Southern Thai Cuisine (Dtai)

Southern Thai Ancient Fermented Fish Innards Curry with Grilled Catfish ; แกงไตปลาปลาดุกย่างโบราณ
Traditional Recipes

Southern Thai Ancient Fermented Fish Innards Curry with Grilled Catfish (แกงไตปลาปลาดุกย่างโบราณ ; gaaeng dtai bplaa bplaa dook yaang)

แกงไตปลาปลาดุกย่างโบราณ – Fermented fish innards curry is a dense curry made of fermented fish innards is dark coffee-brown in color – a salty, fiery hot dish, it grips the palate in an intense umami embrace. As the flagship dish in the repertoire of spicy southern Thai cuisine, it comes in different versions: some are water based; some have a base of coconut cream. But whatever the style, it is a fiercely hot dish that features both dried and fresh chilies.

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แกงเผ็ดลูกทุ่งภาคใต้ ; Southern Thai Curry of Pork, Three Peppers and Young Galangal
Southern Thai Cuisine (Dtai)

Roasted Southern Thai Curry of Pork, Three Peppers and Young Galangal (แกงเผ็ดลูกทุ่งภาคใต้ ; gaaeng phet luuk thoong phaak dtai)

This profoundly spicy, chestnut-colored pork curry radiates a pungent slow-burning heat from generous amounts of roasted black pepper, along with long peppers and naughty charred dry chili peppers. The curry’s aroma is concentrated even further by roasting the ingredients prior to pounding them – a process that shaves the high notes of the curry and provides a low-pitched intensity that lasts far beyond each bite.

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ไตปลาทรงเครื่อง ; Spicy Salad of Grilled Tiger Prawns, Mackerel, Lemongrass and Aromatics with Infused Fermented Fish Innards Dressing
basic Thai cooking techniques

Spicy Salad of Grilled Tiger Prawns, Mackerel, Lemongrass and Aromatics with Infused Fermented Fish Innards Dressing (ไตปลาทรงเครื่อง ; dtai bpla sohng khreuuang)

If we could strip away the spices, the seasonings, the vegetables and the herbs from savory dishes we could uncover their naked flavor profile core. There, we would encounter a strong savory-umami, sometimes coupled with other basic elements of smoke and fat. This flavor core is, for us humans, the sought-after taste of protein; our first sip of mother’s milk, and the primal experience of burned game meat on the fire.

Today we would like to highlight a powerhouse for umami creation: the fermentation process. We will focus on fermented fish innards from southern Thailand (dtai bpla ไตปลา), one of about a dozen fermented products used in the country. We will show you how chefs for the capital’s elite, as early as or, before the reign of King Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai (Rama II, 1767-1824), harnessed its wild nature and created a dish similar to what we present today – a salad with infused fermented fish innards dressing.

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แกงเหลืองสายบัวปลากะพง ; Southern Thai Spicy Sour Yellow Curry with Lotus Stems and Sea Bass
Southern Thai Cuisine (Dtai)

Southern Thai Spicy Sour Yellow Curry with Lotus Stems and Sea Bass (แกงเหลืองสายบัวปลากะพง ; gaaeng leuuang saai buaa bplaa ga phohng)

Yellow sour curry (gaaeng leuuang, แกงเหลือง) is considered a comfort food for the people of Thailand’s southern region. Lavish amounts of fresh turmeric give this spicy, sour and salty curry its rich yellow tint, as well as its earthy aroma and a pleasantly bitter taste. The curry also contains generous portions of the southern dark fermented shrimp paste, resulting in a cloudy, ochre-colored dish.

Southern yellow sour curry is primarily made with saltwater fish, and with either water spinach (phak boong ผักบุ้ง), bamboo shoots (fresh or pickled), green papaya, the stems of the giant elephant ear plant (Colocasia gigantea) (aaw dip อ้อดิบ or thuun ทูน), winter melon (fak khiaao ฟักเขียว) or lotus stems. But versions of the curry that include freshwater fish, shrimp, salted threadfin fish (bplaa goo lao khem ปลากุเลาเค็ม), or even beef or pork belly, are not rare.

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Southern Thai Cuisine (Dtai)

Thai Fried Fish Recipe
Southern Thai Style Deep Fried Fish with Fresh Turmeric
(bplaa saai daaeng thaawt khamin)
สูตรทำปลาทรายแดงทอดขมิ้น สูตรปักษ์ใต้

If you are a fish lover, than you know that there are only few things in life that taste better than absolutely fresh fish, deep-fried to perfection with a crispy skin that brakes open to reveal the irresistible, steamy, firm white flesh.

Thai fried fish recipe originated from fishing communities of the south of Thailand, were fishes are being cooked as it arrive almost directly from the fishing boats.

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Southern Thai Cuisine (Dtai)

Southern Thai Style Savory Eggs Mousse
(khai dtoon gabpi naam ; ไข่ตุ๋นกะปิน้ำ)

Do you remember hearing the ocean through a large conch shell when you were a kid? This stylish yet simple dish is made from only a few ingredients and will dip your taste buds in flavorful, rich and creamy ocean’s essence, like that conch shell.

In the southern provinces of Thailand, those bordering the sunny beaches of the Andaman sea, one can find yet another type of fermented shrimp product, “liquid fermented shrimp” (gabpi naam ; กะปิน้ำ).

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