Superb Soups

Fish egg soup with lemongrass and galangal

Fish egg soup with lemongrass and galangal |

This is a simplified version of the Thai Tom Yam Kai Pa. By simplified, I mean I did not have some of the traditional ingredients so I just omitted them. I don’t know how much difference the omission of kaffir leaves and pickled bamboo made but my fish egg soup turned out very well — spicy, citrusy and, with the sprinkling of cilantro just before serving, wonderfully aromatic. If you’re not a fan of fish eggs — though I hope you are because they’re just incomparable — you can always use fish fillets or even a combination of fish and fish eggs just like what I did in an older fish eggs soup recipe.

Serves 3.

Ingredients :

3 fish eggs in sacs (about 400 grams total)
1 tsp. of crushed galangal
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 tbsp. of tamarind pulp
patis (fish sauce), to taste
3-4 chilis (I used finger chilis or siling haba — I was too chicken to use siling labuyo)
a bunch of cilantro

Cooking procedure :

In a pot, boil about five cups of water. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

From the root ends, cut about 2 to 3 inches of the lemongrass stalk. Discard the upper portion; you only need the light-colored portion from the root ends. Crush the stalks (the side of a cleaver, a rolling pin or a pestle) then thinly slice.

Cut three (ring) slices of ginger about 1/4 inch thick and dice.

When the water boils, add the ginger, lemongrass, galangal and tamarind pulp. Season with patis. Add the fish eggs, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about five minutes and no longer. The fish eggs should still be soft inside when served.

To serve, place one fish egg in an individual bowl, cover with broth and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.


1The original recipe does not include ginger but, in my experience, ginger and lemongrass go very well together. Insofar as this soup went, I was right. :)

2If fresh tamarind is not available from which to get the pulp, substitute about a teaspoonful of powdered sinigang mix.

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