Laos: A healthy, light dinner of steamed fish

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!

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6 comments on “Laos: A healthy, light dinner of steamed fish

  1. Tommy Lee
    April 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Looking good! Padaek is very intense. My mother would use regular fish sauce when cooking for me. She would use padaek when cooking for her adult friends. You can experiment with other leaves like collards or chard when steaming. The leaves can be eaten along with the rest of the dish. Cook on Laura!

    • Laura
      April 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I thought of you while I was making this! I am definitely going to make this again and experiment.

  2. Tommy Lee
    April 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    The incredible chef at David Wong’s Pan Asian in Las Vegas makes a version using scallops and napa cabbage. If you go back again, she may tell you how to make it.

    • Laura
      April 19, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      I love David Wong’s. It’s in my top three of restaurants in Vegas I miss (Sen of Japan and Yonaka being the other two).

  3. Tommy Lee
    April 19, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Looks like we’ll need to do a meetup in the desert!

    • Laura
      April 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Sounds like a good idea!

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