Thai spicy chilli curry with young coconut shoot

Thai chilli curry with coconut shoot – Gaeng Som

Thai chilli curry with coconut shoot is a popular dish in Thailand. It’s one of the spiciest curries you can find among all other Thai curry dishes. In Thai language we called it ” Gaeng Som Curry”.

Gaeng Som curry is a combination of the chilli curry paste, vegetable of your choice and fish or prawn or meatless for Vegetarian. The name of this dish came from its appearance. Gaeng means Curry and Som mean Orange (colour).

In this recipe I will introduce to you Thai chilli curry with coconut shoot and local sea fish. Before we start, let me tell you a little bit about coconut shoots, where it comes from, and tips and tricks on how to cook young coconut shoot.

Young Coconut Shoot

Traditionally, coconut shoot is a by-product from logging old coconut tree. Old coconut trees aren’t productive, so the farmer log them and replace with newer ones.

A coconut tree only gives one coconut shoot; When you cut the shoot off, it will die. Therefore, coconut shoot was a rare item and very difficult to get in the old day. However, today’s there is coconut shoot farming, thus it’s easy to find in any market around Thailand.

The coconut shoot can only be cut when the tree is at least one year and eight months old. Coconut shoot that come from trees aged between 1.8 years to 2 years, will have white colour meat. The meat is soft from the tips to base. On the other hand, coconut shoot that come from ancient trees, 10 years and above, will give a yellowish colour. The texture will be tough at its base and soft at the tip and very lightweight. The meat is light enough to float in the water. This kind of coconut shoot is commonly eaten rarely cooked, because it gives a very nice and natural sweet flavour.

In summary, coconut shoot is a basic ingredient commonly use in Thai cuisine, from soup, curry to condiment. In this content I will be waling you through Thai Spicy chilli curry with young coconut shoot dish.

Thai spicy chilli curry with young coconut shoot – Gaeng Som

Serve with other side dishes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4


  • 350 g Fresh sea fish. You can add more fish if you like.
  • 515 ml Water
  • 65 g Chilli curry paste The amount of curry paste is flexible, depends on your preference.
  • 20 g Tamarind paste It's possible to substitute with lime juice as it's quite difficult to find overseas.
  • 60 g Lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 30 g Good quality Coconut sugar You can substitute with other kind of sugar if you really can't find the coconut sugar.
  • 320 g Coconut shoot You can substitute coconut shoot with other kind of vegetable as you preferred.


  • Prepare the fish; cleaned, scaled, remove guts and cut it into chunk, 1 inches thick, widthwise. This is the traditional Thai style of fish preparation but you can do it your own style as you preferred. After you finish prepare the fish, leave it aside to drain-out the excessive liquid for about 5 minutes.
  • Put medium size pot over medium heat, add in water and bring it to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiled. Add curry paste and stir until it dissolves, then let the soup boil for about 5 minutes.
  • While waiting for the soup to boil, chop coconut shoots into 3 inches length and 1 cm width. If you have a fancy knife that gives a nice pattern to the vegetable, you can also use it to give a little decoration to the dish. You can see in the video how it looks.
  • Once the curry is boiled. Season with sugar salt and tamarind past before add in the fish pieces. Let the curry boil until the fish is cooked. It will take around 10 minutes. You can check and see if the fish turns white then it means the fish is cooked.
  • After 10 minutes and the curry is boiling again. Add lime juice, and taste the curry. The flavour you are looking for is sour first, follow by salty and lastly very little sweet, almost absence but it's kind of there. Add coconut shoots, and use a ladle to softly push them down until they are all covered under the soup. Close the stove and leave the curry to settle for about 1 minute before serving.


Gaeng Som curry dish goes best with steamed rice and Thai style fried – egg ( Kai-Jeow)
Keyword chilli oil, Coconut shoot, Curry, Spicy

If you like Thai curries, visit this link to view more recipes. Click Here

Resources : Thai curry book – by Yada Sri -Ynone -Yuang and Chanitrat Samretj