I went to a night fishing competition at Yamu, well the fish auction afterwards anyway. I planned to buy a big fish and have a barbecue, but things didn't work out as planned.
I did get some soft meat fish which they assure me is great for Haw Mook, the traditional Thai fish curry. Soft meat, no small bones, who am I to argue! So I decided to make Haw Mook in the style they make it here in Phuket. In the north we add a layer of coconut, in Phuket they serve it without that layer, and wrapped in betel leaves.
Video is after the break.
1 kg Fish Meat
250 mls Coconut Cream
1 Tablespoons Red Curry Paste
1 Teaspoon Kapi Shrimp Paste
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
4-6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
Betel Leaves for Wrapping (Optional)
Banana Leaves for Cooking (Optional)
The Spiny Stem of Leaf Frond (Very Optional)
1. Remove any bones from the fish meat.
2. In a blender, blend the fish meat, the coconut cream, fish sauce, curry paste and egg.
3. You want a smooth blended mixture of this.
4. Take the kaffir lime leaves, cut the tough stalk from the middle, and shred the rest of the leaves into fine strips. Add them to the meat and mix them in, they add to the texture as well as the flavor, so just mix them in with a spoon.
5. Take the leaf fronds, and cut out the spiny center, we use this to pin the parcel closed. They're normally from a coconut leaf, but it can be a palm front, or any plant that has a tough spine running down the center of its leaf. Cut this spine into lengths of about 3 inches. A stapler can also be used to close the parcels, as can toothpicks, but why not go the whole hog and make it the traditional way!?
6. Cut a rectangle of banana leaf, and one shorter rectangle. Lay the long one with the grain running vertically, and the short one with grain running horizontally on top of it. You're creating a stronger wrap by criss-crossing the grain like this. The banana leaf is only for cooking, you can also just place the mixture into a bowl and steam it directly. But where's the fun in that?
7. Lay two betel leaves one vertical and one horizontal. If the stems of the leaves are woody trim them off, leaving only the tender leaves.
8. Spoon the mixture into the middle, add some slices of chilly, and wrap into a parcel.
9. To wrap them, watch the video closely, bring the ends of the parcel up, they will naturally fold into triangles, push the leaf spine or toothpick through the parcel to pin it closed.
10. Make parcels until you use up the mixture.
11. Place in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
12. To eat, unwrap the banana leaf from the parcel and discard them, they're for cooking not for eating, but you can eat the inner betel leaves.
Ingredients Optional Sauce
250 ml Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
1. If you don't have any wet side dishes to eat with this, it can use a little sauce, otherwise it can be too dry.
2. Warm the coconut milk through, and bring to hot, but not boiling.
3. Stir in the red curry paste. Try a little first, and adjust to your personal tastes.
4. Serve as a side sauce for people to spoon over their haw mook as desired.