Gaeng lueng - a "hot" yellow fish curry
Note this is part 1 of a two part dinner recipe: this curry is *hot*, as
a complement to it I suggest the Kai Yang Isan.
This is a curry that is best if you have an angler in the family. You
can probably prepare it with anything that you catch that doesn't eat
you before you get it on the plate. I particularly like it done with
catfish. If you don't have access to fresh caught fish, you can use any
shop bought fish. Macherel is a good staple.
The quantities are of course a matter of choice. The quantities of
shallots (purple onions), garlic and sliced prik ki nu are according to
my wife "a handful of each" - this equates to almost exactly half a cup,
so that is what I have put in the details.
Prik ki nu (literally "mousedropping chilis"), also known as birdseye
chilis or dynamite chilis, are small green, and quite explosive. The
usual cautions apply to handling them then rubbing your eyes... Cook
books often suggest throwing away the seeds, but this is not usually
done in Thailand. Instead when you slice them any seeds that escape from
the pile may be discarded, but don't go to any particular lengths to
seperate out the seeds.
Take about a pound of filleted fish. If using mackerel discard the head
and tail, cut the fish in half along its belly, discard the backbone. If
using catfish just chop it into chunks, and warn the diners about the
In a blender or food processor, place a cup of water, a quarter cup of
fish sauce, half a cup of chopped shallots, half a cup of crush garlic,
and half a cup of thinly sliced prik ki nu, together with about 2
tablespoons of fermented shrimp paste that has been briefly fried to
bring out the aroma. Blend to a coarse paste, and add to 4 cups of water
in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the fish, 2 tablespoons of palm
sugar, a third of a cup of tamarind juice, half a cup of sliced long
beans (the Thai version is about a metre long, but the "european"
version will do...) and half a cup of sliced bamboo shoots. Bring to a
boil, reduce the heat untill it is just boiling and cook until the fish
is cooked (about 5 minutes).
Serve over Thai Jasmine rice.
Footnote: you can add chilis at the table but you can't take them out
once the dish is cooked. Thais regularly offer five standard condiments
(prik phom, or chili powder, sugar, chilis in vinegar, chilis in fish
sauce, and ground peanuts). You also sometimes see chilis in sweet dark
soy sauce, fish sauce, dark soy and oyster sauce on the table. Feel free
to add whatever you fancy to the dish.
This dish is *meant* to be hot, but it isn't meant to eat the glaze off
the plate, so be sensible the first time you try it (I recall a cooking
show in Australia recomending half a birdseye chili per person: on that
basis this dish has enough chilis to kill an average Aystralian family
it would appear (though I don't believe it, so don't flame me, mail
Thais usually have several dishes, that comlement each other. A good
complement to a hot dish like this is our relatively benign kai yang
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.