Thai-style Sour Orange Curry of Yellowtail Scad & Broccolini

Boiled curries such as this are often sold in the markets of Thailand; they are among the oldest and simplest of Thai curries and are usually made with seafood. An oily fish complements the tartness of this sour orange curry and, as the fish is broken up to thicken the curry, an inexpensive fish like Yellowtail Scad is ideal. It is meant to be hot and sour, but if you like a little less heat, seed the chillies before chopping them.


2 cups chicken stock
½ tablespoon palm sugar
½ cup tamarind liquid (see notes)
200g Yellowtail Scad fillets, skin off, bones removed
125g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 stalk broccolini, cut into florets, stem sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce, more or less, to taste
1 lime, juiced
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Sour Orange Curry Paste
5 red shallots, roughly chopped (see notes)
2cm piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
10 small red chillies, roughly chopped
Salt flakes, to taste
1 teaspoon gapi (see notes) 


Make Curry Paste: process all ingredients in a blender or food processor, adding a little water or stock if necessary to form a smooth paste.

Place stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, add Curry Paste, palm sugar and most of the tamarind liquid and stir until paste dissolves. Add fish, tomatoes and broccolini and simmer until fish is cooked, stirring regularly to break it up. Taste and add fish sauce, lime juice and more tamarind liquid if needed.

Serve with steamed rice.


Dried tamarind pulp is sold in blocks at Asian grocery stores. To make tamarind liquid, work 3 tablespoons of tamarind pulp into ¾ cup of warm water then strain through a fine sieve, pressing down to remove as much tamarind as possible.

If red shallots are unavailable, use 2 large golden shallots or 1 small red onion.

Gapi, Thai shrimp paste, is available from Asian grocers.

Alternative species:

Australian Herring, Australian Sardines, Jack Mackerel, Mullets.

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