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Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยา

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยาFor the most part on this blog, I’ve stuck to making dishes that you can find in Thai restaurants here in the States.  But now, allow me to introduce you to a Thai dish that I have rarely seen in American establishments. 

It’s a fish curry which is eaten over a bed of thin rice noodles and accompanied by fresh vegetables, lemon basil, and hard boiled eggs (khanom jeen nam ya/ขนมจีนน้ำยา).  With all of these accompaniments, it’s not your traditional Thai curry by any means, but it’s exactly these side items that make this dish so special.  Here in the States, some of the ingredients require a little detective work to track down, but the payoff in the end is totally worth it.

The curry itself calls for an herb named fingerroot (krachai/กระชาย).  Fingerroot is a relative of ginger, but has a slightly less spicy, more robust flavor.  I’ve found it frozen at local Asian markets and also heard that it can be found pickled as well.  This rhizome is mixed with red curry paste to form the basis of the curry. 

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยาAnother essential ingredient in this dish is lemon basil.  It’s served alongside the curry and imparts a bright almost lemongrassy taste to the dish, without which it would just not be the same (although I have to admit we’ve eaten it without this and it’s still delicious – but definitely not the same).  Long beans and bean sprouts are also among the vegetables generally served alongside this curry after blanching for a few seconds.  And, of course, a hard boiled egg accompanies the dish because, if I may make a blatant generalization, Thai people seem to love eggs. 

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยาThe curry and all of its accompaniments are served on top of very thin rice noodles called khanom jeen.  If you can’t find khanom jeen in your local Asian market, the more readily available Japanese somen noodles are a good substitute.  The curry is normally ladled right on top of the noodles and then you can pile the vegetables you want on top. 

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยาEach mouthful is filled with flavors of a robust fish curry, fresh vegetables, and a pop of lemon basil.  It’s absolutely delicious and so different from what is typically served at restaurants here in the States.  So if there’s one Thai dish that you haven’t heard of before but are willing to take a risk and make, make this one! 

 

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยา

Makes 3-4 servings

Noodles with Fish Curry | Khanom Jeen Nam Ya | ขนมจีนน้ำยา

Ingredients

    Fish Curry Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 Tablespoons krachai, chopped finely
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cooked white fish (pomfret or tilapia work well)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Noodles and Toppings:
  • 10 ounces cooked khanom jeen (or somen) noodles
  • 10 sprigs lemon basil
  • 1/2 cup long beans, blanched
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, blanched
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

Instructions

  1. Pound the krachai with a mortar and pestle until it's broken down. Add the red curry paste and pound together with the krachai until it forms a nice smooth paste again.
  2. Heat 1/3 cup of the coconut cream (the coconut milk from the top of an un-shaken can) over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Add the curry-krachai paste and stir until it's soaked up all of the coconut cream.
  3. Add the rest of the thinner coconut milk (2/3 cup) and water to the mixture, stir to incorporate, and then allow the curry to cook undisturbed for a few minutes.
  4. While it's cooking, pound your cooked fish in the mortar and pestle until it's finely shredded. Add this to the curry and cook for a minute or two longer. Taste and then add fish sauce and sugar as needed.
  5. Serve on top of khanom jeen noodles with a hard boiled egg, quickly blanched vegetables, and a sprig of lemon basil on the side. Mix everything together and enjoy!

Recipe inspired by ThaiTable.com

5 comments… add one
  • Auspice June 28, 2013, 1:18 am

    Just got back from Thailand and was happy to find your site. I’m making the tea right now and will try this later.

  • Rachel October 3, 2011, 8:30 am

    Hi Alex – nice to hear that this dish is on a restaurant menu!

  • Sarah October 1, 2011, 10:57 am

    This looks incredible. I love Thai food but rarely make it because it never comes out the way I remember in Thailand, mostly because I lack a few core ingredients.

  • Alex September 30, 2011, 12:15 pm

    We just put this on the menu at the restaurant where I work! I had trouble understanding the description of the dish before but now I do, thanks!

  • Noi September 28, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I have been craving for khanom Jeen Numya for forver. I will try this recip this weekend.Thanks Rachel!!

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