I didn't grow up eating Watermelon Rind Sour Curry and I wish I did because it's so good and so accessible. I'd heard of Watermelon Rind Sour Curry from a friend and decided to give it a try. My family loves it. Now when we buy a watermelon, a Watermelon Rind Sour Curry is expected.
The watermelon rind works so well absorbing spices and strong flavors in the sour curry. The dense texture keeps the rind from falling apart during cooking. With mild flavor, the rind absorbs and tone down the sharp spices and flavor. Every bite of the watermelon rind is full of flavor.
Gang Som or sour curry is more common at a Thai's dining table than red or green curries. It uses core Thai ingredients, shallots, shrimp paste, dried peppers, tamarind and fish. No need for coconut milk. It's extremely easy to make and can last several days. Several types of vegetables and vegetable combinations are common such as yardlong beans and daikon, Chinese water spinach, drum sticks, green beans, green papaya, bean sprouts and napa cabbage. Adding shrimp or big chunks of fish is also a favorite of restaurants as a way to give oomph to the homey curry.
The term 'som' has 3 meanings: orange as in the fruit, orange as color and a sour taste. In this case, som is an old term referring to the sour taste. If you ever run into a recipe for 'gang som' and it calls for an orange, please note that something was lost in the translation.
Sour Curries are native to central Thailand. The south has their version which includes fresh turmeric and seafood. Try a Southern Sour Curry, it's another of my favorite dishes.