Think Thai Food – Northern Specialities

By | December 5, 2013

Whenever you think of Thai Food, the Northern Specialities of Kaeng Hang-Le(northern-style pork curry),Sai Ua(Chiang Mai Sausage) & Drunken Noodles always spring to mind, but there are several other Northern Thailand speciality dishes that I will provide recipes for below. This is not an exhaustive list, and I will keep adding to them as I discover more over the following months.

Several of the traditional northern specialities originate from Lanna Style dishes, whose origins were from Southern China & Burma(Myanmar), this style of cooking can still be sampled at the few Khan Tok Dinner venues that are still open in the Chiang Mai area, and if you are in the area, they are well worth a visit to sample traditional Lanna fare that you would not necessarily come across around the area.

 Think Thai Food - Northern Specialities

Kaeng Hang-Le(Northern-style pork curry) The Thai word “Kaeng” means curry, but in the north they are not made of Thai Coconuts Milk, and are much sourer & spicier !.


Ingredients(serves 5-6)

1kg beef – cubed

1kg belly of pork – cubed

1 pineapple – peeled, sliced and cored

7 dried red chillies – seeded, soaked and chopped

5 slices galanga(Asian ginger) – chopped

1 stalk lemon grass – finely shredded

10 shallots – finely chopped

17 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cummin seeds

1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander root

3 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon shrimp paste

Sugar, fish sauce and tamarind or lime juice to taste


* In a large saucepan, brown the beef and the pork. Add a little water. Stir in the pineapple slices.

* Cover and simmer over a very low heat for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

* Pound or grind the rest of the ingredients together to a smooth paste. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil from the stewing beef and pork.

* Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the curry paste for I minute.

* Remove from the heat and stir into the stewing beef and pork. Bring to the boil.

* Season with fish sauce, sugar and tamarind or lime juice to taste.


 Think Thai Food - Northern Specialities


Nam Prik Ong Is a type of chili paste which is made of minced pork and tomatoes.

Delicious with either “sticky” rice or Jasmine steamed rice & pork crackling !.


5 dried Thai chillies – cut and soaked

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon finely sliced Asian ginger – (galangal)

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion – (hua hom)

1 teaspoon shrimp paste – (gupi)

5 cloves garlic – whole

3 ounces ground pork

1 cup sliced tomatoes

2 tablespoons oil

3 cloves garlic – chopped

1 whole coriander sprig

1/2 cup of water

Fresh Vegetables – cucumber,long green beans,carrot,cabbage and/orBoiled vegetables – long green beans,eggplant,pumpkin,cabbage


* Pound the chillies, salt and Asian ginger in a mortar and pestle.

* Add the onion, shrimp paste, whole garlic cloves and pound thoroughly. Add the pork and continue processing.

* Finally, add the tomatoes and mix well.

* Heat the oil in a wok.

* Gently fry the chopped garlic. When the garlic is fragrant,

* Add pounded mixture and continue frying over low heat, stirring, until the ingredients take on a gloss.

* Add the water and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until much of the water evaporates and the mixture becomes fairly thick.

*Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve with fresh vegetables or boiled vegetables or both, YUMMY !


 Think Thai Food - Northern Specialities


Nam Prik Noom Loose translation to English is “Chillie Paste Young Man”, is a very popular chillies & vegetable paste that is particularly so in the north, but is also eaten by Thais of all regions.

It is usually eaten with either fried strips of pork or pork crackling – a personal favourite of mine..



15 green jalapeno peppers (prik chee fa)

10 garlic cloves (kratiem)

8 shallots

2 large ripe tomatoes

1oz (30 g) dried anchovies

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 green spring onion – chopped

2 tablespoons coriander leaves (bai pak chee)

Fresh Vegetables: green beans – sliced,cabbage – chopped,cucumber – sliced, baby eggplant – sliced.


* Barbecue or grill the peppers, garlic, shallots and tomatoes until they are slightly charred on the outside.

* Place the anchovies in a small pan with enough water to cover. Heat the water to boiling and cook the anchovies for 10 minutes at a slow boil, until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Strain the juice and discard the anchovies.

* Combine the barbecued vegetables, the anchovy juice and the fish sauce in a blender and blend until the vegetables are coarsely chopped, or pound in a pestle and mortar.

* Pour the resulting dipping sauce into a serving dish and garnish with the chopped green spring onion and coriander leaves. Serve with the vegetables.


 Think Thai Food - Northern Specialities


Sai Ua(Chiang Mai sausage)

A very aromatic and spicy sausage,also sold on wooden skewers by street vendors throughout Thailand and is usually eaten with sticky rice.



1lb ground pork

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup garlic – minced

1/2 cup coriander leaves – chopped

1 tablespoon ground Thai pepper

1/2 cup of lime juice

1 tablespoon lemon grass – very finely chopped

1 tablespoon Asian ginger(galangal) – very finely chopped

1 tablespoon shallot (small red/purple onions) – chopped

1 tablespoon shrimp paste – (gupi)

1 tablespoon Thai chillie peppers – finely chopped

1 tablespoons kaffir lime leaves – finely shredded



* Make sure the lemon grass, Asian ginger and lime leaves are very finely chopped.

* Either put it through a food processor or grind in a mortar and pestle until in the form of a paste.

* Put ALL the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing all the ingredients together, by squeezing the mixture through your fingers until thoroughly mixed.

* Stuff the mixture into, either a synthetic collagen, or a natural casing (sausage skin) and form sausages approximately 4″(10cm) long.

* Fry, broil or grill until cooked to your taste.

Traditionally this is served with sticky rice, and a side dish of, roasted thai chillies, whole peeled cloves of garlic, and fresh slices of Asian ginger, go on they are truly delicious !!.

 Think Thai Food - Northern Specialities

Khao Soi

Is a curry noodle dish of Burmese influence,very popular in the northern part of Thailand,can be made using either chicken or pork.


4 oz rice noodles

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon red curry paste

1/2 cup coconut milk

4 oz ground pork

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon curry powder(pong gari)

1 pinch of turmeric powder

2 tablepoons fish sauce(nam pla)

1 pinch of palm sugar

1 teaspoon lime juice

you will also need for the garnish – spring onions, sliced shallots and lime wedges.



* Soak noodles in cool water for 15-30 minutes then drain for use.

* Bring a pan of water to the boil, then place the noodles in a wire basket,or strainer and dip the noodles in the water for a few seconds (no more),drain them and transfer to the serving plate.


* In a wok heat the coconut milk.

* Stir in the curry paste until the aroma is brought out and a thin film of oil separates out.

* Add the garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.

* Add the remaining ingredients except the pork, and stir until the sauce thickens slightly.

* Add the pork,continuing to stir until the meat is cooked through.

* Pour the sauce over the noodles.

* Finally add the onions, shallots & lime as garnish.