14.203 (Goong) Pad Pong Garee

Cycle 14 – Item 203

27 (Thu) July 2023

(Goong) Pad Pong Garee


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

w W and IZ

After first encountering poo nim pad pong garee on our honeymoon (pre-GMTD), then witnessing the dish rise in mainstream popularity in Korea over the years (see generally 2.347 Poonim Phat Phong Kari), to the point that local food companies produce instant sauce packets (see for example 12.126 Pu Phat Phong (Kari) with Shrimp & Bokchoy) and local restaurants offer takeout (see most recently 14.119 Poonim Pot Kung), it remains my favorite Thai dish.

DID YOU KNOW: Thailand has yet to standardize the transliteration of the language into English, which is why the spelling of the dish varies widely from menu to menu.  The simple word for stir-fry can be Anglicized as, just to list examples featured on GMTD, “pad/pat/phad/phat.”  Even in reverse, the English word “curry” is written as alternatively “garee/gari/kari.”

All (relatively) common pantry ingredients.

Never bothered trying to make the dish from scratch, until now.  First, I’d always assumed that it would be difficult to cook, based solely on the fact that it’s expensive, often the most expensive item on a Thai restaurant menu (at least in Korea), so I figured that some special techniques would be involved – for example, being generally aware of how complicated Thai curries can be to create from scratch, I was afraid that the garee/gari/kari would be monumental.  Second, soft-shelled crab (poo nim) is virtually impossible to find as an ingredient in Korea.   So why bother?

The x-factors were the Korean curry powder and condensed milk, as well as the Chinese garlic chili paste.

My favorite YouTube cooking channel these days is Hot Thai Kitchen with Chef Pailin Chongchitnant (see Hot Thai Kitchen).

She recently posted a video for poo pad pong garee (see Ugliest but Tastiest Dish! – Thai Curry Crab).  First, I was surprised to find how easy the dish is to make, especially the curry, which simply involves powdered Japanese curry (she uses S&B) – in fact, the dish is called “garee/gari/kari” because of the Japanese curry powder, which sets it apart from the traditional red/green/yellow curries, which are referred to in Thai as “kaeng,” not “garee/gari/kari” – mixed with eggs and a few seasonings.  Second, I was surprised to learn that standard crab (poo) is the default protein in the dish, rather than soft-shelled crab (poo nim).  I was compelled to bother.

Next time, less condensed milk, with coconut milk to maintain creaminess.

Pretty good.  In lieu of crab (also not readily available at local supermarkets), I used frozen shrimp (goong), not ideal, just a cheaper stand-in to gauge how the sauce turned out.  The sauce was too sweet, owing to the Korean condensed milk, and too bland, owing to the Korean curry powder – but generally the fluffy, eggy texture was right.  With a few adjustment, this could be promising.


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