Minced-Bird Curry with Fish (ปลาช่อนแกงนก; Bplaa Chaawn Gaaeng Nohk)

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Lady Plean Passakornrawong’s historic, first-ever recipe for minced-bird curry with snakehead fish revives the old minced-bird curry syle. The fish is minced and cooked with the curry paste, producing a hearty and comforting thick-textured curry.


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More garlic than shallots
White peppercornsKaffir lime zest
Coriander seeds
Summary of the curry paste differences from a regular gaaeng khuaa paste
Minced-Bird Curry with Fish (ปลาช่อนแกงนก; Bplaa Chaawn Gaaeng Nohk)
Lady Plean Passakornrawong’s historic, first-ever recipe for minced-bird curry with snakehead fish revives the old minced-bird curry syle. The fish is minced and cooked with the curry paste, producing a hearty and comforting thick-textured curry.
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Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Curry
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4


  • 1 snakehead fish (ปลาช่อน) small and fat
  • kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (หางกะทิ)
  • 2 cups Thai basil (ใบโหระพา)

*For the paste:

  • 10 dried red long chili (phrik chee fa) (พริกชี้ฟ้าแห้ง) dehydrated
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass (ตะไคร้) thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons galangal (ข่า) thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander roots (รากผักชี) scraped, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย) thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons shallots (หอมแดง) thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (kapi)(กะปิย่างไฟ) grilled
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns (พริกไทย) (S1) roasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (malet phak chee) (เมล็ดผักชี) (S2) roasted and ground


  • 1 1/2 Parts fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
  • 1/2 Parts palm sugar (น้ำตาลมะพร้าว)


  • Clean the snakehead fish and remove its internal organs.
  • Using a sharp knife, debone the snakehead fish.
  • Mince the meat on a cutting board.

Ruaan (รวน) the fish meat:

  • Start by wet-roasting the minced fish with small amount of liquids and hand-torn kaffir lime leaves. This process, known as ruaan, helps remove unwanted odors. Cook the fish until done, then strain and discard the kaffir lime leaves and any cooking liquids. Set aside.

Prepare the curry paste:

  • An overview of the curry paste ingredients. (excluding the dry spices).
  • Roast and grind the spices, starting with the white peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg and star anise. The spices are ground separately and kept separate until they are used in the dish.
  • De-seed and rehydrate the dried chilies in hot water.
  • Pound the curry paste, starting with the chilies and salt.
  • Gradually add the other ingredients, from the driest to the wet. Pound the paste until it is smooth with a rounded aroma. After pounding the chilies, add the lemongrass and galangal.
  • Add the coriander root.
  • Add the shallots and garlic.
  • Add the dried spices, and pound to a smooth paste. Start with the ground white peppercorns (S1).
  • Add the roasted and ground coriander seeds.
  • Add the fermented shrimp paste (kapi) and continue pounding until a rounded aroma is achieved.
  • Remove the curry paste and set it aside. Wash the mortar and pestle with about one cup of plain water and reserve the liquids.

Cook the curry:

  • In a brass wok, heat the coconut cream until it thickens and oil appears. Scoop out a small portion to drizzle on top of the finished curry.
  • Add the curry paste.
  • Add the minced fish meat and mix well.

Cooking the curry:

  • Dilute the curry with coconut milk or chicken stock to your liking. Cover and cook until the fish oil rises to the surface.


  • Season to a salty leading with a sweet floor flavor profile – and taste before seasoning! Start by seasoning the salty element using fish sauce.
  • When you are satisfied with the saltiness, add palm sugar at the ratio indicated.

Adding the herbs:

  • Add the young chilies.
  • Turn off the heat before adding the Thai basil. Spread the Thai basil equally on top of the curry and gently push it into the broth, allowing it to wilt down. Do not stir vigorously!

Plate and serve:

  • Put the curry into a serving bowl and serve!
Keyword Ancient Thai curry (แกงไทยโบราณ)
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It is truly brilliant with a revolutionary approach introducing aspects and concepts never broached by cookbooks.
Ian Westcott
Ian Westcott
Sourcing Wines for Discerning Private Clients
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