Bangkok, Thailand

Somsamorn´s Pad Cha Pla Duk | Spicy stir fried fish



  • 1,2 Kg Catfish (a freshwater fish)
  • 10 “Prik kee noo” or “Bird´s eye” Chilis (If you like it spicier, use more)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons red chili paste
  • 100 – 150 ml Cooking oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • about 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 5 sprigs fresh green pepper
  • A handful of fingerroot (peel, then cut into small strips)
  • Two handful of tree basel leaves
  • 2 teaspoons glutamate (MSG)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 150 ml Wasser
  • 100 grams of salt to wash the fish
  • Mortar


Remove the catfish from the head and its innards and cut into 2cm thick slices. The skin is cooked with it, but not eaten. Place the fish pieces in a large bowl of cold water. Now add 100 grams of salt to the water and wash the fish clean with kneading movements and the salt. The salt in the water will loosen the mucus from the fish. Rinse the fish several times under clear water and then set it aside.

Break off the stems from the chilies and tear out the middle stem from the kaffir lime leaves. Neither will be eaten. Wash the chilies, fingerroot, green pepper and kaffir lime leaves thoroughly under cold water. Tear the kaffir lime leaves into small pieces.  Rinse the tree basel leaves carefully under cold water, they are a bit more delicate. 

Now put the chilies in a mortar and grind coarsely. Do not make a paste just crush them. Once the chillis are crushed into small pieces, add the red curry paste and mix it all together to form a paste. 

Now heat the oil in a wok and then add the paste from the mortar into the hot oil. Stir the paste now again and again, so that it combines with the oil. Now add the salt to the wok and stir. After a short time (2-5 minutes) the curry paste will smell delicious. Now add the fish to the wok. The temperature can now be reduced a little, but should still be high. Put 150 ml of water in the mortar and dissolve the remaining curry paste. Now add the water to the fish in the wok. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the kaffir lime leaves and stir. After another two minutes, add the fingerroot and green peppercorns. After stirring, add the palm sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce and MSG. Mix everything together well.

Let it simmer for another 5 minutes at low temperature. Just before serving, add the Tree Basel leaves, stirring only once so as not to crush the leaves. The dish can now be served with rice.

Enjoy your meal!

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