Crappie Tom Kha


  • 3 cups fish stock (if you don’t have fish stock chicken stock works as well)
  • 1 2-inch piece of galangal or ginger root
  • 1 large stock of lemon grass
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pound of crappie fillets or any other panfish cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 8 oz. shittake mushrooms
  • 3-4 small red Thai chilies
  • Cilantro


1. Cut the lemongrass into 4-inch pieces and smash them with a hammer or the back of a knife. You can slice the lemongrass paper thin and add it to the soup, but I prefer to smash up big pieces and cook them, and remove the lemon grass before serving. I like the flavor of lemongrass, but the texture is always woody to me no matter how thin I slice it.

2. Combine the stock, galangal, lime leaves, sugar, lemongrass, tamarind paste, and Sriracha sauce, then bring to a boil.

3. Add the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer

4. Add the mushrooms, lime juice and fish sauce, stir a few times and then add the fish. The fish will only need a minute or two to cook.

5. Serve immediately and garnish with the red chilies and the cilantro. I like to serve mine over a bowl of rice, but you don’t have to. Enjoy!


Recipe courtesy of Jamie Carlson and his “You Have to Cook it Right” blog.

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