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Authentic Thai Fish Curry Recipe: Nam Ya Kati

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

Author: Mark Wiens ( Recipe type: Thai curry Cuisine: Thai Serves: 1 pot


For the curry

  • 800 grams barracuda fish (ปลาน้ำดอกไม้) - you can also use mackerel or skid

  • About 800 ml fresh coconut cream (หัวกะทิ hua kati)

  • About 1500 ml fresh coconut milk (หางกะทิ han kati)

  • all of the curry paste (ingredients below)

  • 2 tbsp salt (เกลือ)

  • 20 kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด)

NOTE: If you don't have fresh coconut milk, instead of using 800 ml, and 1500 ml, just use about 2 liters of coconut milk in a can or box with a little water. My favorite non-fresh coconut milk is AROY-D in a box.

For the curry paste:

  • pinch of salt (เกลือ)

  • 4 stalks lemongrass (ตะไคร้)

  • 2 fingers turmeric (about 40 grams (ขมิ้น)

  • 20 grams Thai dry chilies (it was about 100 chilies) พริกแห้ง

  • 1 head garlic (กระเทียม)

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (พริกไทย)

  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste (กะปิ)

Eat the curry with:

  • khanom jeen - 1 kg (เส้นขนมจีน) - these are fresh rice noodles common in Thailand, but you could use any kind of rice noodles or rice

  • deep fried chilies (พริกทอด)

  • lemon basil (ใบแมงลัก)

  • sweet basil (ใบโหระพา)

  • bean sprouts (ถั่วงอก)

  • Chinese long-beans (ถั่วฝักยาว แตงกวา)

  • Or you can use any kind of fresh raw vegetables or herbs

Instructions For the fish:

  1. Gut and clean the fish, then cut into medium sized pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil, then boil the fish for about 5 - 10 minutes until fully cooked.

  2. Remove the fish from the water, drain fully, and leave to cool.

  3. Once the fish is cool, carefully take off the skin and debone all the meat from the fish, and flake the fish in your fingers so it's almost like deboned minced fish. Discard the bones and skin.

  4. Set aside the fish for later.

For the curry paste:

  1. Cut off the ends of the lemongrass and tear off the outer few layers, then shave the lemongrass into small pieces. Cut the turmeric into small pieces as well.

  2. In a mortar and pestle (or alternatively a food processor), start with a pinch of salt, then pound the dry chilies first for about 10 minutes.

  3. Then add the lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, and peppercorns, and pound for about 30 minutes until a relatively smooth paste.

  4. Once the paste is pretty smooth, the final step is to add the shrimp paste, and pound and mix for another 5 minutes.

  5. Set aside.

For the curry:

  1. In a large pot or sauce pan, add all the coconut milk and curry paste, then turn on medium heat.

  2. Stir gently, and only in one direction, making sure all the curry paste dissolves into the coconut milk.

  3. Add the minced fish, season with salt, and tear the kaffir lime leaves in half and add them to the curry.

  4. Keep stirring in one direction, and once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat. You don't want the curry to boil strongly. Keep stirring gently for about 5 minutes once it comes to a boil.

  5. Taste test for flavor, you may need to add more salt. You're done.

Notes Khanom jeen nam ya (ขนมจีนน้ำยา) is typically eaten along with khanom jeen (ขนมจีน), fresh rice noodles, and garnished with raw vegetables and herbs. Alternatively you can eat it with any kind of noodles or I like to eat it with rice. Click here for more authentic Thai recipe.

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