Thai street food : Ho mok pla (fish curry mousse)

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Thailand, as a country is a place we’re both pretty familiar with. We know the food relatively well.

It’s a country where we especially like to visit night markets because the variation of food is usually focused on what local people in that area are eating. It’s often the case that we’re sat at a foldaway table, eating something simple, packed full of flavour –unfortunately, almost exclusively out of Styrofoam – and watching the world go by, locals whizzing up to stalls on motorbikes and adding another carrier bag to their collection of treats to take home for the family dinner.

Hor mok is a Thai fish curry which has been enriched with egg to make it custardy when it’s steamed.

Baskets are made from banana leaves and the ingredients are layered. Shredded cabbage and basil sit at the bottom followed by chunks of fresh fish, the curry sauce is added on top of that. According to one recipe I have read, the base of a red curry paste is called kaeng kua which, includes all the usual roots and spices expected of a Thai curry paste – Chillies, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, lime leaves, shrimp paste and coriander. Additional ingredients can be added to transform it into other, more specific curry pastes, a mussaman; for example.  If you want to have your mind blown by all the differences and intricacies of red curry you can read the post here, it’s long but well worth it.

Egg, kaeng kua and some fish are blended together to create the sauce which will create the mousse like texture. – Historically, before technology brought us food processors and blenders this was done by hand, in a clay pot and tradition dictates that you only stir the mixture clockwise. The mixture is steamed and becomes firmer, with a more custardy texture and is topped with coconut cream, julienned red bell pepper and finely chopped kaffir lime leaves.

You should be able to find this at most decent sized food markets throughout the country, expect to pay around 20Baht.  We found this particular one at Ayutthaya night market, which was stocked full of tasty options.

 

some useful phrases

Tow rai? – How much? 

Neung / sawng ho mok pla khrap (male) kha (female)   – One/ two ho mok pla. 

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