the appetizer:

The Elements of Life: A Contemporary Guide to Thai Recipes and Traditions for Healthier Living by Su-Mei Yu, includes excerpts and recipes like Thai Curries; Jungle Soup Gaeng Paa; Almond Milk; Stir-Fried Okra; and Ceviche, Thai Style Plah Pla.

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Jungle Soup Gaeng Paa


Jungle Soup
Gaeng Paa

Makes 4 servings


This seasoning paste is a perfect balance of opposite elements: Earth and Wind. Warming herbs and spices, the tastes and flavors of the Wind element, are natural protectors of the respiratory and digestive systems.


In a mortar, pound 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the garlic into a paste. Add the dried chiles, ground pepper, and 6 slices of the galangal and pound until incorporated and reduced to a paste. Add the minced shallot and pound to incorporate. (This will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for 2 weeks.)

Bring the water to a boil. Add the chile paste, the remaining galangal, the slightly pounded shallots, lemongrass, krachai, if using, lime leaves, and fresh chiles. When the broth returns to a boil, add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the fish sauce. Cover; reduce the heat to low, and let the broth simmer for 7 minutes. Add the eggplants, cover; increase the heat to medium-low, and cook for another 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover; and cook for another 7 minutes, then add the fish. As soon as the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes, add the parsley and basil. Serve with hot white, brown, or red rice.


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This page created August 2010