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Thai Orange Fish Soup (Hot & Sour)

User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Thai Orange Soup
This beautiful soup is similar to hot & sour soup, only better! In Thai, it's known as "Geng Som Pla" - which actually means "Orange Fish Curry" - an ancient recipe from the Central Plains region of Thailand. It is a fiery-hot soup with both sour and sweet overtones that make for a lively combination, especially when paired with your choice of fish and/or seafood. Plenty of fresh local vegetables are another characteristic of this wonderfully healthy Thai soup. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 21 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2(main dish)/4(starter)


  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 2-3 small to medium fillets of sole, snapper, or any "white" fish, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 10 medium shrimp OR other shellfish
  • juice of 2 oranges, OR about 1 cup prepared orange juice
  • 2 tsp. tamarind paste (available at Asian/Indian food stores) OR 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. palm OR brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 cups baby bok choy or other Chinese greens, chopped if leaves are large
  • handful cherry tomatoes
  • handful green beans, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 small zuchini, cut into matchstick-like pieces
  • 3-4 fresh orange slices, cut in half
  • PASTE: (blend in food processor, OR mince by hand)
  • 1 shallot OR 1/4 cup purple onion
  • 1/2-1 fresh red chili OR chili flakes to taste
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. shrimp paste, OR 1 extra tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • generous handful fresh coriander (+ extra for later)


  1. Make the soup paste, either by mincing and stirring all paste ingredients together by hand, OR by placing paste ingredients in food processor and processing well.
  2. Warm a medium-size soup pot over high heat.  Drizzle vegetable oil in the bottom then add the paste you just made.  Stir-fry 1-2 minutes to release the fragrance, then add stock, orange juice, tamarind or lime, and sugar. When soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the firmer of the vegetables: the beans and "whiter" parts of the Chinese cabbage, if using. Simmer to 4-5 minutes, or until beans have softened.
  4. Add remaining vegetables, plus fish and shrimp. Simmer 2-3 minutes, until fish has turned firm and opaque-white and shrimp are pink and plump.  Finally, add the fish sauce. Tip: Don't over-stir at this point, as this will cause fish pieces to break up.
  5. Remove soup from the heat and do a taste-test. It should be spicy, salty, and sour with overtones of sweetness. Increase flavor/saltiness by adding more fish sauce (if it's too salty for your taste, add more lime juice); then work on adjusting the sour-sweetness balance. Exactly how sour or sweet your soup tastes will depend on the sweetness of your oranges/orange juice, and the strength of your tamarind paste/lime juice which is quite sour. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. more brown sugar, as needed, OR up to 1/4 cup more orange juice (if juice is sweet). For a richer soup, add up to 1/2 cup coconut milk. If you'd like more spice and flavor, add a dollop or two of Thai chili sauce.
  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Add several half-slices of orange to each bowl, then sprinkle over the fresh coriander.  (Note: Noodles can also be added).  ENJOY!
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Better than Hot & Sour Soup!!!, Member fwmosher

The temperature here in our part of Nova Scotia was cool today, so i said to myself: ""Self, why not try Ms. Schmidt's new soup recipe, Special Sour Orange Soup."" And I did, verbatim! Didn't have to change any taste sense, it was perfect as written. My better half and I,(the husband) both love Hot & Sour Soup which of course, is mainly a Chinese recipe. This soup in our humble opinion, is even better, because laden with orange juice and orange slices, nutritionally, it is far superior. Wait for a cold day, and just do it! You will definitely be impressed as will whomever you serve it to!!

25 out of 25 people found this helpful.

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