Many people are curious when they hear of the strangely named Choo Chee curry but the origin of the dish’s name is fairly straightforward. In the past, Thai cooks noticed the loud sizzling sound when coconut milk and curry paste were boiled together and named the curry accordingly. The dish is prepared by stir-frying curry paste and added coconut milk and stirring until it becomes a thick curry. Once it has thickened, the curry is poured over a fish, seasoned and garnished with red and green chili peppers. Some cooks add coconut flesh to make the dish even creamier.
The original recipe was found in the first-ever Thai cookbook, dated 1909, and was known as Sheatfish in Choo Chee Curry Soup.
These days mackerel, climbing perch, or any other freshwater fish may be used and Choo Chee curries featuring pork are also not unheard of either. Modern chefs have created untold variations on Choo Chee with the bitter gourd version gaining immense popularity. The slight bitterness combines well with the intensely sweet and salty notes and the creamy coconut milk. This nutritious revamp of a Thai classic is one dish that all food lovers should sample.