Gaeng Liang

Gaeng Liang is said to be one of the most traditional Thai dishes, and has existed even before chillies made its way to Thailand. Which would explain why it doesn’t contain even the tiniest bit of chilli in it at all, unlike almost every other soups or curries in Thai cuisine. Gaeng Liang gets its spiciness not from chillies but from white pepper. It is also one of the healthiest dishes, being pretty much fat-free, with the absence of coconut milk, and containing a lot of vegetables.

Gaeng Liang is one of my personal favourite dishes in Thai food and I hope you will enjoy this recipe for it. Special thanks to Suan Dusit University for this recipe.

Gaeng Liang (แกงเลียง)

By January 24, 2014

Gaeng Liang is about timing -- because it contains many vegetables that require various cooking times. So you will need to assess which ones go in first, meaning which ones get cooked longer. You want the end result to yield cooked ingredients that are all thoroughly cooked but not mushy.

For the stock, I use the otherwise unused parts of the prawns, such as the heads and shells to make the stock. Of course the prawns are pre-boiled so you can just boil them in this stock with the heads and shells to maximise the flavour.

And lastly, you do not have to use this exact list of vegetables, it's ok to omit some of these ones or substitute them with other similar vegetables.

  • Prep Time : 30 minutes
  • Cook Time : 15 minutes
  • Yield : 2 servings



1. Make the paste by using a mortar and pestle, grinding the driest ingredients first (white peppercorn, and salt) and add the remaining one by one getting to the most liquid (shrimp paste). Make sure the paste is completely smooth. The combined paste should weigh 82 grams.

2. Bring the stock to a boil and add the paste, stir until the paste is completely dissolved. Lower the heat to medium and add the bottle gourd, cook until halfway done. Add the pumpkin, then luffa, then straw mushrooms, and then baby corn. This is in the order of what's takes the longest to cook goes in first.

3.  Wait a little while to let all the ingredients in the pot cook, and then add banana blossom. Bring the pot to a soft boil. When it reaches that stage and the banana blossom is cooked, throw in the ivy gourd leaves and shrimp, wait for the soup to get to a boil again.

4. Then turn off the heat and add the lemon basil. Serve.

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