This recipe for Sour Orange Curry with Fresh Water Fish Vegetables (gaeng som pla) is quite popular in the dry plains area. It is a fairly simple boiled curry and is quite a change from the Thai food found in most Thai restaurants in the US and Europe. It doesn't contain coconut milk, lemongrass or lime. Coconut is actually quite common in the Central Plains along with the South, but less so in the North and North East.
This recipe is great if watching the intake of fat as it doesn't include coconut milk and therefore is quite a healthy choice. This curry could be called a Thai soup which is based on an ancient using plentiful rice, fish, and vegetables. It is a fiery-hot soup with both sour and sweet overtones that make for a lively combination, especially when paired with fish and/or seafood. Plenty of fresh local vegetables are characteristic of this wonderful Thai soup recipe.
3 cups stock
6 oz freshwater fish fillets - such as trout or catfish
3 Tabs tamarind water
pinch of white sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce (nam pla)
1 cup of vegetables, a selection of 2-3 of the following vegetables
sliced bamboo shoots
wing beans (snake beans )
white radish (daikon)
asparagus - especially white
chard or spinach (bai dtamleung,)
5 dried Thai Dragon red chiles, deseeded, soaked and drained
large pinch of salt
1 Tbs chopped galangal
¼ cup chopped shallot
2 sps shrimp paste (kapi)
Pound the curry paste ingredients together to form a fine paste, set aside.
Boil the stock add 1 oz of the fish. Simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked, remove and drain.. Chop the cooked fish and add to the curry paste, pound until incorporated.
Bring stock back to a boil, season with tamarind water, sugar and fish sauce. Add the curry paste. Continue simmering and add the vegetables and cook until almost tender. Then add the fish. This is a thibn soup like curry which is salty, sour and spicy. Excellent with steamed Jasmine rice.
Notes: Use fresh seasonal vegetables!