This recipe is adapted from a recipe I obtained from a jungle food restaurant in Kanchanaburi province. The paste is a downgrade of a phrik khing paste – it omits the coriander roots and shallots. In addition, the recipe substitutes the fermented shrimp paste (kapi) with maawn fermented fish paste (กะปิมอญ; gabpi maawn), which is a popular ingredient among the Mon-Burmese population of the western province. The lack of shallots eliminates any sweetness that might impair the sharpness and heat of the dish. Furthermore, a double hit of citrus notes from holy basil are infused into the dish: from the holy basil flowers added to the paste and the holy basil leaves added to the curry.
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The vegetables of choice are pea eggplants, apple eggplants and yellow bitter eggplants. This trait of bitterness can be further explored by adding other ingredients with solid woody-earthy and bitter properties such as climbing wattle leaves (cha-om) (ชะอม), bitter gourd (มะระขี้นก) or Chinese bitter gourd (มะระจีน).
|Holy basil flowers||Coriander root|
|Fermented fish paste (gabpi maawn)||Shallots|
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- 250 gr snakehead fish (ปลาช่อน)
- 3 cups chicken stock (น้ำสต๊อกไก่)
- 1/2 cup pea eggplants (มะเขือพวง)
- 1 bitter yellow eggplants (มะเขือขื่น)
- 3 apple eggplants (มะเขือเปราะ) sliced into quarters
- 1 fresh green long chili (phrik chee fa) (พริกชี้ฟ้าเขียว)
- 1 fresh red long chili (phrik chee fa) (พริกชี้ฟ้าแดง)
- 8 kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด)
- 1/2 cup holy basil (ใบกะเพรา)
- climbing wattle leaves (cha-om) (ชะอม)
- Chinese bitter gourd (มะระจีน) or
- bitter gourd (มะระขี้นก)
- bamboo shoots (หน่อไม้)
For the paste:
- 1/4 cup dried boat bow shaped chilies (hua rua) (พริกหัวเรือแห้ง)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
- 1/4 cup lemongrass (ตะไคร้)
- 1/4 cup galangal (ข่า)
- 1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest (ผิวมะกรูด)
- 1/4 cup Thai garlic
- 3-4 holy basil flowers (ดอกกะเพรา)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Mon style fermented shrimp paste (kapi maawn) (กะปิมอญ) or
- 3/4 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (kapi)(กะปิย่างไฟ)
- Clean the fish and remove the internal organs.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the fish into 1″ (2.5 cm) thick steak cuts. Set aside.
Prepare the curry paste:
- An overview of the curry paste ingredients.
- In a pestle and mortar, pound the curry paste; start with the chilies and gradually add the other ingredients, from the driest to the wet. Pound the paste to a semi-fine consistency. Set aside.
Cook the curry:
- In a pot, dilute the paste with chicken stock to the desired consistency.
- Bring the stock to a boil and cook it until the paste loses its rawness.
- Add the fish and continue to cook on medium heat.
- Add the eggplants; cook until the fish and eggplants are fully cooked.
Add the herbs:
- Turn off the heat and add the fresh chilies, kaffir lime leaves and holy basil leaves.
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