Kanom jeen nahm ya – Rice noodles with fish curry sauce

  • Main
  • easy
  • 4
  • 45 minutes, plus optional 30 minutes resting time for the sauce



First published in 2022
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Kanom jeen are lightly fermented rice noodles that are as widely eaten throughout Southern Thailand as steamed jasmine rice is in the rest of the kingdom. Fresh kanom jeen noodles are near impossible to come across in Britain, but dried rice vermicelli noodles are a good substitute and are minimal fuss to cook.

This recipe pairs the noodles with a sauce that poaches fish and aromatic ingredients together, before making into a curry paste and cooking in coconut milk. Kanom jeen are served with a selection of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and other accompaniments. I’ve made some suggestions that eat well with this particular sauce, but feel free to customise with what you have available to you.




Curry Paste

Rice Noodles with Fish Curry Sauce

To Serve


Cover the rice noodles with lukewarm water and set aside


Add all the curry paste ingredients except for the shrimp paste and the sea bass fillet to a saucepan with 500ml of water. Bring to a quick boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Gently poach the sea bass fillet until cooked through, around 4 minutes


Remove the cooked sea bass from the poaching liquid and set aside. Continue to simmer the curry paste ingredients for 5 minutes until tender, skimming the poaching liquor as necessary. Strain the curry paste ingredients and keep the poaching liquid. Allow the curry paste ingredients to fully cool


Make the curry paste by pounding all the ingredients in a stone pestle and mortar until very smooth. Add the shrimp paste and mix to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl and set aside

  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste

Remove and discard the sea bass skin. Flake the poached sea bass flesh into a stone pestle and mortar. Pound the flesh into a soft puree, then stir into the curry paste. Set aside whilst you cook the noodles


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drain the soaked noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and wash under several changes of cold water to ensure the noodles stay separated. Drain well and leave at room temperature


Add 150ml of the sea bass poaching liquor, the coconut milk and salt to a saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and add the curry paste. Stir to dissolve and simmer gently for 15 minutes until slightly thickened and fragrant smelling. Season with the caster sugar and fish sauce. It should taste rich, spicy and salty. The sauce improves and develops in flavour if left to stand off the heat for 30 minutes before serving


To serve, wrap the noodles into coils around your index and middle fingers. Place in a shallow plate or bowl, serving 2 coils per person. Gently warm the curry sauce back to room temperature then generously spoon over the noodle coils. Top with as much of the serving ingredients as you wish, curating your own plate of noodles

First published in 2022
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