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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!