Thai Soured Fish (ปลาส้ม)

by - June 10, 2013

One of the projects that I tackled over last weekend was making Thai Soured Fish (ปลาส้ม). As the weather in Tokyo was getting warmer and I found that the spring weather is the perfect time to do home preserving. 

Thai Soured Fish (ปลาส้ม) is a type of fermented or soured fish that is a very popular staple. It is made by packing raw fish with cooked rice, garlic and salt then curing it at room temperature for 3-5 days. The end result will be the fish that is both sour and salty-- and the meat is somewhat tenderized through the fermentation process. I love to deep fry this soured fish but from what I heard grilled soured fish is as tasty, especially when the fish is wrapped in banana leaves. If you have a charcoal grill, then grill it.  
Try this Thai Soured Fish recipe out, You'll know it is so awesome, so friggin’ awesome, so worth the 3 day wait.  

300-350 grams fish (I used Japanese Snapper) 
1/4 cup freshly cooked white rice 
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt (ดอกเกลือ)
4 cloves Chinese garlic (กระเทียมจีน กระเทียมกลีบใหญ่่) 

1 egg beaten 
canola oil for deep frying
fried shallot for garnishing 
1. With a pestle and mortar, pound the salt and garlic until you get a fine paste. Then add in rice, pound until you get a smooth paste.
2. Clean, scale, remove gut and score the fish. Pat dry with clean paper towel. 

Here it is, nice and clean. 

3. Pack the stomach and coat the whole fish with the mixture from step 1. 
4. Transfer the fish to a ziploc bag, get rid of the air as much as you can, then seal the bag. 
5. Let sit at the room temperature undisturbed for 3-5 days. This is based on the assumption that the temperature in your kitchen is about 15 -25°C. If it is warmer where you are, the fermentation  process will be more rapid.   

6. After the 3 days wait, remove the fish from the ziploc bag. Dip the whole fish in beaten egg, then deep fry it. 

7.  Serve hot with steamed rice or glutinous rice. 

That is the whole process. Obviously, there are many other ways to make Thai Soured Fish-- however this is the way I've always done it, it's the way my mother has always done it and it's the way my grandmother has always done it (although she didn't have the nice ziploc bag).

If you 're still not convinced, just start small. If you like it, do more. If you hate it, you won't waste much.  

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  1. I would like to eat this right now! Looks fantastic!

  2. @Nipponnin
    Thank you for your comment. Have a nice day.