Stir-Fried Crispy Catfish with Spicy Red Curry Paste
(ปลาดุกทอดกรอบผัดเผ็ด ; bplaa dook thaawt graawp phat phet)

Click to listen to the Thai name pronunciation Listen to the Thai name pronunciation
By: Hanuman

Curry shops are for the busy businessman and the hungry traveler a real must. They offer a selection of the most attractive and appetizing food you can think of. This is the Thai version of fast food, even faster than in the west.

So here is a wonderful little lunchtime dish that goes well with yet another bowl of steamy hot rice, that comes of directly from the curry shops common repertoire.

The catfish is crispy deep-fried and lightly toasted in freshly pounded aromatic red curry paste; it is simply seasoned with palm sugar and fish sauce and lifted up with fresh kaffir lime leaves.

This dish is extremely simple to make, with just few basic techniques you are inviting the Thai geniosity of using their of senses into your kitchen.

Stir Fried Crispy Catfish with Spicy Red Curry Paste Recipe

Yield: 3-4 servings
preparation time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 medium catfish (about 250-300g), cut into 3cm (1.5″) slices
  • Neutral taste oil for deep frying
  • 1/4 cup fresh holy basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh Thai red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin hair thick stripes
  • 1 long fresh red chili, cut into julienne strips


  1. Clean the catfish, cut it into 3cm (1.5″) slices, wash well and dry with paper towels.
  2. In hot oil, fry the holy basil leaves until crispy. A minute or two will do. Place on a paper towel to drain the oil. Set aside.
  3. Add more oil, and Deep-fry the catfish on a medium-high heat until golden and crispy. Set aside. Be careful, the oil is happily splattering, I like to use a splatter screen to protect.
  4. Remove the oil from the wok, and leave just 1-2 tablespoon of oil.
  5. Add the red chili paste and stir-fry quickly, as a final step of melting together all the flavors of the curry.
  6. Add about 1/4 cup of water and mix fast, until a thick sauce is formed.
  7. Season the sauce with fish sauce and palm sugar.
  8. Taste and adjust flavors. You should remember that commercial pastes are usually more salty than homemade.
  9. Add the deep fried catfish, and quickly toss it in the curry sauce. Do it quickly to retain its texture. You do not want it to get mushy.
  10. Add water if too dry, you want to have a wet sauce but not too runny.
  11. Add half of the amount of kaffir lime and the chilies julienne
  12. Stir-fry for last 20 seconds.
  13. Serve and garnish with crispy basil leaves and the rest of the kaffir lime leaves.
15 comments… add one
  • Avatar Paulitesse Apr 7, 2010, 11:57 pm

    Thank you so much for all your great work – and especially for this gorgeous dish! It is one of my all time favourites when eating out on the street. Up to now I could not find the recipe! THANK YOU!

  • Avatar surachai Apr 18, 2010, 4:20 pm


  • Avatar ธรรมรัตน์ Apr 18, 2010, 5:15 pm

    น่าจะทำเป็นภาษาไทยบ้างนะครับแล้วจะทำออกมาเป็นหนังสือ (ภาษาไทย) บ้างหรือป่าวครับ

  • Avatar fara Apr 18, 2010, 7:36 pm

    คนทำ web เป็งฝรั่งอะคะก็เห็นใจเค้า

  • Avatar abhirak Apr 19, 2010, 6:48 am

    i saw you on tv yesterday. you aer the great.

  • Avatar phasuk111 Apr 19, 2010, 7:16 am

    ขอบคุณครับ ชอบมากครับ เมนูนี้

  • Avatar กุ้ง Apr 19, 2010, 1:05 pm


  • Avatar somkiat Apr 20, 2010, 8:46 am

    Thanks very much ขอบคุณมากสำหรับอาหารจานนี้ น่ารัปประทานมาก ผมทราบข่าวคุณจากรายการ ฉันรักเมืองไทย คุณทำให้คนไทยที่ไม่รักแผ่นดินบ้านเกิดที่ได้ดู คงรู้สึกละอายแก่ใจบ้างแล้วหล่ะ

  • Avatar ไคยทน Apr 20, 2010, 9:11 am

    อายจัง ผมคนไทยแท้ๆ ยังไม่คิด ไม่พูด ไม่ทำ อย่างนี้เลย

  • Avatar อิน Apr 20, 2010, 11:10 am

    ชอบกินมาก ๆ เลย เมนู นี้ ^^
    เป็นกำลังใจให้ น๊ คร๊

  • Avatar alone May 1, 2010, 1:15 pm

    ชอบทำกับข้าวเหมือนกันนะค่ะ…..แต่ไม่นึกว่า จะทำให้มากกว่าความอร่อย….ยังมีอีกเยอะ..เมนูเหมือนกัน…แต่ความอร่อยไม่เหมือนกัน….

  • Avatar The Way Dec 14, 2010, 11:48 am

    ติดตามดูคุณหนุมานใน มาตลอด
    เพิ่งได้เห็นตัวจริงในวิดีโอ ฉันรักเมืองไทย…
    คุณเก่งมากๆ ครับ ดูแล้วภูมิใจในอาหารไทยมากครับ

  • Avatar SD May 14, 2013, 12:32 am

    I was forced to use a packaged red curry paste here in Israel, but this was still very delicious. Thanks!

  • Avatar Doreen Jan 23, 2015, 9:38 pm

    What is on the fish to make it crispy

    • Avatar Hanuman Feb 9, 2015, 9:36 pm

      mostly prolonged deep frying will do the job. However, you may wash the fish with the starch rich water left from washing the rice before cooking, sun dry the fish slices for couple of hours, dust it lightly with flour or soak it in Thai red pickling lime solution (น้ำปูนใส) – all to improve it’s crunchiness

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