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Khanom Jeen Nam Ya, the authentic fish curry of Southern Thailand

Would you like to know what are the most popular dishes in Koh Samui ? Not the ones you'll find on the menu of a fancy restaurant but the dishes Thai people like to prepare and eat at home ?

The spicy fish curry with rice noodles is one of those. It belongs to the food tradition of Southern Thailand and is highly appreciated. Easy to prepare, it is a whole meal in itself.

Serves 2


A fish around 500 g or 400 fish fillets

200 ml coconut milk

1 lemongrass stalk, sliced

1 kaffir lime leaf, sliced

4 shallots, sliced

Curry paste :

5 dry spur chilies, deseeded, stems removed

1 lemongrass stalk, chopped

5 fingers fingerroot, chopped

3 shallots

4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon shrimp paste


200 ml coconut cream

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 kaffir lime leaf, stem removed

300 g rice noodles, cooked

To garnish : bean sprouts, snake beans, lime basil, pickled mustard leaves

Prepare the fish :

Clean and cut the fish in medium size pieces. Bring the stock and coconut milk to a boil. Add lemongrass, kaffir leaf and shallots. Boil the fish for 5-10 minutes, until fully cooked. Then remove from stock and leave to cool.

Take off skin and bones and crumble the flesh with your fingers. Set aside.

Prepare curry paste :

Using a mortar and pestle, pound first red chilies then add, little by little, lemongrass, fingerroot, shallots and garlic. Pound in a smooth paste (5-10 minutes). Then add shrimp paste and pound for another minute.

Add the fish flesh and pound until fish and curry paste are well combined.

Prepare the sauce :

Using a saucepan, stir coconut cream and fish/curry mixture (on medium heat). Mix well. Then add vegetable stock, kaffir leaf and seasoning (fish sauce and sugar). On low heat, simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice noodles, raw and steamed vegetables, fresh herbs.

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