Special Thai Orange Fish Soup

Special Thai orange soup

D. Schmidt

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 21 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
492 Calories
8g Fat
76g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 492
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 92mg 31%
Sodium 2480mg 108%
Total Carbohydrate 76g 28%
Dietary Fiber 13g 48%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 239mg 1,196%
Calcium 357mg 27%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 1638mg 35%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This beautiful Thai soup makes a gracious addition to any table. Serve it as a special appetizer for a dinner party or just make it for dinner 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.


For the Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • 2 to 3 small to medium sole fillets, or snapper, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 10 medium shrimp, or other shellfish

  • 2 oranges, juiced, or about 1 cup prepared orange juice

  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste, or 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 cups greens

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths

  • 1 small zucchini, cut into matchstick pieces

  • 3 to 4 orange slices, cut in half

For the Paste:

  • 1 shallot, or 1/4 cup red onion

  • 1/2 to 1 chile pepper, or chile flakes, to taste

  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger root

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, or 1 extra teaspoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, plus more as needed

Steps to Make It

  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 for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans have softened.

  4. Add remaining vegetables, plus fish and shrimp. Simmer 2 to 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 the 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.

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