Thailand – Gaeng Som Pla

by Fauzan Anandika

Thailand is a country with a never-ending story. A place to adventure with a beautiful panoramic and friendly citizen. They are supported by a good tourist attraction that makes every visitor want to come back to Thailand again. Thailand becomes a popular destination because of its success in gastro diplomacy. They use their restaurant to present everything about Thailand. When we do some research, we can find Thai resto easily in many big cities in the world. What makes Thai restaurants create an impact is they able to bring a Thai atmosphere to every single Thai restaurant. They use its smell, decoration, how they greet their customer, and in their dish as well.   

Most of the food served with a side of warm rice. Thailand also proud of its rice, which has a sweet-smelling and fluffier texture. For a complete meal, they will serve 3 – 5 dishes that contain rice, soup, noodle, and beverages. Outside Thailand, we only knew Thai restaurants as one entity. Fact, there are four types of Thailand dishes base on their region. North, North East, Central, and South. Each region influence by Thailand’s neighboring countries. 

For those who love to eat curry dishes, South Thailand is the best choice. When visiting South Thailand, Gaeng Som Pla is the most popular dish in the area. Gaeng Som Pla is sour and spicy fish curry, using tamarind to create a tasty sour sensation and palm sugar to make it a little bit sweet. Gaeng Som Pla is easy to find in every Southern Thai restaurant, or you can cook it in your dinner at home. It’s quite easy for every mom to cook Gaeng Som Pla. You can find all the ingredients in a local grocery store. So prepare your note and start cooking.


  • 500-gram mackerel fillet
  • 10 grams of dried chili
  • 1 onion, cut into 4 part
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 clove of shallot
  • 5 clove garlic
  • 10 grams of Chinese ginger (finger foot), shredded.
  • 5 gram fermented shrimp paste
  • 100 ml of chicken broth, unsalted
  • 10 ml of fish sauce
  • 15 ml of tamarin juice
  • 20-gram palm sugar
  • 50 grams green papaya, thin sliced
  • 1 piece of carrot, sliced
  • 100 grams of long beans, cut into 2 cm size
  • 50 grams cabbage, chopped
  • 75 gram dried shrimp
  • 5 ml of lime juice

Coconut rice ingredient

  • 1-liter white rice
  • 1 young coconut, shredded 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 lemongrass, crushed
  • 4 glass of water

Rice preparation

  1. Wash clean white rice and place it in a rice cooker.
  2. Add shredded coconut, salt, bay leaf, lemongrass.
  3. Add water and stir slowly.
  4. Cook with a rice cooker.

How to cook

  1. Add dried chilies, garlic, shallot, salt, shrimp paste, and Chinese ginger into a food processor, blend until smooth.
  2. Prepare a cooking pot, add water and mackerel fillet, cook until tender.
  3. Put the mackerel in a mortar, mash it until smooth.
  4. Add mashed fish into a boiling pan and add mixture no 1.
  5. Add tamarind juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir slowly until mix perfectly.
  6. Add papaya and carrot, boil until tender enough.
  7. Add cabbage and long bean, boil for 2 minutes until softened.
  8. Add dried shrimp, cook for one more minute. 
  9. Turn the heat off
  10. Gaeng Som Pla ready to serve with warm coconut rice.
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