made our own green curry paste from scratch and we all had to take a turn at pounding the large mortar and pestle to grind the chilli and spices, and learnt a new way to squeeze limes!  Our individual cooking stations included a gas burner, a wok and utensils, and a serving plate. After each dish we moved to small dining tables to eat and comment on the food.

Chillies. Image by LFW

Chillies. Image by LFW

Cooking Thai 101 is the first in a series of our trip to Thailand, and we’ll be posting some recipes and pics in a later blog, but one thing we did learn are the 10 must haves for good Thai cooking so we’ll start with getting these into your kitchen before we do the recipes.

Ten Thai kitchen basics with Awesome Jay!

Awesome Jay explaining spices

Awesome Jay explaining spices


Cooking Oil: Vegetable oil such as corn, palm kernel, and sunflower is used in all Thai cooking. Other oils may have a more defined taste and aroma that may affect the final product.

Thai Fish Sauce: known in Thai as nam pla, this seasoning is made from fermenting fish with salt. It should contain only anchovies, salt and water and it’s very strong and salty so use it sparingly! It’s essential in only some dishes.

Thai Curry Paste: even in Thailand many cooks buy (and use) premade curry pastes. Red and green varieties can be found at well-stocked Asian supermarkets and should include galangal, lemongrass, and coriander root. Obviously green is made with green chillies, and red with red chillies.



Coconut Milk: used in Thai curries, fresh coconut milk is made by rinsing the oils out of coconut flesh with warm water and squeezing out the milk. Canned coconut milk is an easy option and widely available from supermarkets.

Rice: sticky rice, also called glutinous rice, is the staple in north and northeast Thailand and is often used in desserts. Jasmine rice is a staple in much of the country.

Chillies: fresh and dried chillies provide heat in Thai food. Fresh cayenne chilies are used in curries, and fiery-hot Thai bird chillies in sauces and stir-fries. Fresh chillies will keep in the fridge for up to a week or you can store in the freezer.

Limes: give a tart lift to grilled meats, salads and fried rice. Kaffir lime leaves are mostly used to give a floral, citrusy aroma to curries and soups.

Shallots and Garlic: Shallots (spring onions) are chopped and often used to decorate dishes or added to salads to provide a bit of crunch and bite. Garlic is crushed or minced and then tossed into hot oil with the other spices and before the stir-fry ingredients.

Lemongrass: is included in many Thai dishes and used only for flavour—not for eating.

Fresh Herbs: including cilantro (coriander), mint, Thai basil, and Vietnamese coriander add distinctive flavours to everything from salads to curries to fried rice. Thai basil has a nice sweet anise flavour but can be hard to find so substitute regular basil.

Watch this space for more to come!

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