On one of my business trips to DC, I was lucky enough to have three hours to walk around and get a good meal. My friend Jenn suggested that I enjoy lunch at a place serving food from Laos, so a friend and I decided to Uber over and check it out. We asked the waitress what dishes she suggested for us to have the most authentic Laotian experience, and she suggested mok pa, steamed fish.

Mis en place

When I stumbled across this recipe while searching for blog material, I remembered my awesome experience in DC, and knew I had to make it for myself.

Mixing everything together to prepare them for the packets.

As always, some of the ingredients were difficult to find. I had to sub out the padaek, for one (I used fish sauce), and I was kicking myself that I didn’t make this dish back when I found some banana leaves randomly at the grocery store. Still, I had a friend visiting who was on a diet, and I knew this light dish would be good to make for him.

The fish getting ready to take a hot bath.

For the fish, I used mahi mahi. It was fairly inexpensive at the store, and it is generally liked by people who enjoy eating fish.

Getting ready to take an umami-and-dill-filled bite.

The resulting dish was light, creamy, and full of umami and dill flavors. I served it with garlic and soy sauce broccoli rabe. But if my friend hadn’t been on a diet, I definitely would have added rice.

Mok pa — the finished product

This recipe is quick, easy, and flavorful. It’s great for a weeknight, and a lot of fun to cook in packets!