Hor Mok Pla
Have you heard of ‘Hor Mok Pla’ before? It is similar to a Thai fish cake but it is steamed and has a firm custard like consistency. ‘Hor mok’ in Thai language refers to the action of steaming in banana leaves and ‘pla’ translates to fish. In Thai, Hor mok pla is written like this ‘ห่อหมกปลา’. I recently took a trip to Wing Yip Superstore and found some fresh banana leaves, and I just knew that this would be the perfect dish to make.
The closest Wing Yip store to me is Croydon, and there are 3 other stores in England - Cricklewood (NW London), Manchester and Birmingham. Banana leaves can be used for various other dishes and desserts as well as steaming sticky rice. For me I love to use cod and salmon fillets in my hor mok, you can use just one or use other seafood such as crab or prawns. All will taste incredible!
In other recipes I’ve seen, the fish fillet is roughly chopped before going into the food processor with curry paste, fish sauce and palm sugar etc - this is where my recipe differs. As I like to use two types of fish, I would roughly chop just the cod for the food processor and slice the salmon into bite-size pieces. Then mix the custard paste from the food processor with the salmon pieces to make hor mok. This for me gives the dish a little more texture.
How to make banana bowls
Start by taking a damp cloth and wiping both sides of the leaf. Then lay a small side bowl on the leaf and trace the circumference, look for something 5-7 inch in diameter. Cut out the circles and be careful not to tear the leaf. Gently make 4 pleats on the edges and secure each pleat with a toothpick to form small bowls.
I find it easier to break the toothpick in half, otherwise, they are too long. Once the banana leaf bowls are made, place shredded cabbage and a generous amount of sweet Thai basil leaves to form a layer at the bottom of the bowl. If you can not find any banana leaves, you can still make hor mok! Instead of banana leaf bowls, you can use ramekins, just prepare the cabbage and sweet Thai basil leaves at the bottom too!
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Hor Mok Pla
- Banana Leaves or Ramekins
- Food Processor
- 200 g Cod Fillet
- 200 g Salmon Fillet
- 400 ml Coconut Milk Spilt 300ml & 100ml
- 35 g Mae Jum Red Thai Curry Paste
- 1 Egg
- 25 g Sweet Thai Basil
- 150 g Chinese Cabbage Shredded
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Palm sugar
- 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 1 tbsp Cornflour
- Banana Leaves
- 1-2 Red Chilli
- Heat up the steamer and prepare your banana leaf cup or ramekin. See Note 1 for banana leaves and Note 2 for ramekins
- Thinly chop kaffir lime leaves
- Roughly chop up cod fillet and slice salmon fillet into bite-size pieces
- In a food processor, add cod, 300ml coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, curry paste, egg, majority of kaffir lime leaves and blitz until a custard consistency
- Pour the custard into a mixing bowl. Set aside 6 pieces of salmon and add the rest to the mixing bowl and stir well
- Divide the mixture equally to the banana bowls or ramekins. Lay a salmon piece on top of each bowl and place gently in the steamer. Steam for about 15 minutes
- In the meantime, heat the remaining coconut milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Mix a small amount of hot water with cornflour before adding it to the coconut milk, stirring constantly until it boils. Take off heat and set aside.
- When the custard is done, it will be puffed up and will not jiggle much when shaken. Spoon a little of the coconut cream on top of each bowl before serving, then garnish with remaining kaffir lime leaves and chillies. Serve with jasmine rice.