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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monkeys Pot Sweets ขนม หมอแกงลิง

Khanom Hmor Gaeng Ling ขนม หม้อแกงลิง

mor ling mor khang carnivorous plant - thai sweets

thai sweets - Khanom Morling Morkhang

khanom thai - carnivorous plant sweet

ขนมไทย หม้อข้างหม้อลิง
The finished recipe looks like this; crispy outside,soft and creamy inside.

Thanks to Koh Lanta Ko Lanta dot com for this Recipe

MorGaeng Ling (Or Mor Gaeng Mor Khang in Lanta island terminology) is a carnivourous plant that eats insects by trapping them in it’s jug-like protuberances. It is to be found on Koh Lanta ever more rarely.It was a traditional sweet that previous generations on Lanta island ate often.Before the advent of tourism, the locals of Koh Lanta (or Ko Lanta as an alternative spelling),did not have many shops on the island to buy premade products, such as cookies etc.Instead they made their specialities from the things they found from the natural enviroment around them.Mr. Baw, best friend of the author of, is a perfect example of how a Kohlanta-islander survives without the need for money exchanging hands too often.Trade and barter is a common occurence, and many tasks are completed using the things one has at hand from Mother Nature.”Khanom Mor Ling Mor Khang” is a wonderful example of how simple Thai people are able to make luxurious and enjoyable things to consume without the need to go to great expense. The simple people of Kohlanta can teach us how a quality lifestyle can be lived without the need for unthriftiness. Khanom Morling Morkhang (Or Mor Ganeg Ling to be more precise according to general terminology off the island), is the name given to the sweetmeat that is made from this carnivourous plant that is still being collected prepared and eaten by Mr. Baw and his family (including the author of this website - this sweet is so delicious it is unimaginable that anyone might not like it).A type of “Khanom” (meaning “sweets”), made from freshly grated coconut flesh and coconut-milk made by passing the inside of a half-nut over a round shaped grinding machine.The machine scrapes the flesh off the inside wall of the shell leaving itextremely finely grated.
This is then simmered with sugar and mixed with sticky rice, which is stuffed into the inside of the jug-like like nodule of the plant.Lots of coconut milk is poured into each one till full to the brim.Then the sweets are steamed slowly, until the soft chewy coconut-cream tasting sticky rice filling, and crispy light green-yellow container wrapping the sticky rice is ready to be eaten.
The plants found for the Photos in this article were found and prepared by Mr. Baw and his family.
Please read Mr. Baw’s diary elsewhere on this website.

Picture left - Preparing the Morling Morkhang by filling the plant with sticky rice, coconut milk (กะทิ), and grated coconut flesh.

kolanta traditional home made sweets - morling morkang

Fotos by Spencer Littlewood - cook in fotos “Ree” (Mr. Baw’s wife).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fried Snapper fish in "red sauce"

Red sauce is a "pour-over" sauce, used to enhance the flavour of the fis, and is quite a common preference in Thailand to use this with fish recipes. You can vary thespicyness of this sauce, depending on your taste and tolerance. For those who dont like a strong taste of fish, a little more chilli will reduce the effect bof fishiness.For my tatses, snapper is a very non fishy tasting kind of fish, and has such a clean fine wonderful white flaky flesh to it that the mouth just waters thinking about it. A bit like haddock maybe.This dish can be served with boiled rice, or on its own as an hor d'hoevre too, even with plain rice soup it is delicious.

Snapper fish - 500gm, belly pork - 100gm, 3 dried wood mushrooms, 300gms of Morning Glory plant (leaves not flowers), grated ginger (1/2 a cup). Finely sliced red chillies (or capsicum if you dont like spicy), 1 tablespoon of diced garlic, 1 tablesp[oon of sugar, 2 teblespoons of oyster sauce, 1 teblespoon og maggi or golden mountain seasoning sauce.
2 tablespoons of cornflour or flour, white pepper (1/2 teaspoon), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and one cup of stock water. (also of course some vegetable oil for frying).

Preparation Method;\
rub the white pepper and salt over the fishmeatdip in the oil and flour and put on one side to marinate.
Slice the belly pork into thin slices. Take the morning glory, and select the youngest freshest sprigs, and wash them well. As for the wood mushrooms; soak them in tepid water until they swell and become soft to the middle when you squeeze them, and then slice them into small slices too. Cut the skin off the ginger root, wash it and slice it into thin fine slices (as if grated - you can grate it if you like but it will become mushy). Put the wok on the stove and heat the oil until it smokes a little. Add the fish and fry until it attains a golden color and looks crispy.The take the fish out and put to the side (you can use some kitchen paper to remove the extra fat if you like to slim). Fry the morning glory in the same oil and place on a plate to one side too. Add the garlic and fry till it is golden and has a wonderful aroma, add the belly pork, mushrooms, and fry unitl they are cooked - add the stock.

Add the oyster sauce, seasoning sauce, and sugar, fry until they all mix together - taste it to see if it has the right flavour (it should be slightly sweet/salty), and the cornflour should be well dissolved in the gravy.
thaifoodStir fry a little more to bring to the boiling point - once bubbling, pour it over the piece of fish and morning glory, and sprinkle the ginger, and red pepper/chilli/capsicum, anmd serve immediately whilst still sizzling!

Bittergourd and spare rib soup


This Chinese influenced Thai soup recipe should use the soft, gristle pieces of bone from the pig, so that when it is well boiled, the bones will be soft and chewable.The harder pieces opf bone on the spare rib serve to add flavourto the stock.

If you don't like bittergourd, then you can use pumpkin or courgette, or even fresh bamboo shoot if you like.the bittergourd should be soake preferably in rock sugar not table sugar, because it will have a bore even balanced flavour to the soup broth.

The other essential ingredient to this soup is "hed Horm" (chinese wood mushrooms), which lend a superior aroma to the broth, permeating it with a wholesome savoury flavour.


Pork Bones (preferably spare ribs with the cartilage still connected - 500g.
Bittergourd 1kg, or 2 medium ones
6 dried Chinese wood mushrooms
4 coriander roots, one Tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of "Gao Gii" (เก๋ากี้)
and some water for soaking.

Preparation method;

Take the dried mushrooms and soak in tepid water until they swell open (unless you are using fresh ones, in which case you can clean them straight away).After this, take the bittergourd, slice it longways in half and remove the pith from the middle.Cut it then into relatively large chunks.Bring the water to boil in a pan, and add one tablespoon of salt to it adding the bittergourd once the water is boiling.the water should cover the bittergourd; you should not put a lid on the pan.Let the bittergourd boin for about 20 minutes, and remove the water from the pan - then pour fresh cool water on the bittergourd and put the vegetable on a plate to wait for the next stage.

Next, bring a new pan of water to the boil, add the coriander root, pork ribs, 1 tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of rock sugar. Whilst the soup is simmering, carefully remove the foam from the bone that builds on the surface of the broth. after maybe 20 minutes, you can add the bittergourd and the mushrooms to the broth, and simmer until both the bittergourd and the bones are soft. Add the soy sauce, and test to see if the flavour is to one's taste, adding more soysauce if necessary (or sugar if you feel it should be sweeter).
Serve in a steaming bowl.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Khi Hlek

Gaeng Khi Hlek Nuea Yaang
(Khi Hlek means "Rust" so "Rust tree" - actually literally tranlsated it means "iron shit" but the word shit is used to accentuate many other words, and does not only refer to excement - the real word for rust is "Sanim", in Thai).
I love Gaeng Khee Hlek i- it has a slightly bitter taste which is complemented by the creamy sweet coconut milk ad the juicy Roasted Beef (Nuea Yaang means barbecued beef). This is not to be found in Farang Restaurants or resorts, as the muddy brown look of it is perhaps disagreeable to many first time visitors to Thailand.. I myself remember years ago riding a bus to Surat thani my first day in Thailand and we stopped at a roadside canteen.. i remember seeing wehat then looked like a load of murky looking curries with seemingly dubious things in them. I now thrive on the less aestheastically pleasing to the eye dishes, as i find, after having tried them, that they are amongst the tastiest of all! Tha's why you often see the Thais on the street eating things you can't imagine what have in them, and would be afraid to try. Many of these recipes look uninviting but blow your tastebuds off if you dare to go for it!Gaeng Khi Hlek is one of these recipes.


Seasoning Mix;
500 gms Beef
4 cups of Khi Hlek leaves (Cassod tree, Siamese senna, Thai copperpod, Siamese cassia)
Coconut milk 1 kilogram, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 4 tablespoons of Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)

Curry Mixture;
7 Large dried chilies and 20 Small "Khi Hnuu" chilies - 4 tablesoons of Lemon Grass
1 tablespoon of white Pepper and 4 tablespoons of Garlic cloves - 10 disc shaped slices of fresh cumin root, 2 tablespoons of red Thai schallot onions, 2 tablespoons of Galangal root in slices
a tablespoon or so of finely shredded Kaffir lime leaves, some "Gabpi" (กะปิ hai shrimp paste), and some salt.

Preparation method;
1.Pound the "Prik Gaeng" (seasoning) ingredients together preferably in a mortar and pestle (This is called a "Krok" in Thai; you can buy Krok Thai on this site through amazon), until a paste is formed).
2.Boil the Khi Hlek leaves until they lose their bitterness, then leave them to soak in the water.
3. Take the coconut and "Kan" it (คัน - a machine is used to grate the coconut flesh ending up with the milk, and cream as 2 separate products) - resulting in 4 cups of coconut cream/milk and some coconut flesh too. You can use maybe 4 small cartons of coconut milk or a mix milk and cream 60/40 .. available in most asian stores in your area or if not can use one of the links on this blog to order from
4. Take the beef which you have hopefully already grilled to a juicy texture and appearance, and slice it into bite sized slices. Take the thick cream off the coconut milk and simmer it in the pan until the fat breaks, and add the Prik gaeng (curry seasoning paste which you made in the 'Krok"), sauteeing it lightly until a fine aroma is produced.At this point you should add the roast/grilled/barbecued beef and stir fry for a minute or so..
Add the thin part of the coconut milk (called "Haang Gati" - หางกะทิิ), and bring to the boil, and add the Khi Hlek leaves. Then add the thin part of the coconut milk (called "Haang Gati" - หางกะทิิ), and bring to the boil gently simmering for a while.
Then add the thick creamy part of the coconut milk (called "Hua Gati" - หัวกะทิ); once the Gaeng is boilingfor a few minutes, add the sugar and Nam Pla (fish sauce - น้ำปลา) - test it to check if it
is salty-sweet enough (gaeng Khi Hlek should have a savoury, salty taste with a sweetness to it in the sauce)

Khi Hlek tree has been proven to have a negative effect on the liver in casers of Hepatitis sufferers, so please eat in moderation if you have a bad liver. Khi Hlek is reputed to help ypou to sleep if eat and follow down with some warm water before sleeping. Also good for if you have a stuffed somach and constipated.
Below are some links to sites that have info on Khi Hlek, and it's availability

Important Documents on the medicinal properties of Bai Khi Hlek

1. Thongsaard W, Dedachapunya C, Showpittapornchai U. Effects of subacute administration of barakol on liver and kidney function in rats. The 3rd World Congress on Medicinal Plant and Aromatic Plants for Human Welfare, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 3-7 Feb 2003.

2. Murakami A, Kondo A, Nakamura Y, Ohigashi H, Koshimizu K. Possible anti-tumor promoting properties of edible plants from Thailand, and identification of an active constituent, cardamonin, of Boesenbergia pandurata. Biosci Biotech Biochem 1993; 57(11):1971-3.

3. Permtermsin C, Chaichanthipyuth C, Lipipun V, et al. Evaluation of cytotoxic effect of barakol on P19 embryonal carcinoma cell. Thai J Pharm Sci 2002;Vol 26(suppl.):29.

Khee Lek can also be made with a variety ofm other ingredients such as fish or pork.


ใบอ่อนและดอกขี้เหล็กต้มสุก 2 ถ้วย
เนื้อวัวติดมันนิดหน่อย 2 ขีด
มะพร้าวขูด 1/2 กิโลกรัม
หัวกะทิ 1 ถ้วย
หางกะทิ 2 ถ้วย
น้ำปลาร้าต้มสุก 1/4 ถ้วย
น้ำตาลปีบ 1 ช้อนโต๊ะ
น้ำปลา 3 ช้อนโต๊ะ
น้ำพริกแกงคั่ว 3 ช้อนโต๊ะ

หมายเหตุ เนื้อวัวที่ใช้ให้เอามาย่างแบบน้ำตกแล้วหั่นชิ้นพอคำ


1. ผัดหัวกะทิครึ่งถ้วยให้แตกมัน แล้วใส่น้ำพริกแกงคั่ว ผัดให้หอมและแตกมันอีกครั้ง
2. ค่อยๆ ใส่หางกะทิ เอาน้ำปลาร้าใส่ พอเดือดใส่ใบและดอกขี้เหล็ก
3. เคี่ยวจนผักนุ่ม ปรุงรสด้วยน้ำตาลปีบ น้ำปลา ใส่เนื้อย่าง หัวกะทิที่เหลือคนให้เข้ากัน ตักใส่ถ้วย เสิร์ฟ

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Khao Soi - Northern Thailand Noodle Soup

Khao Soi
Many travellers to Thailand's Northern Provinces aquire a taste for the seemingly defty thick noodle soup known as "Khao Soi". Khao Soi is a thick, reddish-orange opaque soup with noodles and chicken. It has an extremely tangy zing to it, and one of the high points is the sprinkling of additional fresh raw vegetables, pickles and spices to the dish yourself after being served.
Many Farang i meet in bangkok who are fresh out of Chiang Mai ask me where they can get some "Khao Soi",and mention thaqt they will miss it when they return home.
So i thought i should publish the recipe for all of you who are away from Thailand and need a dose of Khao Soi!

400 grams of chicken breast
1 pack of egg noodles (Sen Mee - เส้นหมี่่)
1 sachet/can pickled mustard green
2 Tablespoons of red curry paste
1 Tablespoon of curry paste
2 Tablespoons of thin soy sauce, or fish sauce (Nam Pla)
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1/4 cup of ginger
1/4 cup of sliced shallot onions (Hua Horm Daeng)
1 sprig Coriander
1 can coconut cream
3 cups of water
1/2 cup of soya oil for deep-frying
2 Tablespoon of oil for stir-frying

Preparation for the stock
Slice and wash the chicken breast, clean and dice the ginger root, cut into small pieces and grind it up in the mortar with the pestle (pestle and mortar are called "Saak" and "Krok" respectively in that order). Add the red curry paste to the Krok (ครก), and grind it in with the ginger root until well mixed.

Heat oil (for stir-frying) in athe "Gata" (wok) on medium heat. When the oil is hot and smoking, add the "Prik gaeng" (paste you made in the mortar), and stir whilst frying until an aroma is present. Add the chicken breast slices, stirring constantly, add some curry powder, and stir thoroughly.

Divide about 1/4 cup coconut cream (top portion of a can) in a small bowl. Add coconut milk about 1/4 cup at a time in curry paste, stir constantly until chicken breast is cooked, then add the rest of coconut milk.

Let the mixture simmer about 10 minutes, add water, season with thin soy sauce (or fish sauce), and sugar. Bring the mixture to boil and remove from heat.
Preparation for curry sauce: Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes, add water, season, bring to boil and remove from heat

Preparation for side serving
Peel shallot, wash dirt, and cut into small dices. For pickled mustard, rinse, and slice into small pieces

Pour 3 cups water in a pot, bring to boil on high heat, then add pickled mustard, and let it boil about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, place in a bowl, add about 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and mix thoroughly.
Preparation for side serving: Boil water, add pickled mustard, boil for 10 minutes, drain, rinse in cold water, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and mix thoroughly

Pour 5 cups water in a pot, bring to boil on high heat, separate egg noodle loosely then add into boiled water, and boil until the noodles cook. Drain and rinse in cold water. Then add about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, and mix thoroughly so they don't stick together.
Preparation for side serving: Boil water, separate the egg noodles loosely then add into boiled water until cook. Drain and rinse in cold water. Then add about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, and mix thoroughly

Heat oil about 3 Tbsp in a wok on medium heat. When oil is hot, add 1 Tbsp grounded red chillies, and fry about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preparation for side serving: Heat oil, add 1 Tbsp grounded red chillies, and fry about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside
Heat oil about 1/2 cup in a wok on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add about 1/2 ball of egg noodles (disentangle them first), and deep-fry until golden brown and crisp. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel.

Heat divided coconut cream in a microwave about 1 minute. Wash coriander, and chop the leavesfinely for sprinkling over the soup when serving..

Put the egg noodles in a bowl, pour curry sauce, add sliced pickled mustard and diced shallots, top with crispy egg noodles, coriander, and coconut cream. Serve hot with a piece of lime and chilli oil.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Tom Kloeng Pla Grorb - Crispy fish soup

Tom Kloeng Pla Grorb - Spicy Sour soup with crispy fish.
I thought i would introduce one of the lesser known recipes now that the blog is beginning to take shape

Tom Kloeng Pla Grorb is a spicy, sour-tasting soup, some recipes prefer to use young tamarind leaf, others use the flower of the Tamarind tree.This assists in lending a more sour taste and special aroma to the soup.Th crispy fish adds a sweet taste and a smoky aroma to the dish. If you cant find Pla Grorb (a kind of fried or smoked dried fish), you can use some other kind of fish if you like. ( i recommend a smoked fish as this is part of the taste of the soup.
Pla Grorb 8 units (8 dried fish)
6 Tomatoes
6 hom daeng (red small Thai shallots)
200gms straw mushrooms
3 lemongrass stalks
6 Kaffir lime leaves
4 pieces of Galangal root, sliced into oval slices
8 small dried chillies
1/2 a cup of fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon of sugar
4 tablespoons of lemon juice (lime juice if you can)
6 tablespoons of Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)
3 cups of stock
save some coriander for decoration when serving.

Preparation method;

1.Roast the pla grorb on the stove for a few minutes to give them aroma, and place to one side.(you can roast them in a dry fryingpan/wok, or even grill or in the oven. In Thailand, most households have an earthen barbeque pot for making charcoal barbeque with.This is what is used to roast the fish with.
2.wash and chop the tomatoes, likewise wash the straw mushrooms thoroughly and slice into halves
3.take the shallots and dried chillies and dry-roast them in the "grata" (grata is the name for the wok-like frying pan used) with a little salt, and place to one side for the moment.
4.put the stock in a saucepan along with the Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal root, chillies and hom daeng shallots, mushrooms and coriander.
5. once boiling, add the pla grorb and tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce. Switch the heat of and add the lemon/lime juice, whilst stirring continually to make sure the mixture binds.
Serve with some fresh coriander to garnish.
(if you don't like coriander leaf, then you can use parsley as a substitute).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mama! The world of Instant Noodles

Thai Instant Noodles

Mamais the colloquial phrase used to mean instant noodles. In fact, "Mama" is the name of maybe the most successful brand of instant noodle in Thailand, and has become such an institution here, that people say "Mama", even if they mean "Wai Wai" or "Quik" brand! - whatever the case, instant noodles are as common as Coca Cola here. I must admit that i spent the first few years here only tryuing the "Mama" brand, thinking that they must be the best, as they seemed so popular and well known. These days, i have different brands for different recipes that i like.If i want to eat white vermicelli (bamee sen Mee) in clear soup, then i go for the Mama brand, but if i wish to eat "Phad Chaa" ( a dry noodle, with chili and basil leaf, quite spicy), then i go for Wai Wai Noodles

Mama brand Thai instant chan clear soup - 10 packs

The importance of Instant Noodles in Southeast Asia

When flooding is rife, when people are stuck on an island because boats can't take the people off in the storm, when poverty strikes - so many situations depend on the existence of "Mama" noodles, as well as a few other not so important seeming, but equally necessary for survival items (such as "Pla Grapong - tinned mackerel). When no fresh food is available for whatever reason, instant noodles are distributed to the affected parties , along with of course fresh water, candles, lighters and tinned fish (Canned mackerel in tomatoe sauce), rice.I myself have experienced poverty here ( i lived for ten days with 300 baht once which is less than 10 dollars!). If there were no instant noodles, i could not have lived so cheaply. A packet of instant noodles here costs only 6 baht (written July 2008). so in principle if you aren't too fat (i am slim), you can live on 3 bowls a day, which adds up to 18 baht! Poor people in the country rely on these products to fill their bellies every day. if you have 2 dollars a day to live on then you aren't going to spend it on one mean in an "Aharn Dtam Sang" shop (food made to order street restaurant), where it will cost you anything from 20 to 50 baht, depending on how you order.

Apart from the Cultural and economical facets of the story of Instant noodles in Thailand, and the fact that they are so dirt cheap, it is also true to say that instant noodles are absolutely delicious! There are so many different flavours now, maybe 100 or more - and about 5 main brand names. In this article i shall try to cover all the pssible brands and flavours i can find over the next weeks - meaning that you must return to this post to see the new info i add as i go along (as i do with most posts actually.)

Buy Instant Noodles Online Now!

Mama Clear soup Vermicelli! this has a real authentic texture to the noodle, they are almost the same as fresh noodles! the clear soup is a porky taste and apart from the stock powder provided, has garlic oil in the sachets inside the packet, which add a really fantastic tang to the taste of the soup. It also has some white pepper in the mixture, so be prepared for a peppery taste, but it isn't so hot that you break out in a sweat.This is one of my favourites when i am a bit low on power and feel a little ill, this clear soup really boosts my energy when i feel weak, and helps me to get my appetite back. Mama Sen Mee Nam sai(clear soup vermicelli) , is a meal that you can eat Instant noodles are quick and easy to make, and are perfect for that in-between-meal snack to keep you going until dinner time,. without leaving you so full that you can't eat later. The massive array of flavours and brands available boggles the mind, leaving one indecisive about which of them one should eat this time !

Phad Thai Thai Kitchen Noodle Cart, Pad Thai, 2.25-Ounces (Pack of 12)
Rice Noodles (Rice, Water), Seasoning Packet (Pure Cane Sugar, Tamarind, Soybean Sauce (Dried) [Water, Soybeans, Salt, Corn Starch, Maltodextrin], Shallot (Dried), Salt, Onion Flavor (Dried) [Onion, Soybean Oil], Silicon Dioxide [to Prevent Caking], Green Onions (Dried), Chili (Dried), Garlic (Dried), Paprika, Pepper, Oil Packet (Soybean Oi).

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Another of my favourite flavours is "Namtok" flavour. Namtok means "waterfall" in Thai, but actually is used to refer to noodle recipe, and also a grilled meat recipe from Isan country (Northeast). "Namtok" noodles, if freshly made, get some fresh blood poured into the soup at he end to lend a brownish colour to the soup, and add an amazingly tangy flavour to the dish. In the West, some people have an aversion to blood, but actually it gets cooked in the first seconds that it is poured into the boiling soup, and has a fantastic flavor and aroma! The instant Namtok noodle variety has an amazingly similar taste to the authentic fresh variety. If you have some mint leaves at home then you can garnish the soup with a couple of leaves, this will add a wonderful aroma to the soup, and increase the authenticity of the flavor. I often buy the "look chin" (fish or meatballs) and add them to the soup to make it a bit more "beefed up" - just adding on ore two of your favourite ingrediants makes the soup so much more luxurious. you can add a spoon of mincemeat or some fine shreds of chicken whatever you like, a few shrimps in the tom yam kung makes the dish come to life. But even if you just go for the purist way and eat them as they are, they are delicious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gaeng Som - Sour Curry - many styles

Pic Left; "Gaeng Som Dork Kae" - Sour Curry with Dork Kae Flowers.
Sour Curry, or "Gaeng Som" as the Thais call it, is one of my favourite recipes.Some people call it yellow curry, but actually if you buy yellow curry paste it is more like the indian curry powder taste than that of gaeng som. Ganeg Som is made from an "orange" paste that can be bought in most markets, or as in some of the recipes below, be made freshly oneself. As I was new to Thailand, i found it hard to stomach Gaeng Som, (which was difficult at that time, as i got my food from the factory next door and ate free with the workers - we were in the South, in Surat Thani, and Gaeng Som was on the menu about 4 times a week). But strangely, after a while of being fed it often enough, i develped an aquired taste for it, and sometimes even moaned when we hadn't had Gaeng Som for a few days already.

If you can manage to keep at it, or if you like sour stuff anyway, then give Gaeng Som sour curry soup a few tries and see if you get the bug.
There are many different variations, not all of which everybody likes, which is the problem. It may take a few tries of the different variations before you find the one that is your special favourite.
Gaeng Som Kung Dork Kae - Shrimp Sour Curry soup with Dork Kae flowers

Shrimps - 1/2 Kilo
Canned Fish (in tomatoe sauce) - 1 can (155 gram pla yim brand)
Dry Chilli (big size) - 5 chillies
Dry Chilli (small size) - 10 chillies
pumpkin or gourd vegetable - 1/2 a fruit.
Tamarind Syrup 4 ladlefuls/cups
Galangal Root (sliced in diagonal thin slices - this root is a natural medicine, good for bladder, liver and kidneys - also good for stomach problems and bad digestion).
Lemongrass (this is also a medicinal herb - good for everything including colds and hangovers)
Dork Kae (Sesbania grandiflora - a kind of flowering plant in Thailand) , preferably with pollen.
(dork kae is easily planted and is used on roadsides and in fields to regenerate the nutritional values of the earth)
Shrimp Paste - one soup spoon

Fresh Orange juice (of the choo variety)
Fish sauce (Nam Pla)

Gaeng Som Cha-Om Tord - Sour Curry with fried Cha-Om

Another version is to use the rather smelly but extremely tasty (in the same way that garlic is smelly and tasty - it hangs on your breath), "Cha-Om".
Cha Om is a fern-like plant that grows on the roadsides and forms the hedgerow of many a rural farmhouse.
Cha - Om is a fern-like plant that grows easily all over Thailand. In the North, the Thais prefer to eat Cha-Om in the dry season, as they believe that in the monsoon, Cha-Om takes on a smelly, rancid, sour taste to it, whereas in the dry season it has more of a toasted aroma, when fried. Cha-Om is usuall eaten fried with omelette and shrimp paste dip (Nam Prik Gapi), as it is seen to have been prepared prior to having been added to this Sour Curry soup too.
Gang Som Kung Cha-Om Tord (sour shrimp curry with fried Cha-Om) is a real super-tasty suop which we might refer to as a "Hot and Sour Soup".
Tangy is definitely the word for this recipe..

Cha-Om (Acacia pennata subsp. insuavis)
is one of thirteen Acacia species native to Thailand. This thorny multipurpose shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall grows extensively throughout the country in homestead. However, small plantations for commercial harvest of edible leaves can be also found.

Gaeng Som Chaom Khai Het Khaem Tong

Sour Curry with Goldneedle mushrooms, egg and Cha-Om
This is a real special kind of Ganeg som - the reason i didn't explain the method for preparing the gaeng Som Kung Cha-Om tord above this is because the method is almost the same as the one i am about to explain below.
Preparation Method;

Clean, prepare and lay out all your ingredients first. You will need;
Ingredients -
Cha-Om - one large bushel (it is sold in bushels), or 2 smaller bushels
Goldneedle mushrooms 100 grams
3 chicken eggs
Shrimps - 200 grams
Fish (for mixing in the curry paste) - one fish (you can substitute the fishmeat for 10 shrimps instead if no fish available).
Dry chillies (BIG SIZE) - 8-10 pieces
Thai schallots - 8-10
tamarind paste one tablespoon or more
shrimp paste, one tablespoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
cane sugar paste
fish seasoning sauce (nam pla)
oil for frying the cha-om omellete.

Step one; Soak the chillies a bit first to release the aroma. Whilst the chillies are softening up, you can set a small saucepan on the stove and boil a bit of water in it, this is for the fish to cook the meat, which will later be separated from the bones and skin etc, and mixed in to the "Prik Gaeng (พริกแกง - curry paste). The prik gaeng is the heart and soul of any Thai curry, whose making methods should be learnt in order to master the art of Thai Currymaking. The other essential thing to have well practised is the use of the pestle and mortar to bash the seasoning ingredients together into pastes and mixtures.
This is called "Tham" (the act of hitting the mortar with the pestle to grind up things with.Tham means to grind, basically. If you make the pastes with the "krok" (mortar), then you will achieve the authentic Thai touch that so often is missing when eating out in Thai restaurants in the Western world.

simply boil the fish in the saucepan until it is cooked thoroughly.

Whilst the fish is boiling, we can use the time to just zip over here for a minute, and see to the dried chillies (that aren't so dry anymore).We have to do that movement now with the pestle and mortar and grind the chillies and salt into a paste. Throw the chillies into the mortar along with some salt, and start grinding with a spiralling sideways movement.

The salt helps to liquidize the chillies, which are now softened from the soaking in water.Add the Hua Horm red shallot onions and grind into the mixture.

As you can see in the picture, the chillies have now become a thick paste, due to the roasting and grinding with salt.You should then add some "Gapi" - salted shrimp paste and mix it in until you get a creamy texture.After this, the fish should be cooked already. We can then take the fish and remove all the bones and inedible parts out and separate the fine flaky fishmeat. This also added to the "Prik Gaeng". Once pounded into a fine, creamy paste, the prik gaeng takes on a lovely warm orangey-saffron colour - which is, of course what lends the name of "Gaeng Som" to the dish ("som" means orange). I find it strange how we call it sour yellow curry, and not "orange curry". It is more orange than yellow, after all.

Once the fish is mixed into the paste it takes on a really thick bright orange texture and colour .

Follow the pictures, which leave no explanation necessary, and i shall continue to explain when we get a bit further down the page.

Add the Prik Gaeng to the water in the pan and bring to the boil.

Then take the tamarind sauce that you already placed to one side.....
And add it to the simmering soup.

Then add the following....

Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) - i recomment Tipros (tiparosa) or Pla Muek brand (squid brand). The brand with the chef carrying a giant shrimp is not to be is mainly salted water, and has little fish taste to it.

Add the palm sugar, and simmer the soup for 5 minutes
The soup will have taken on a thicker consistency and an more opaque - this is part of what makes a gaeng som so tasty - the reducing of liquid along with the fish meat mixed into the prik gaeng paste makes this soup a very defty dish. A well known secret is that gaeng som tastes better after it has been left for some hours, or even on the next morning (yes, gaeng som is one of the few curries that do not go putrid quickly in Thailand - coconut milk ones last only half a day unless you reboil them constantly)
Take the Cha-Om leaf......................and beaten eggs

And mix them together

Heat some oil in the "Grata", and fry the chaom with egg, as if it was an omelette.
Once fried to a crispy consistency, the Cha-Om is then cut up into square dice-shaped pieces, and should look like the picture below.

Take the shrimps and add them to the soup - let it boil for 3 -5 minutes

Add the golden needle mushrooms and stir.......

Add the crispy cubes of Cha-Om Tord Khai, and the gaeng Som is Ready to serve!

อาหารทะเลแห้งครบวงจรCha-Om Tord Khai is a recipe that can be eaten alone too. Normally with "Nam Prik Gapi" (shrimp paste dip), and "Pla Tu" (a kind of fish, the word covering several species), normally steamed in baskets.

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