Kaeng Pladuk Chuchi - dry curried catfish
This started life, long ago and far away (oops, sorry, that's another
genre!) as two traditional Thai starters - a toast and topper called
kanom paeng mu and an equally traditional Thai version of shrimp
The name of the toast item is interesting: kanom paeng (bread) literally
translates as "expensive cakes" which shows what the Thais think of
However over the years my wife has developed these canopes, and this is
the current version.
notes on ingredients
Here in Thailand we can't get Maple syrup, so we use honey. This works
just as well, but we prefer the taste of the maple syrup, so feel free
The only bread available here in Thailand is white bread, but again we
find this tastes best with a stone ground wholewheat bread.
If you want to avoid the moderate chilis suggested, you could use bell
peppers, but frankly we find they taste a bit bitter, and anyway they
are a bit large for canopes!
Finally the quantities here make about two thirds of a cup of each of
the pastes. Say 180 millilitres. At 5 ml to the teaspoon this will do
about 8 toast bites and 8 chilis if they have 2 teaspoons of paste in
each. If you use more paste, it'll do less...
First toast 6 slices of bread. Cut off the crusts and cut the pieces of
bread into four.
If the crusts aren't quite dry, pop them in the oven or a dry skillet,
and warm them until dry, then in a mortar and pestle or food processor,
convert them into bread crumbs.
Prepare half a cup each of cooked crab meat, cooked, chopped pork, and
raw, finely chopped mushrooms.
Prepare a paste consisting of
3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger,
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tabelspoons prik phom (ground red chilis)
3 tablespoons crushed toasted peanuts
3 tablespoons khao koor (ground toasted rice)
saute the ginger and garlic, discarding most of the oil, and combine the
ingredients, adding two medium sized duck eggs to the mixture (or three
smallish hen's eggs).
Divide this micture in three, and combine each portion with one of the
half cups of mushrooms, crab or pork, to form three topping pastes.
put about two teaspoons of paste on each of the toast pieces, and then
take 2 dozen prik chi fa (a chili about finger length and as thick as
your finger, that is the Thai equivalent of a jalapeno - you can use
jalapenos instead if you wish), Cut off the tops of the chilis and
discard the seeds. Put about two teaspoons of the paste mixture in each
With a melon-baller prepare 16 balls of melon, 16 balls of mango, and 16
balls of fresh pineapple. [if you are using jalapenos, slice the fruit
and use a sharp knife to cut plugs for the tops of the chilis).
Place a ball of fruit on each piece of toast and secure by piercing it
through with a tooth-pick. Plu each of the chilis with a fruit ball, and
secure by piercing through the sides of the chili and the fruit ball
with another tooth pick.
Prepare another batch of fruit balls, and wash 16 prik ki nu (birdseye
chilis), and pat them dry.
Mix two tablespoons of powdered peanuts, one tablespoon of khao koor,
one tablespoon of prik phom, and a little rice flour (or cornstarch), to
make a dusting powder.
Dip each of the pieces of toast, each of the stuffed chilies, each of
the fruit balls, and each of the birdseye chilis in maple syrup, and
then dredge them in the dusting powder.
prepare a batter by beating an egg yolk, and adding about a cup of ice
cold water to it, then add a cup of sifted plain [all-purpose] flour,
and mix to a thin batter. Add a teaspoon of prik phom and a teaspoon of
freshly groung prik Thai (black pepper).
Dip the canopes in the batter a few at a time, and deep fry until crisp.
Serve on a platter with the dipping sauces used for satay, and some
uncooked fruit balls, and cucumber slices.
Footnote: Thais eat the tempura prik ki nu with considerable gusto, but
farangs should probably be warned that these are almost literally
diabolical! (Of course if you are taking food to a batchelor party you
might omit to warn the groom-to-be! :-)
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.