Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sailors Thai Cookery Lessson

On Saturday I took a cookery lesson at Sailors Thai and it was absolutely fantastic! I loved the entire experience and have taken away a lot of knowledge about Thai food and the recipes we cooked.

The Sailors Thai website has very little information about the cookery courses, not giving away many clues about what you might be doing. I was expecting a practical element with us being shown through three or four recipes and then we'd have a go at cooking one or more of them in smaller groups.

What we got was more of an educational session about Thai food. The instructors spoke a lot about all of the ingredients that we were using, the techniques for preparing them, sourcing good ingredients and the cooking methods involved. Initially I was a bit disappointed that we wouldn't be doing more cooking. But the end result is that I know a lot more about Thai food than I did before the course.

Our first dish was a Thai green chicken curry, which you can see me helping out with above. It was interesting to hear that the restaurant use a mincer to process their pastes. The volumes that they make aren't practical in a pestle and mortar and a food processor just doesn't cut the mustard. We also discussed making fresh coconut cream and milk. I'm inspired to give it a go at home!

Cooking the curry was amazingly involved. We spent well over and hour frying off the paste to bring out all of the flavours. Below you can see the finished curry being plated up.

Our second dish was a Thai beef salad. This was probably the simplest dish of the day. We BBQ'd some marinade rump steak before slicing it and adding it to a herb salad. The dressing was a mix of lime juice, fish sauce and chilli. Describing the salad it sounds so simple and achievable at home. But will my palate allow me to balance all those flavours? We adjusted the dressing about three times to get it just right.

The final main was a deep fried fish salad. The most interesting element of this dish was the dressing, for which we made a syrup of tamarind water and fish sauce. Making the syrup is one of the elements that I'd be least confident to re-create at home.

For dessert we had black sticky rice, thickened coconut cream and caramalised coconut. The freshly made thickened coconut cream was the star of this dish for me. It brought a lovely sweetness and flavour to compliment the rice.

The team at Sailors Thai are clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about Thai food. They were both welcoming and generous, imparting a lot of knowledge to all of us over the four and a half hours that we were there.

If I was allowed to have one criticism it would be that the recipe notes that they gave us are pretty shocking, but I made lots of scribbles during the morning which should give me enough to cook the dishes at home.

All of my photos from the morning are here.


  1. Sounds like an informative class Richard, it's good that they explain the ingredients rather than just get you to follow some recipes. It gives you some appreciation of Thai food so you could recreate it at home with ease. Good work

  2. sounds great. i have relatives coming up from Melbourne this weekend and they want to try the food at Sailors Thai Canteen for lunch. is there anything you'd particularly recommend trying? :-)

  3. @Simon - I think all the food is lovely so you should really enjoy whatever you eat.

    I'd recommend:
    - A curry. There is some serious love that goes into those things.
    - The papaya salad. I haven't tasted the Sailors Thai verison, but this is my favourite Thai dish.

  4. I'm expecting some thai green curry then when you come to brisvegas to visit!

  5. @ Penne - I'm going to try a batch next weekend. Depending on the success I might bring some up to BrisVegas with me. It's pretty complex!!