Kaeng Som -Thai Sour Fish Curry Recipe

Although not as popular outside of Thailand as its red or green counterparts, Kaeng Som is considered to be the Queen of curries in Southern Thailand. At its most basic, it is a thick stew filled with vegetables, the fish being mixed into the paste, but a more lush version will contain extra chunks of fish.

  • Preparation
  • Cooking time
  • Rest time
Rate this recipe
(4 votes) 2.3/5


Pour people
  • Part one of the recipe
  • Banana shallot(s) : 3 whole
  • Garlic bulb(s) : 1 whole
  • Fresh ginger : 30 g
  • Dried red chilli(s) : 3 whole
  • Ground turmeric : 5 g
  • Ground coriander : 10 g
  • Ground cumin : 10 g
  • Stick(s) of lemongrass : 2 whole
  • Lime leave(s) : 5 whole
  • Palm sugar : 50 g
  • Shrimp paste : 10 g
  • Tamarind paste : 30 g
  • Fish sauce : 30 ml
  • Pollack steak(s) 140g : 2 whole
  • Frozen king prawn(s) without shell : 30 whole
  • Lime(s) : 2 whole
  • Yellow pepper(s) : 2 whole
  • Cauliflower : 0.5 whole
  • Mange tout : 200 g
  • Part two of the recipe
  • Courgette(s) : 1 whole
  • Fresh coriander : 0.25 bunch
  • Maldon salt : 5 pinch(es)
  • Sunflower oil : 50 ml
  • Freshly ground black pepper : 5 Turn
  • Unsweetened coconut milk : 400 ml



    Remove the root end of the garlic bulb, smash the cloves and peel.

    Top and tail the shallots, peel, and chop roughly.

    Peel the ginger, and slice thinly across the grain.

    Top and tail the lemongrass stalks, peel off the first layer, and chop into 1cm pieces.

    Remove the central stalk of the lime leaves, and chop finely.

    Skin the pollock steaks, and chop into chunks.

    Place all the ingredients for the paste in a food processor, and blend until smooth.

    This curry paste can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for a month.


    Slice the yellow peppers into thin slivers.

    Peel and devein the prawns, if necessary.

    Cut the limes into wedges.

    Pick the coriander leaves, and save for later. Finely chop the stalks.

    Heat some sunflower oil over medium-high heat, and saute the shallots and the coriander stalks: the shallots should be tender.

    Add the curry paste, and heat to revive the aromas. Add enough water to obtain a loose paste, and bring up to a boil. Keep stirring until the broth comes to a simmer, otherwise the curry might become lumpy. If the curry does become lumpy, it can be blitzed with a stick blender.

    Cut the caulilower into florets, and add to the sauce. Leave to cook for about 5min, or unitl cooked but still firm.

    Top and tail the mange-tout peas. Quarter the courgette lengthwise, and cut into chunks. Add both vegetables to the curry.

    Add the prawns to the curry, and cook until they turn opaque, about 2 minutes.

    Serve immediately, garnished with wedges of lime and a sprinkle of coriander leaves.

Chef's tip

«This version of sour curry is rarely seen in a vegetarian version, since the fish is integral to the curry paste itself. However, if a vegetarian version is necessary, omit all fish ingredients, and substitute with soy sauce, and mushroom powder.»

Your comments