• 1 Catfish (about half a pound prepared weight)
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbls. of kha (galangal-Ginger root), julienned
  • 1 Tbls. takhrai (lemon grass), thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbls. bai phak chi (coriander/cilantro leaves)
  • 1 Tbls. of prik ki nu daeng (red birdseye chilis), thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbls. fish sauce
  • 4 Tbls. lime juice.


Bring the stock to a simmer: add the galangal, lemon grass, coriander, chilis, fish sauce and lime juice, and bring to the simmer. Cut the cleaned boned fish into 1-inch chunks. Add the fish to the soup, add the coconut milk and bring back to a very gentle simmer, and poach the fish 3 to 4 minutes (until just cooked).

In Thailand the fish is cleaned, and then poached whole (with the head), then removed from the soup, and cut into bite sized pieces which are returned to the soup for serving. The method here is a little simpler, in that it doesn't involve handling the hot fish. The catfish can be "crisped" by quickly, and briefly, deep frying it in very hot oil. Thais eat the galangal, which is cut into thin match stick pieces. However, I have noticed that many western diners prefer to discard the galangal and so it may be wiser to leave the galangal in thin slices. Similarly the lemon grass is eaten, but you may prefer to cut it into 2-inch lengths and crush them with a mallet. These then may be discarded by the diner. Enjoy..

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: A Thai Cooking Lesson
Submitted By: Eileen Werth
Tom Kha Pladuk- Catfish Soup