This recipe is for the gaeng som (orange curry) that you’ll find in Bangkok, which gets its sourness from tamarind concentrate.






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (5 votes)


  • 750 ml (25½ fl oz/3 cups) chicken stock or water
  • 150 g (5½ oz) barramundi fillet, finely sliced
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 300 g (10½ oz) banana prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • mixed vegetables, such as snake (yard-long) beans, Chinese cabbage (wombok), white asparagus and okra (see Note)
  • steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Sour curry paste

  • 8 small red shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped galangal
  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1¼ tbsp gapi (fermented shrimp paste)
  • large pinch of fine sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. First, make the curry paste. Combine all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and pound into a fine paste.
  2. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the curry paste and stir until combined. Add the barramundi, allow to return to the boil and season with tamarind concentrate, palm sugar and fish sauce.
  3. Add the prawns and cook, without stirring, for 3–5 minutes (it’s important not to stir, as the stock will have an overwhelming seafood taste otherwise). Add the vegetables and cook until tender; if using cabbage or leafy greens, add them once the other vegetables are cooked. Check for seasoning – the curry should be sour, salty and spicy – and serve with steamed jasmine rice.



The amount of vegetables you include in this curry depends on your personal preference, so you can make it as vegetable-heavy as you like. We don't recommend overcrowding the broth.


Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99