cat’s curry (แกงแค—kaeng khae)

A certain Lanna-style curry from northern Thailand is known as kaeng khae(แกงแค), meaning cat’s curry or curry in cat’s portions. Perhaps the name comes from the ease of dividing it into small portions or from the chopped, inexpensive ingredients. Here, vegetables and mushrooms are cut into small pieces and cooked in a light, salty curry broth. La lot leaf, thai eggplant, and long bean are important ingredients, though similar, seasonal replacements can work as well. Local jungle greens can also be added.

Blend spices for a pungent, salty, and spicy curry paste. Saute, then add mushrooms and vegetables. Once cooked, add la lot leaves and mix well.

Try adding fermented soybean disk, called thau nea(ถั่วเน่า), for extra flavor. Another similar curry from northern Thailand is jungle curry, or kaeng pa(แกงป่า).


(serves 2)

2 clove garlic
4 bird eye chili
1 tbsp salt
2 shallot
2 tbsp galangal
2 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
25 coriander seed(optional)
1 cup oyster mushroom or other mushroom, sliced
12 long bean or wing bean, chopped
6 unripe ivy gourd, halved
4 thai eggplant, eighthed
½ cup pea eggplant
8 kaffir lime leaf
1 cup water
1 cup la lot, sliced
½ cup cha om(optional)
8 galangal flowers(optional)

• pound garlic, chili, salt, shallot, galangal, lemongrass, coriander seed
• saute
• add mushroom, long bean, wing bean, ivy gourd, thai eggplant, pea eggplant, kaffir lime leaf, water
• cover until cooked
• add la lot, cha om, galangal flower
• mix
• serve with rice