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Khanom jeen nam ya / Southern Thai fish curry with noodles

This deeply flavoured fish curry is rich with coconut milk and heat, making it a wonderful choice for a family feast. Banyen’s mother would prepare this at least once a month, inviting extended family and friends over to enjoy a meal together. The garnishing for each dish can be customised, making it communal and personal all in one.

Khanom jeen nam ya / Southern Thai fish curry with noodles

by Banyen Aroonratana

This deeply flavoured fish curry is rich with coconut milk and heat, making it a wonderful choice for a family feast. Banyen’s mother would prepare this at least once a month, inviting extended family and friends over to enjoy a meal together. The garnishing for each dish can be customised, making it communal and personal all in one.

Servings: 4

Prep time: A project

Servings: 4

Prep time: A project

FOR THE SPICE PASTE

3 large fresh red chillies

10 dried red chillies, deseeded

3 stalks lemongrass (white part only)

1″ fresh galangal, peeled

1″ fresh turmeric, peeled

6 cloves garlic, peeled

6 small red onions or shallots, peeled

½ tbsp freshly ground black peppercorns

1 tbsp belacan, toasted

 

FOR THE REST OF THE CURRY

1 kg fresh mackerel, sardines, or selar kuning

300ml coconut milk

500ml water

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp palm sugar

2 pieces asam keping

10 pieces makrut lime leaves (daun limau purut), ribs trimmed and discarded

Salt to taste

1 packet (450g) thin dried laksa noodles

 

FOR THE GARNISH

(all optional, choose what is preferred)

Hard boiled eggs, sliced in half

Pickled mustard, finely sliced

White cabbage, finely sliced

Long beans, sliced into 1 cm pieces

Cucumber, sliced

Thai basil leaves, trimmed off the stem

Mint leaves, trimmed off the stem

Dried red chillies, deep fried

Taugeh

Red chilli flakes

FOR THE FISH

  1. Gut and trim the fish, then arrange it on a metal or ceramic plate. Set up a steamer on the stove. Once the water begins to boil, add the plate of fish to the steamer basket and cover the steamer. Steam for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the fish from the steamer and set aside until cool to the touch. Debone the fish, breaking up any larger pieces. Set aside.

 

FOR THE SPICE PASTE

  1. Blend all ingredients for the spice paste with just enough water for the blender to process the ingredients smoothly. Set aside.

 

FOR THE CURRY

  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour in about 2 tbsp of coconut milk, then add the blended spice paste. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, then pour in the rest of the coconut milk. Stir well.
  2. Add the deboned fish to the pot, along with the water. Stir to mix, making sure to break up any larger lumps of the spice paste.
  3. Season the curry with fish sauce, salt, and sugar to taste, along with the asam keping and makrut lime leaves. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the desired consistency, then taste. The curry should not be too creamy, not too thin, spicy from the chillies and black pepper, savoury, and a little sour from the asam keping.

 

TO SERVE

  1. Prepare the laksa noodles according to package instructions, blanching in boiling water to soften further if necessary.
  2. Place 1 portion of noodles in a shallow bowl, then pour about ½ to 1 cup of fish curry over the noodles.
  3. Garnish as preferred.

Tips

  • For convenience, Banyen’s mother also uses tinned sardines. 2 cans (425g each) is sufficient for this recipe. Discard the sauce, but do not be too concerned if some sauce clings to the fish.
  • This recipe can be scaled up for a crowd. If making extra spice paste for another day, the spice paste can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Ingredients

FOR THE SPICE PASTE

3 large fresh red chillies

10 dried red chillies, deseeded

3 stalks lemongrass (white part only)

1″ fresh galangal, peeled

1″ fresh turmeric, peeled

6 cloves garlic, peeled

6 small red onions or shallots, peeled

½ tbsp freshly ground black peppercorns

1 tbsp belacan, toasted

 

FOR THE REST OF THE CURRY

1 kg fresh mackerel, sardines, or selar kuning

300ml coconut milk

500ml water

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp palm sugar

2 pieces asam keping

10 pieces makrut lime leaves (daun limau purut), ribs trimmed and discarded

Salt to taste

1 packet (450g) thin dried laksa noodles

 

FOR THE GARNISH

(all optional, choose what is preferred)

Hard boiled eggs, sliced in half

Pickled mustard, finely sliced

White cabbage, finely sliced

Long beans, sliced into 1 cm pieces

Cucumber, sliced

Thai basil leaves, trimmed off the stem

Mint leaves, trimmed off the stem

Dried red chillies, deep fried

Taugeh

Red chilli flakes

Directions

FOR THE FISH

  1. Gut and trim the fish, then arrange it on a metal or ceramic plate. Set up a steamer on the stove. Once the water begins to boil, add the plate of fish to the steamer basket and cover the steamer. Steam for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the fish from the steamer and set aside until cool to the touch. Debone the fish, breaking up any larger pieces. Set aside.

 

FOR THE SPICE PASTE

  1. Blend all ingredients for the spice paste with just enough water for the blender to process the ingredients smoothly. Set aside.

 

FOR THE CURRY

  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour in about 2 tbsp of coconut milk, then add the blended spice paste. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, then pour in the rest of the coconut milk. Stir well.
  2. Add the deboned fish to the pot, along with the water. Stir to mix, making sure to break up any larger lumps of the spice paste.
  3. Season the curry with fish sauce, salt, and sugar to taste, along with the asam keping and makrut lime leaves. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the desired consistency, then taste. The curry should not be too creamy, not too thin, spicy from the chillies and black pepper, savoury, and a little sour from the asam keping.

 

TO SERVE

  1. Prepare the laksa noodles according to package instructions, blanching in boiling water to soften further if necessary.
  2. Place 1 portion of noodles in a shallow bowl, then pour about ½ to 1 cup of fish curry over the noodles.
  3. Garnish as preferred.

Tips

  • For convenience, Banyen’s mother also uses tinned sardines. 2 cans (425g each) is sufficient for this recipe. Discard the sauce, but do not be too concerned if some sauce clings to the fish.
  • This recipe can be scaled up for a crowd. If making extra spice paste for another day, the spice paste can be frozen for up to 1 month.

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© Copyright Periuk 2021

© Copyright Periuk 2021