Kaeng Som (th:แกงส้ม) is one of the most famous Thai food dishes for locals for eating at home. It is a traditional hot and sour curry soup of a bright orange color. “Kaeng” means curry and “Som” means sour or orange. Sometimes it’s called “Kaeng Lueang” (th:แกงเหลือง) meaning "Yellow Curry". The flavor comes from the saltiness of the shrimp paste and fish sauce, the predominantly sourness of tamarind or lemon juice, a little sweetness of sugar and the heat of curry. Southern style Kaeng Som has a much stronger taste than one of the Central region.
In different areas, locals use a variety of meat and vegetables to add up to Kaeng Som. However, the dish is mostly cooked with shrimps and fish. In fact, you can choose any meat of your choice. There are many vegetables that can be added such as cabbage, cauliflower, radish, broccoli, green papaya, carrot, pickled bamboo, green bean or any of your favorite vegetables. For Thais, pineapple is really good with Kaeng Som as well.
We would suggest cooking it with any vegetables that are easy to find at your home such as carrot or broccoli which are classics in local cooking and go very well with Kaeng Som spices.
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Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
500 g fresh fish cuts
1/2 tablespoon Kaeng Som Paste
1 tablespoon Thai shrimp paste
700 ml stock or water
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1/2 tablespoon palm sugar (or any sugar)
2 tablespoons tamarind juice (or lemon juice)
400 g white radish (cut into small pieces) or other vegetables
1. Pour the stock or water into the pot for boiling.
2. Mix Kaeng Som Paste and Thai shrimp paste together and add into the stock. You can add half of it as it may be too much for you. Season it with sugar, fish sauce and tamarind juice till it’s tasteful.
3. Add meat and vegetables of your choice. Simmer until the meat is done and the vegetables begin to tender, about 7-8 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice to desired taste.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve with hot steamed rice.
Be sure to enjoy Kaeng Som alongside with Khai Jeaw (Thai Omelette)