Rice Soup with Seabass : Kao Dtom Pla ข้าวต้มปลากะพง
When I was young I didn’t like rice soup at all. I just learnt to like/appreciate it in my late 20s. Now, I find “Kao Dtom” very comforting… I guess it has something to do with me not living with my parent any more (aka “homesick”). Rice soup always reminds me of my mum… she always cooked it for me when I was ill. Anyway, “Kao Dtom” is delicious.. its warm (as warm and as warm-hearted) and light yet filling. Its not only good for breakfast (Thai people usually have rice soup for breakfast.) but its aslo very good for light dinner. At times, you feel so stuffed and you dont want any heavy dinner but if you dont eat then you will probably get very hungry later at late night. Rice soup with seabass seems to be the perfect choice.
Find below my recipe
1/2 Cup Rice (whole grain rice is preferred)
250 G. Seabass, cut or sliced (This could be any kind of white fish that you like. I prefer Seabass.)
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Coriander Roots, crushed
Chinese Celery, cut
Coriander and Spring Onion, chopped
Garlic Oil (to taste)
3 Cups Chicken Stock/Fish Stock
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (to taste)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (to taste)
White Pepper, ground
Soy Bean Paste Sauce
3 Tablespoons Soy Bean Paste
2 Garlic, finely chopped
5 Chilies, finely chopped
Coriander Root, grated
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
A dash of unrefined Brown Sugar
Set a large pot over medium heat, add stock and later add rice. Cook the rice till almost cooked through, keep stirring. Season with sea salt, crushed ginger, crushed coriander roots, and crushed garlic. Bring the soup back the the boil. Add seabass and grated galangal
, leave till the seabass is cooked through (at this stage – DO NOT STIR, otherwise the soup will be very fishy and you will break the seabass into small bits. You don’t need small bits of fish in the soup as it doesn’t look nice in term of presentation. Believe me, everyone wants the seabass in nice chunks in their rice soup!). Taste if more seasoning is needed. Turn of the heat.
Sauce : Put everything into a mixing bowl, add all ingredients, mix everything till combined well. Taste if more seasoning is needed. It should taste tangy (with lime juice) and salty, with very little of sweetness and with a touch of spiciness.
Plating : In serving bowls, spoon the rice soup and some seabass chunks in. Sprinkle with julienned ginger, chopped Chinese celery and garlic oil (to taste – I don’t normally drizzle the garlic oil on my rice soup as I like it simple and clean. I always serve the garlic oil separately.). Sprinkle lightly (or heavily) with ground white pepper. Serve hot with a small cup of soy bean paste sauce. Delightful!