Clay's Kitchen : Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

© Copyright 1995-2023, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Ho Mok Thale (Steamed Seafood Custard) ห่อหมกทะเล

Servings: 4 to 6

Click on picture to enlarge (© Photograph by Clay Irving)
Haw mok is a rarity: a dish intended as an appetizer or snack. It is essentially a custard made from curried steamed fish. A non curried set of ingredients is include d as an "afterthought", though to avoid repetition I won't repeat the method - I leave that to the experience and imagination of the lovers of bland food. In Thailand this is steamed in little cups made from banana leaves, pinned together with tooth picks, but you could just as well use ramekin bowls.

2 tablespoons red curry paste (from can or plastic tub is fine or better yet make your own)
1 tablespoon of oil
2 cups coconut cream
1 tablespoon of rice flour
1 pound filet of a firm fish, ½ ground in food processor, ½ in coarse cubes
1 pound mixed shellfish-peeled shrimps, scallops, and mussels, if desired
2 large eggs, beaten
5 to 6 bai makrut (kaffir lime leaves), very finely julienned
2 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons nam pla
1 cup fresh basil leaves, reserve some for garnish
1 dozen cilantro roots, pound into a paste, optional
2 to 3 cups bok choy or Napa Cabbage cut into 1 inch pieces and lightly steamed in fish sauce and water, squeeze all the liquid out
3 older banana leaves from outside of plant, split lengthwise with rib removed, or 1 package frozen leaves
2 prik ki nu or serrano chile peppers, thinly julienned for garnish

Fry the curry paste in the oil until fragrant. Add the kaffir lime leaves, green onions, half the basil that has been chopped, and cilantro roots and continue frying for another minute or so. Mix the rice flour with the liquid part of the can of coconut milk (about 1 cup). Pour this rice flour and coconut milk mixture into the curry paste, stirring to incorporate. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Add fish sauce and stir. Take off the stove and add the rest of the coconut milk. Stir, and allow to cool. When cool add the ground fish and stir again.

Place fish chunks and shrimps, scallops and mussels in a large bowl. Pour beaten eggs over them. Mix to coat evenly.

When coconut milk curry mixture is cool, add a little to the seafood mixture in the bowl and stir. Add a little more at a time and stir thoroughly after each addition. This stirring is very important as it draws the moisture out of the fish and shellfish into the custard mixture.

Mix steamed and well drained (squeeze out excess liquid) bok choy or Napa Cabbage with basil leaves and distribute evenly in bottoms of banana leaf cups. Place scallops, shrimps, chunks of fish and mussels if using into the cups. Spoon the custard mixture into the banana leaf cups until nearly full and place in covered steamer for 20 to 25 minutes. A few minutes before they are finished steaming, remove steamer cover and garnish tops with a little coconut cream and two or three strips of red chile pepper to suit your taste.

Serve with hot, steamed Jasmine rice.

Banana Leaf Cups

Wash leaves well.

Stack 3 banana leaf sections on one another and, with a pair of scissors, cut a series of 5 ½ inch circles. Take a pinch-fold in four or five places and secure with short bamboo picks or toothpicks to form a round cup two layers thick, with 1 inch sides. Add toothpicks or staple as necessary to maintain shape.

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