May 9, 2012
Mok Pa recipe
How exciting I have discovered a great little fish dish I want to try out. Mok Pa is a popular and traditional dish from Laos. So of course I have never cooked it before but I am very excited about it.
All of the ingredients are fairly easy to get in the UK apart from the banana leaves. I have never cooked with banana leaves before, but I have had them several times in Thai restaurants in the UK. I live in Thailand so I can easily buy banana leaves here. I would suggest if you have no luck trying to buy them at a Chinese or Asian supermarket, or even ring a Thai restaurant and ask them where they buy them from.
What I don’t want is to create a complex dish where it is a hassle to buy the ingredients, but I think this is a really fun idea and it is a great party idea or to add to a summer BBQ with the weather hopefully improving enough to be able to enjoy it.
I haven’t tested this yet but I bet you could cook it on the BBQ in the cinders but I often like to add lots of other dishes made in the kitchen to my BBQ, especially if it starts to rain and everyone is waiting for a sausage!
The other fun challenge for this recipe is using sticky rice. Sticky rice is traditional in Northern Thailand and Laos and as I live in the South of Thailand I don’t tend to see this around much. Sticky rice is great as you eat it with your hands, although it may be a challenge to eat this fish dish with your hands.
As I have never cooked sticky rice and would like to make this dish simpler I have found a great website that has a really excellent microwave sticky rice recipe and for help with this recipe check out this link.
Make this dish in small parcels and you will be able to stretch the portions to 4 people.
Mok Pa recipe-ingredients
400g of white fish of choice (firm fish like cod is great)
8 banana leaves cut into rectangles around 20×25 cm
4 tablespoons sticky rice
4 shallots, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 small red chillies
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Mok Pa recipe- Method
With all Thai cooking prepare all your ingredients first. Start by making the sticky rice, I would recommend the microwave recipe for ease but you can steam it but it needs to be soaked for around 3-4 hours.
Cut the banana leaves into 20x 20 cm squares and wipe them clean, try not to soak in water.
Cut the white fish into mini fillets of around 5×5 cm squares.
Make a paste using the; chopped shallots, garlic, chillies, kaffir lime leaves and salt. Pound in a pestle and mortar or use a blender. Add chopped dill, fish sauce and water to paste and mix in.
Lay out banana leaves and place sticky rice and fish in even portions in the middle and add sauce over the top. Fold create parcels by folding banana leaves into triangles and secure with cocktail sticks, or as I see at the market here in Ko Samui a stapler!
Steam parcels for 25-30 minutes. There are a number of steam options, place in a steamer if you have one or use a bamboo steamer over boiling water.
Tips and ideas
I will steam my fish parcels using the steam tray on my rice cooker which is really handy.
Another way I may also try and make this dish is without the banana leaves and steam the fish in the microwave wrapped in cling film. You will lose some of the flavour given from the banana leaf by attempting this but I would try and add some fresh basil to bring back some flavour.