This is a delicious Thai recipe using ocean fish such as local Krabi white snapper which is very popular in the south of Thailand where sour curries are a favourite.
Southern Thai dishes are flamming hot so do adjust to your palate for heat. I love hot but about fell off my chair the first time I ate this traditional Krabi dish as it was so hot.
I use the local smoked dry shrimp in place of kapi (shrimp paste) whenever I have them on hand. The distinctive smokiness is a very special Krabi speciality. You can smoke "shell on small shrimp" slowly over wood chips at home to get this ingredient for your own kitchen any where!
Sour Orange Curry of White Snapper and Vegetables
(Geng Som Pla)
This curry is a very old style recipe from the the Krabi region of Thailand. Itís simplicity of flavours and preparation make it a very special dish from long ago which is still very popular today
3 cups fish or shrimp stock
6 oz white snapper fish fillets (red snapper or any firm white fish is OK)
1/4 cup tamarind water
1/4 tsp date sugar to taste
2 Tabs fish sauce (nam plah)
1 cup of fresh vegetables, a combination of 2 or 3 of the following cut into bite size pieces:
Bai Chaploo leaves
Pak Won Ba leaves
Thai pea eggplants
Thai round small eggplants
Bamboo cut into bite size pieces
Asparagus - especially white
For the Curry Paste
3-8 dried Thai chiles, deseeded and soaked to your taste for hot
pinch of salt to help with pounding process
1 Tabs fresh or frozen galangal minced
1 large shallot minced
2 tsp shrimp paste (kapi)*
*I use 2 tab of pounded smoked shrimp which is found in local Krabi markets
Place kapi on to a piece of tinfoil you form a shallow "bowl" by folding upwards on all four the edges. Place kapi in either a hot skillet and roast or in a toaster oven until fragrant. Open window first!
Place the drained chiles and salt in a mortar, pound vigorously with pestle. Add the galangal and shallots continue pounding to make a fine paste. Add roasted kapi, pounding further to make a smooth paste.
Put stock into a saucepan, bring to a boil add 1 oz of the fish, simmer for a minute or so until cooked.. Remove and add to curry paste and pound again to thoroughly incorporate the fish into the paste.
Bring the stock to a boil again and add the sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water. Stir, add the curry paste, stirring to completely encorporate the paste into the stock. Add the vegetables to the boiling stock and cook until almost done. Add the fish fillets and cook a minute or so until they are cooked.
This curry is quite thin like a soup and traditionally extremely hot. Adjust seasonings to a balance of salty-sour-hot by adding more tamarind water, fish sauce, or chile to your taste. This is served with steamed jasmine rice (Thai Hom Mali).