Gang Som: Savory Sour Soup

Makes 3 to 4 servings


½ teaspoon salt

12 dried de arbol chiles, soaked in warm water, dried and minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

1 teaspoon red miso or shrimp paste

Pound together with mortar and pestle and set aside.



8 cups water

¼ cup chili paste

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons fish sauce

½ cup palm sugar

¾ cup tamarind puree


Main ingredients:

You can use a variety of seasonal vegetables (your choice) for this recipe.

1 cup each of 4 kinds of vegetables with different textures such as sliced okra, summer or winter squashes, eggplants, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, squash blossoms, arugula, spinach, beet greens, cabbage, Chinese mustard greens.

½ pound or about 1 cup delicate fish fillets such as trout or freshwater bass, cut in bite size pieces

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the chili paste, salt, fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste.
  3. Taste and adjust for a pleasing balance of salty, sour and slightly sweet and spicy. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fish and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Add the fish and stir. Cook for a minute or two until it is cooked. Turn off the heat and serve. Serve with cooked red or white rice.