Australian chef and Thai food expert David Thompson shares his take on a seafood specialty in Southern Thailand. This curry is filled with fragrance from galangal, lemongrass, turmeric and makrut lime leaves.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (56 votes)


  • 250 ml (1 cup) light chicken stock or water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream, plus extra, to serve
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 5 slices galangal (see Note)
  • 2 makrut lime leaves, torn
  • 8 large green prawns, peeled, cleaned
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, plus extra, to serve
  • 3 red bird's-eye chillies, bruised
  • steamed rice, to serve


Gaeng gati curry paste

  • 6 dried red chillies, seeded, soaked in water, drained
  • 3 red bird's-eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated galangal
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated turmeric (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp grated krachai (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp Thai shrimp paste (gapi) (see Note)

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.


Resting time 30 minutes

To make the curry paste, using a mortar and pestle, grind all ingredients with a pinch of salt to a paste. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Place stock, 125 ml coconut cream, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp sugar, lemongrass, galangal and makrut lime leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add prawns and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until just cooked. Remove prawns, reserving the cooking liquid, then, using a mortar and pestle, mash them. Set aside.

Return liquid to the boil, add remaining 125 ml coconut cream, then simmer for a minute. Work in 2 tbsp gaeng gati curry paste and simmer for a minute or so. Add prawns and season with remaining 1 tsp sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and chillies. Simmer for a few minutes or until curry is rich, creamy and slightly dry.

Pour curry into a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes. It should taste hot, salty, rich and creamy. Drizzle with extra coconut cream and lime juice, then serve with rice. This dish is best warm, but you can reheat it if you like.



• Galangal and fresh turmeric are available from greengrocers and Asian food shops.

• Krachai, also called wild ginger, is from select greengrocers and Asian food shops. Substitute pickled krachai, also from Asian food shops.

• Thai shrimp paste (gapi) is available from Thai and select Asian food shops.


Photography Armelle Habib