Thai Sour Curry (Central Style)

Thai sour curry or "Kaeng Som" is the original signature dish from the south of Thailand. Kaeng Som is one of Thai non-coconut based curry dishes. Keang Som literally means "orange curry" due to its bright orange color from fresh turmeric, the signature ingredient of Thailand southern cooking, and "Som" also means sour.

According to Thailand’s four regions; central, northern, north-eastern, and south, Keang Som has been popular among central provinces. This Kaeng Som curry is Central style recipe. It uses no turmeric while southern style dish does, and it is much sweeter than the southern dish.

The dish mostly can be prepared using any kinds of mixed vegetables; sometimes "Dok Kae" is commonly used as a vegetable in this dish. The Dok Kae flower is known as Agati, Sesbania Grandiflora or Vegetable Hummingbird in western countries.

Other common vegetable varieties that can be made with are young water melon, bamboo shoot, raw green papaya, daigon, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, long beans and prawns.

Making a curry paste for this dish is generally much easier than other curries. It is because there are a few ingredients used in the preparation such as dried red chilies both small and big sizes, shrimp paste and shallots. Pounding the ingredients with a mortar and pestle takes about 5-7 minutes.

The flavor of the curry dish is enhanced with the use of tamarind juice, lime juice and a bit of fish sauce and palm sugar.

The common meat that goes well with this sour curry seems to be prawns and fish. Keang Som is tastier on a second day, so be sure to keep it in the fridge over night. This Thai sour curry has a very mild flavor of spices in the curry paste. I recommend anyone who never has eaten Thai curries before to try!

I also have two Thai dishes that will make a perfect combination with This Thai sour curry (Central Style). Try Thai Omelette with Tomato and Onion, Stir Fried Chicken with Thai Holy Basil

Or you can simply serve it with steamed rice and your choice of stir fried dishes.!

Bon appetite!

Thai Sour Curry


Thai Sour Curry (Central Style) with Veggies and Prawns
kaeng som goong pak ruam

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Spicy Level: mild
Served 2

Ingredients for Rice:
Prawns medium size shell and devein, leave tails intact 300 g
Cauliflower small diced ½ cup
Green beans chopped ½ cup
Cabbage chopped ½ cup
Water 3 cups

Ingredients for Curry Paste:
Dried big and small red chilies soak in water until soft 3 each
Shallot peel skin off 2 pieces
Shrimp paste ½ tbsp
Salt ½ tsp

Seasoning:Tamarind juice 2 tbsp
Lime juice 2 tbsp
Fish sauce 1 ½ tbsp
Palm sugar grated 3 tbsp

Let's get started!

How to make:
Step 1: Making Curry Paste

  • Pound soaked chillies, shallot and salt with mortar and pestle together until smooth. (Make sure the soaked chillies are wiped dry before pound. Salt will help prevent chillies splashing into your eyes)

  • Then add shrimp paste and combine until the ingredients are mixed well.

Step 2: Making Curry

  • Heat water in a pot over medium heat until rapidly boiling.

  • Add curry paste. When you can smell the spice from curry paste, add tamarind juice, palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce.

  • Quickly add vegetables until cooked through approximately 7-10 minutes.

  • Then add prawns and cook 5-7 minutes more. Turn off the heat.

  • Serve and Enjoy!

Cooking Note

  • To make tamarind juice dissolve 1 - 2 tbsp of tamarind paste or block in 1/2 cup of warm water for 5 minutes then use your fingers to squeeze the pulp in the bowl and discard the tamarind pulp. The tamarind juice should be used immediately for its optimum freshness. You can always add more water for more subtle sour.
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