Thai Food Recipe: Spicy Catfish Stirfry with Galingale

Phad Phed Pla Dook – Spicy Cat Fish Stir fry with Galingale


500g. cat fish (cut and clean, mix with 1 tsp. salt and deep fried)
1 handful sliced galingale (in long shape)
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 handful young pepper corn
1/2 cup fried basil (wait until the oil is very hot first, then throw the basil in)
1 cup cut eggplant and soak in salted water (help the surface it not to become dark)
2 tbsp. instant chili paste
1 tbsp. sliced chili pepper
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 tbsp. kaffir lime skin
1 tsp. minced galangal
1 tbsp. lemongrass
1 tbsp. sliced red onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic


Cooking Instructions:

1. Ground kaffir lime skin, galangal, lemongrass, red onion and garlic. After that, mix it with instant chili paste.

2. Next, heat the pan and add vegetable oil. Wait until the oil is hot then add chili paste from step 1.

3. When the chili paste has aromatic smell, add eggplants. If you like it medium cooked, then stir fry for 2 minutes. If you like it completely cook, you should stir fry it for 8 minutes.

4. Now, add some small amount of water, fish sauce and sugar.

5. Add fresh galingale, kaffir lime leave, crunchy cat fish, and chili peppers. Mix well.

6. Turn off the fire. Dress fried basil on top and serve with hot jasmine rice.


Food tips:

When you fry the cat fish, use max heat to heat up the oil first then lower it to medium. Slowly drop the fish into the hot oil and wait until the other is done. When it’s crunchy, you can flip it over. Don’t rush it, just take time and use medium heat.

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Thai Food Recipe: Yum Woon Sen (Spicy Glass Noodle Salad)

Yum Woon Sen - Mung Bean Noodle Spicy Salad, from Thailand.

Yum Woon Sen – Cellophane Mun Bean Noodle Spicy Salad


1/2 minced pork
1/2 cup seafood (optional)
1 cup mung bean noodles (bean thread noodles)
2 tbsp. sliced onion
2 tbsp. sliced tomato
3 tbsp. scallion (cut 1 inch)
3 tbsp. Chinese celery (cut 1 inch)
2 tbsp. chopped carrot
1/2 tsp. salt

Prepare sauce:

2 tbsp. chopped red chili pepper
1 pickled garlic (sliced) with 1 tbsp. juice
7 tbsp. lemon juice
5 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 crushed coriander roots


Cooking Instructions:

1. Boil minced pork and seafood in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes. Add salt.

2. While the pork is being cooked, soak mung bean noodles until it’s soft.

3. In a different pot, add water and wait until it’s boiling. Then, drop mung bean noodles and leave it for 3 seconds. Next, drain and leave it in a bowl.

4. Prepare the sauce, mix chopped red chili pepper, pickled garlic and its juice, lemon juice, fish sauce, crushed coriander roots and sugar altogether.

5. In the pot with minced pork, add the sauce from number 4 and mung bean noodle. Put Chinese celery, scallion, onion, tomato and carrot. Mix well.

6. Dress with lettuce, sliced cucumber and tomato.


Today at lunch, I made our Thai food favorite at our office, Yum Woon Sen, for the first time after a long time. I like to add a lot of vegetables and make it more sour and spicy than usual. The color is so red because I crushed the pepper real good. 🙂 To make it red like in the picture but keep the same spicy level, you should cut the red pepper in half and then throw away the seed. Some restaurants in Thailand use hot sauce to make it red, but I never try it. I think the hot sauce make Yum Woon Sen taste strange.


Note from Vern

I first had yum woon sen in Tampa, Florida at a Thai restaurant. I wanted to try something new because I had already bought my one-way ticket to fly to Thailand and I knew I was going to have to get used to the food. All I knew at the time was tom yum soup and pad Thai noodles! Well, the cook at the Thai restaurant knew to dumb it down for me a bit and take the spice out. They also made it a bit sweet for me, and not so sour. There was only like 1 chili cut up in mine.

I liked yum woon sen immediately. I was in for somewhat of a shock once I arrived in Thailand and got my first true Thai version of the dish. It was very spicy, very wet, and the vegetables were so perfectly done. It was so much better than it was in the USA. I love spicy food, and this was definitely spicy, but eventually I got used to it. If you’re afraid you might not get used to the level of spice in the country, I would say that you shouldn’t worry. Just tell everyone NO chilis. Mai ow prik na krup (na ka, if you’re a woman). It will STILL be spicy, because Thais just don’t know how to make anything that is supposed to have chilis – with at LEAST one chili in it, but you’ll get used to it and soon you’ll be eating it like me.

I like it so hot, that when they ask, I say, “Pedt silop suh lai.” It means, make it so hot that I fall into a coma. Sometimes they actually do make it that hot! Be careful what you ask for.

Come to Thailand and taste authentic Thai food! I’m trying to get Joy to teach classes to visitors that want to learn how to make a couple of dishes during their vacation. I hope she goes for it and quits her other job!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Isaan Food: Goong Dten Dancing Shrimp

Thai Isaan Food: Goong Dten – Dancing Shrimps


1 cup small (live) freshwater shrimp
5 cloves garlic (sliced)
2 lemongrass (sliced thinly)
1/2 cup peppermint
2 tbsp. sliced scallion
1 tbsp. sliced coriander
2 tbsp. sliced red onion
2 tbsp. roasted uncooked rice
2 tsp. dried pepper powder
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce


Cooking Instructions:

1. Clean freshwater shrimp very well.

2. Mix dried pepper powder, garlic, lemon juice, lemongrass, fish sauce, roasted uncooked rice together.

3. Add scallion, coriander, peppermint and red onion in the mixed sauce.

4. Now, put sauce and freshwater shrimp in a big bowl. Put a plate over top and shake it to make it mix well.

5. Lemon juice can be added more if you like sour food.


I know it is too sad to eat this Thai-Isaan food. When I was young I used to go out to the rice field with my mom. Our friends went out the river to fish and this small freshwater shrimps came into their net. They gave some to us. As we have Thai-Isaan blood, we cooked it this way and also we can put freshwater shrimp with egg to make omelet.

We eat almost everything! haha 🙂 One time people from a different country asked me “Do you eat butterfly?”

Hmm.. I’m not that hungry I think.

Note from Vern

The shrimp are baby shrimp. They are alive. They jump out of the hot spicy sauce when you remove the plate on top. It’s quite tasty if you can get over the barbaric aspect of it. I did, maybe too quickly!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Panaeng (Panang) Bped Yang Curry with Roasted Duck.

Panaeng Bped Yang

(Panaeng Curry with Roasted Duck)


3 cups sliced roasted duck

4 cups coconut milk


10 dried red chili peppers (big size)

3 tbsp. sliced lemongrass

1 tbsp. minced galangal

1 tsp. sliced kaffir lime skin

5 red chili peppers

4 red onions

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. roasted coriander seeds

1/2 tsp. roasted cumin

6 kaffir lime leaves

5 red and yellow chilies

2 tsp. palm sugar

1 cup sweet basil

1 / 2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. shrimp paste

10 small tomatoes

Cooking Instructions:

1. Grind all the paste ingredients together and finely.

2. Separate the coconut milk in half. The first half, boil it with the duck on low heat until the meat get soft. Remove from the stove when it’s ready.

3. Second part, put it in the pan and use medium heat. Add all the paste and keep stirring until it smells aromatic (take about 15).

4. After 15 minutes, add roasted duck, tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce, red chili peppers and sweet basil.

5. You may adjust the taste as the way you like, up to you.


Thai food has duck in many kinds of recipe, for example, duck in soup noodle, roasted duck with rice, duck spicy and sour salad. We love anything with tough meat really and duck meat has tough texture. Maybe, it’s just Thai Isaan people who love it. 🙂 We have one snack made of tamarind seed. We cook it in a hot pan without adding oil and wait until it’s burnt at the right level. When we eat, we crack the shell open and chew the hard seed inside. Some people can chew this all day, like my mom. Or… when you see a Thai person chewing ice after he or she finished the drink, you can tell he/she is from Isaan.

We love to chew tough food and hard stuff that’s why we have a big jaw. It’s the way you can tell if they are from north eastern of Thailand, flat noses, big cheek bones and big jaws. I blamed it on the sticky rice for causing my nose flat though. I’m very mad but I can’t stop eating it.

Haha! :p

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Som Tam Spicy Papaya Salad Thai

Som Tam (Spicy Papaya Salad), a Thai Favorite

Som Tam comes from the northeastern “Isaan” region of Thailand which is near the border of Laos. Residents eat this meal daily for lunch or dinner. It is usually accompanied by “Gai Yang” – barbequed chicken or pork and some condiments: cucumber, lettuce, and green beans. Som Tam Thai has peanuts, and dried baby shrimp. Som Tam is very delicious and my favorite Thai food! My husband has also grown to like it – he says it’s addictive.
Som Tam Recipe


2 cups coarsely graded unripe Papaya
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1-4 small red or green chilis
(in Isaan we often use 10 or more!)
2 garlic cloves
1 long squirt of fish sauce
1 lemon/lime (minao in Thai)
1/4 cup yardlong beans (green beans) if you wish
Dash of salt, sugar to preference (1 tsp)



1. Combine chili peppers, garlic, tomatoes, salt, sugar, with mortar and pestle. The sound of pounding the ingredients makes a bpok bpok noise. Some people call som tam, “Bpok Bpok”! Some parents in Thailand name their kid Bpok!

2. Squirt in some fish oil and squeeze the lemon juice into the mix. Add the papaya in small groups to make sure it mixes well.

When mixed thoroughly serve in a bowl. Rice is always served with this – the som tam is eaten with rice to take the spice out of it a bit, and just because Thai people eat LOTS of rice! Sticky rice (steamed rice) is the preferred rice in Isaan, but you can use boiled white Jasmine rice.

This video is of a night market close to Teung C. Muang park in Ubon Ratchathani in the northeast of Thailand (Isaan region). This woman is my favorite som tam maker. You can see her squeezing the “minao” (lemon/lime) and adding the papaya to the mortar and pestle. She makes HUNDREDS of these dishes everyday! > Som Tam Woman Video

Click here to watch how to make Som Tam video


Sawasdee Ka - Joy