Kapi (Fermented Shrimp Paste)

Thai food recipes with Kapi (Fermented Shrimp Paste)

Gaaeng Ranjuaan is spicy, sour, sweet and salty beef curry seasoned with no more than fermented shrimp paste chili sauce. It should be served steaming hot, and must possess three distinct flavors, similar to fish Tom Yam soup. These modest ingredients and an intensely-flavored curry emerge from a story about love, things lost in translation and…leftovers.

สูตรทำข้าวคลุกกะปิของ หม่อมเจ้าจงจิตรถนอม ดิศกุล – Rice Seasoned with Shrimp Paste Recipe – Each of the dish’s components is separately prepared and set aside, and mixed individually for each serving. A pleasant harmony of several flavors is created – complex and profound in taste, the dish is a stunning display of confidence. There are many variations of this dish: I have chosen to publish the version described by Prince Johngjit thanaawm Disagoon. This is the very same version prepared for King Chulalongkorn the Great during his unforgettable trip to Italy.

In the Thai language, lon (lohn; หลน) means to simmer. In this ancient style dip, minced pork and fermented shrimp paste, along with smoked-charred dry fish, chilies and other aromatics, are slowly simmered in rich coconut cream to create a deep, multi-layered – yet subtle and silky – dip; a dip which is then lightly seasoned with just palm sugar and fish sauce. The dip is served with an array of fresh and fried vegetables, tempura-like cakes, crispy small fishes or tiny transparent salt-water shrimp. For a dish with so many subtle flavors, there is surprisingly little fuss.

This recipe comes all the way from India through the northern Burmese border. The masala spice mix is still sold in small packages with retro looking prints that seem to forever exist.

There is no way in a recipe to communicate what’s going on in here; a thick red chili paste marinate, that bursts in orange turmeric color, provides the perfect seen to the tender, almost falling apart, pork meat.

A dish, like a smell or a color can be so evocative in their place or time. This dish always flys me back to the food stalls of Chiang Mai with its vivid color and tartly savor.

In this fast moving world, it is good sometime to pause for a moment, and to have a dish that emphasis relaxation, and allows you to enjoy a feast of textures and colors, because it is never eaten alone. It is served with a rich plate of accompanying vegetables pleasantly arranged, and with a group of good friends; all sharing the centrally placed bowl of the shiny red relish.

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