Curried fish soup (Me ga thi)

Merrilees Parker's Laos soup is great fun to serve - it should be garnished by each diner according to their personal tastes
By Merrilees Parker
Curried fish soup (Me ga thi)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the soup

  • 1 tbsp chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp chilli and garlic in oil
  • 8 leaves limes, spines removed
  • 1 sticks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 cm peice of galangal, very finely chopped
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • small bunch coriander, roots intact
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 450 g white fish, (such as catfish, pollock or haddock), skinned and roughly chopped
  • 300 ml fish stock
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • small bunch of dill

To serve

  • 350 g white rice noodles, cooked and drained
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 4 spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely cut on the angle
  • handful coriander leaves
  • 75 g snake bean, or fine green beans, cut on the angle
  • 1 limes, cut into wedges
  • chilli sauce, to taste


1. For the soup: combine the chilli paste, chilli and garlic in oil, lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, coriander roots (keep the leaves for garnish) and 50ml of the coconut cream in a food processor or blender and blend to make a smooth paste.

2. Heat a large heavy-based saucepan to very hot, add the paste and cook for 3-4 minutes until darkened and aromatic.

3. Add the fish to the pan and cook it in the paste for about a minute, then pour over the fish stock, coconut milk and the remaining coconut cream.

4. Stir in the fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further minute.

5. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then pour into a blender (alternatively use a hand blender), add the dill and blend until smooth.

6. Return the soup to the pan, taste and add salt if necessary. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.

7. To serve: heat four large deep soup bowls and divide the noodles between them. Ladle over the piping hot soup then allow each person to add their own garnish of bean sprouts, spring onions, chillies, coriander leaves, snake beans (or green beans) and chilli sauce.

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