Grandma Surprises Us with Spicy Thai Red Ant Egg Soup!

Thai Soup - Spicy Red Ant Egg Soup - Thailand Specialty Cuisine
It was an amazing dinner two nights ago. We thought we were going out to eat because grandma didn’t give us forewarning, but, she had secretly made one of our Thai favorites – Spicy Red Ant Egg Soup!

We sat all sat down, and with the exception of our little girl, Mali, dove in and enjoyed it!

This is a traditional Isaan (northeastern) Thai soup that grandma said she first had when she was about three-years-old. Though we haven’t started to give our five-year-old daughter any spicy Thai food yet, those that grew up in the northeast have been eating it since they were babies. I have seen kids as young as 2-3 years old eating spicy food here. I don’t know if it’s right. The kids aren’t crying, they enjoy it I guess. Maybe they don’t understand pain in the same way we do in the USA. Lol. In the US, we think anything spicy hurts. Maybe they look at it differently in Thailand? Not sure.

The ant eggs come from the red weaver ants from the genus,Oecophyllaร‚ย that weave a nest of silk for their egg development. These nests are easy to spot, but not easy to reach in most cases. If you try to cut the branch a nest is hanging from, the red weaver ants quickly cover your arm and body and bite and hang on! Not very fun, I can assure you.

Here is a weaver ant nest full of eggs that I took a photo of the other day.

Red weaver ant (genus Oecophylla) nest full of eggs for Thai soup in Southern Thailands Krabi province.

And, here is a video Joy made about our spontaneous Thai spicy red ant (weaver ants) egg soup that you can see below. Our daughter had something wonderful to say about the soup – listen close for it.

Gang Som Naw Mai Dong (Spicy Bamboo Soup)

Gang Som Naw Mai Dong - spicy bamboo soup, a Thai favorite.

Gang Som Naw Mai Dong – Spicy Bamboo Soup


5 chilis
6 red onions (sliced)
3 lemongrass stalks (finely cut)
3 scallions (cut short, about 1″)
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. fish sauce
1 pound chicken breast (cut thick)
1.5 pound pickled bamboo shoots
1/2 cup basil
2 cups water



1. Make paste by mixing peppers, cut lemongrass, red onion and chop it in the blender.

2. Put 2 cups of water in the pot, and use high heat. Then add the paste from step 1 along with 1 tsp. of salt.

3. Wait until the water has boiled, then put chicken breast, pickled bamboo shoots, and 6 tbsp. of fish sauce.

4. Cook for 8-10 minutes with high heat.

5. Turn off the fire, add scallion and basil.

6. Serve over Jasmine rice. Your rice is important, there are many varieties. Usually if you buy expensive Jasmine rice in the Asian market you’ll get the better rice.

This is another of my husband’s favorite recipes. It is a spicy and sour soup that is served over rice. The smell of the pickled bamboo and the lemongrass and basil altogether is almost overwhelming. It’s incredibly delicious and a Thai favorite.

My Video of Gang Som Naw Mai Dong!

If you have suggestions for what you’d like us to cook, please write me at the contact link above.

We will try to bring you a Thai Food Recipe and Cooking article everyday! Make sure you view some of the videos too! At some point we’ll put all the videos – in better quality of course, on a CD-ROM and offer them for sale.

Ok, Merry Christmas!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Potash Preserved Eggs in Spicy & Sour Salad (Yum Kai Jeauw Maa)

Potash preserved eggs in Thailand.

Potash Preserved Eggs with Spicy and Sour Salad, Yum Kai Jeauw Maa


Potash preserved egg insides from Thailand.


2 eggs that were preserved in potash or ammonia (Kai Jeauw Maa)
1 cup crumb
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. wheat flour

2 cups vegetable oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. minced chili pepper
1/4 cup sliced ginger
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup sliced scallion


Cooking Instructions:

1. Cut the eggs into 4 pieces.

2. Mix wheat flour with water. Dip the egg into it and roll it over the crumbs.

3. Fry the eggs in hot vegetable oil until it turn gold. Rest it in the strainer.

4. Next, mix fish sauce, lemon juice, chili pepper and sugar together.

5. Add ginger, red onion and scallion then pour the sauce over fried eggs.


Here is another Yum Kai Jeauw Maa recipe;


3 Kai Jeauw Maa (cut into 4 pieces)
2 tbsp sliced lemon grass
2 tbsp. roasted peanut
3 tbsp. cut red onion
2 tbsp. cut chili pepper
1 tbsp. cut lemon (don’t peel)
2 tbsp. dried small shrimp
1 tbsp. chili paste for Tom Yum
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. sliced scallion
1 tbsp. sliced coriander

When you cook, just mix all the ingredients together and make it taste the way you like. Pour it over the egg. Let sour and spicy taste lead all other tastes, that way we call it Yum. You don’t have to cook the egg at all because it was already cook at the preservation process. What if you like it harder, boil it for 5 minutes before you peel off the shell.

Kai Jeauw Maa literally means eggs and horse’s urine. Hope that it won’t ruin your appetite. I never eat it because of the name until I turned to 20 years old. Since I tried it, I couldn’t stop eating it! Haha ๐Ÿ™‚

It is so funny how the name and its color can ruin our appetite. I have just known why my uncle told me the name when they show me this recipe at someone’s wedding. It was because he didn’t want us, young children, to grasp all of Kai Jeauw Maa away from him. That way, he cut out all the rivals at the table because Kai Jeauw Maa tastes so good!

Anyway, don’t worry. The preservation process doesn’t have anything to do with horse’s urine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanted to scare you. hahaha

Hope you can find Kai Jeauw Maa in Asian market.

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Tom Yum Gai Tom Yum

Tom Yum Gai (Spicy Sour Chicken Soup)

Tom Yum Gai Tom Yum – Spicy Thai Chicken Soup



1/2 pound chicken breast
1 cup straw mushrooms
1 cup water
1 lemon grass (cut 2 inches)
4-6 kaffir lime leaves
3 small red onions cut into quarters
2 medium to large tomato
2 pieces galangal
2 tbsp. fish sauce
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sugar (optional)
2-8 red and/or green chili peppers
1 tbsp. tom yum soup paste
1/2 cup celery (cut 1 inch)
1/4 cup coriander (cut 1 inch)


Cooking Instructions:

1. Boil 1 cup of water. In boiling water, put peppers, galangal, lemongrass and salt.

2. Put chicken in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add mushroom chili paste and cook it for 5 minutes. Then, put tomato, onion, fish sauce and boil for another 2 minutes. Turn off the fire.

4. Put Chinese celery, kaffir lime leaves and coriander.

For presentation you can garnish with coriander and red chili pepper. Thai people usually eat this with a bowl of rice. They take a spoonful of soup and mix it with their rice or a spoon of rice and dip it into their TOM YUM soup. There are many kinds of Tom Yum Soup – just exchange shrimp, squid, or even pork for the chicken. Enjoy, this is one of Thailand’s favorite dishes.


Note by Vern

Of all the Thai dishes available, you have probably at least tasted tom yum soup – probably with shrimp in it. I first had it around twenty years ago and my mind was opened to the amazing tastes of Thailand in a little restaurant in Clearwater, Florida. When we go to restaurants in Thailand we get the choice to have the thick red soup, or the naam sai – the clear broth. We almost always get the traditional clear broth variety. I can’t even remember the name of the thick orange one. I love it too – but, when I’m paying for it, I guess I want the ultimate – the clear broth tom yum!

Types of Tom Yum Soup:

  • tom yum gai (chicken)
  • tom yum talay (seafood)
  • tom yum goong (shrimp)
  • tom yum moo (pork)
  • tom yum hed (mushroom)
  • vegetarian tom yum – thick with mushrooms, tomatoes, maybe something else

Keep in mind, this is Vern writing this, so I’m sure I’ve missed some. These are the ones I typically see at restaurants and at our home. Grandma likes to make the vegetarian tom yum as she doesn’t eat chicken or beef and maybe not shrimp either.

Tom yum, when it is made correctly is not a completely overpowering taste. You can taste the galangal, the lemongrass, the shrimp. It has salt, but not over salty. The ingredients you cannot eat – are ground up very finely (except the galangal) and usually it sinks to the bottom of the bowl so you don’t get it in your spoon as you eat. The shrimp in Thailand have the tails left on them for some reason. This is a pain because you can either wrestle with removing it from the tail with your fork and spoon, or grab it with your thumb and forefinger and pull with your fork. It’s messy.

Tom yum is really a favorite in Thailand, and every time I’m at a restaurant I see someone eating something with tom yum flavor. There are noodles and other dishes that are made with tom yum seasoning.

Come to Thailand and see what Thai food is really all about!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Yum Pla Dook Foo (Fried Catfish in Spicy and Sour Salad)

Yum Pla Dook Foo -ร‚ย Fried Catfish in Spicy and Sour Salad


1 grilled catfish
2 cups vegetable oil
bread crumbs

Salad Mix:
1 handful shredded raw mango
4 tbsp. thinly sliced shallot
6 red chili peppers
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. palm sugar + 1 tbsp hot water
4 cloves garlic
3 coriander roots
2 tbsp. thinly sliced lemongrass

1/2 cup roasted peanut or cashew nuts
1 branch coriander (cut out the root)

Cooking Instructions:

Prepare the fish
Now that we have grilled fish. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to buy it at Somtam stand near my house to save time. Many Thai people eat their Somtam with grilled catfish. Baking would be ok too I guess. The point is to have the fish meat dry so it will be easier when we fry.

Peel of the skin and bone. Leave its head, middle bone and tail for decoration. Separate the meat. Now, mince the meat finely and then crush it to make sure that the meat will rise beautifully. ๐Ÿ˜€

Then, spread the meat on a big plate and let it dry. (If not, the meat will whole vegetable oil too much and won’t rise.)

After that, mix the meat with bread crumbs. (3 tbsp. fish meat/5tbsp. bread crumbs)

Add a little bit of vegetable oil into the bread crumbs mix. This will make the bread stick better to the meat.

Then, heat the pan, add vegetable oil and wait until the the pan get very very hot. Fry the mix in small portion (3/5 as mentioned above). Remove when the mix turn yellow. Place it on top to the fish body which we have already separated from the very first step.

Making salad and spicy sour sauce
Finely crushed chili peppers, garlic and coriander roots altogether. Put it into a big bowl. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, lemon juice and mix well. Taste it the way you like. The way I like must have all 3 tastes balance well together.

Try adding with 1:1:1 (fish sauce: lemon juice: sugar). Keep adding until you get the right taste but start from a very small amount.

Add shredded mango, shallot, roast peanut and mix well. Pour the salad sauce on top of the fried fish and place coriander on the top. You make also decorate it the way you like. ๐Ÿ™‚