Spicy Vegetable Soup - Gang Liang แกงเลียง

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spicy vegetable soup spicy vegetable soup

Of all the dishes, this is probably the same soup that the Thais ate 1000 years ago, before the introduction of the chili peppers and many other non-Thai vegetables.  The vegetables are native and grown locally.  The meat in the dish is fish which so core to Thai cooking. 

When we made this recipe 10 years ago, the availability of the ingredients was not what it is today.  Loofah was unheard of.  Now, we can get fresh loofah and lemon basil at farmers markets.  For tum leung (as known in Thailand) tindora leaves or  ivy gourd leaves are still not widely available.  So, we adjust the recipe to reflect today’s availability. 

The soup is said to be good for nursing mother because it is supposed to increase milk production. But the soup is not reserved for nursing mothers.  This is an everyday soup with simple ingredients available in Thailand, fish, shrimp paste, Chinese keys, ivy gourd (tum leung) and lemon basil.  

4 Servings, Prep Time: 20 Minutes, Total Time: 30 Minutes

Tips and Techniques

  • This recipe is made with dried shrimp.  But fresh white fish or dried smoked fish is also used.  You can also substitute bonito flakes for the dried smoked fish.
  • Other vegetables that you can add are green beans, mushroom, kabocha squash and baby corn. 
  • But there is no way around the lemon basil. It makes the dish.
  • Yellow flesh squash like delicata squash, butternut squash or acorn squash is a good option for the soup.
  • Zucchini is good substitute for loofah.
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