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Thai savory custard dish

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My son took me to a Thai restaurant for supper. All the dishes were great, and one really stood out in my mind. It was called Ho Mok Talay. The dish contained a mixture of chopped calarmi, mussels, shrimp and crab meat. This was mixed in an egg custard and steamed in banana leave cups. It was spicy and soothing at the same time.

Austin, anyone, got a recipe for this? I want to make it at home and perhaps for a dinner party sometime.



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Dai Gah Jeh...it is very similar to the Malaysian Otak-Otak, a version shown here. Here's a recipe. For authenticity, instead of galangal, kracai is used....same family. I LURV it too!! :wub: Very easy to make...if you have the ingredients. :wink:

Edited by Tepee (log)


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Hor Mok Talay! What a great dish. It's really a fish mousse, and then all steamed up with the coconut cream to finish and that bite of chilli.....

I'm drooling.

I'm in transit, so I don't have my cookbooks, but I'll try to get you the recipe(s) when I get back next week.

Another way I've had this (generally in Thai beer halls) is roasted in the banana leaf. The leaf comes out all charred, but when you open the big bundle (and they do these big) at the table, the smell just takes you away.

And another neat way to do it is to bake and serve it in a khanom plate, the clay one that looks like a cross between and escargot dish and a mini tagine. The lids steams the hor mok in its own juice. (I think that was a Khmer take on the Thai dish, at Khmer Surin in Penh).

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Thanks Tepee, Mui Mui. I have the recipe you suggested already printed out!

And Peter, all your suggestions look delicious. I'll look forward to your recipes. :biggrin:



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Hor mok is a wonderful dish. After eating them for years, I've only recently learned how to make them. Personally, I prefer the grilled kind, which are known sometimes as ngop. David Thompson calls them "grilled (or steamed) curries", which I think is an accurate way fo describing the dish. I've included a recipe for the grilled kind below. If you can get all the ingredients, and follow the recipe exactly, it's very, very good.

Grilled Fish Curry Hor Mok Yaang

(Serves 4)


Grilling ngop on Ko Samui


Curry Paste

Large dried chilies 20, seeds removed and softened in warm water

Small dried chilies 15

Salt 2 tsp

Peppercorns 1 Tbsp

Chopped galangal 1 Tbsp

Lemongrass 1 stalk, chopped

Minced kaffir lime zest 1 Tbsp

Small garlic cloves 5

Fresh turmeric 1 5cm-long piece, chopped

Shallots 4, chopped

Shrimp paste 2 tsp

Thick coconut milk* 350 ml

Spanish mackerel steaks (plaa insee) 500 g

Holy basil (bai kraphrao) 1 large bunch, leaves only

Banana leaves for wrapping


*Thick coconut milk is the coconut milk that comes directly from the can.


Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor grind the curry paste ingredients together into a fine paste. Set aside.

Wash fish and dry, Separate fish meat from bone and skin, chop roughly and combine with curry paste and coconut milk in a food processor. Process until well blended and light in texture, about five minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl, seal and put in refrigerator until chilled and somewhat solid, at least two hours or as long as overnight.

Cut banana leaf into sections roughly 25 cm long and 10 cm wide. Rinse and pat dry. Take two pieces of the banana leaf, stack them on top of each other and place a few holy basil leaves in the middle of the rectangle. Place about 3 Tbsp of fish mixture on top of the holy basil, and spread lengthwise. Fold the narrow ends of the banana leaf over the fish mixture, followed by the long ends, sealing each end with a toothpick.

Grill banana leaf packages until done, about 6-7 minutes on each side.

Discard banana leaf and serve hot with rice as part of a Thai meal.

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Okay, I'm back with my books.

The version I do at home is lifted out of Sodsook's True Thai (1995), and it's something I get around to a couple of times a year.

This is named as an Ayutthaya recipe, and is a mixed seafoood, so it just goes as Haw Mok Talay. I do this is a steamed version, which I kind of like for the presentation and the colours that you get out of it, but Sodsook, like Austin, calls for grilling. The flavours also change slightly compared to the grilled version, and the smells are very different (I prefer the smell of the grilled, I do admit). Both are excellent.

I'm a lot lazier than Austin, and will just buy a package of red curry.


For the mousse:

1/4 lb fish fillet (white, mild flesh)

3/4 lb shrimp peeled, cleaned, and minced

1/2 lb fresh crabmeat (make someone else get the meat out!)

16 kaffir lime leaves julienned (remove the centre strip, roll, and slice thin)

5 mild red chilies, stemmed and sliced

19 oz of coconut milk

1 cup of red curry paste (pick your favourite)

3 eggs

4 tablespoons of palm sugar

4 tablespoons of nam pla

More stuff:

banana leaves

Thai basil (but I'll use what I can find)

nasty little red chilis - stemmed, seeded, and sliced into slivers

wooden skewers

coconut cream

Food processor time! Mix the fish to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides a couple of times as you go.

Move the fish paste to a large mixing bowl, and manually work in the crab, shrimp, and everything else. It should be fairly wet in the mex, and have a nice goopy feel.

Put the stuff into a saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to thicken.

Cut the leaves and fold them into small boxes (okay, obviously I don't do this part myself. I'm a klutz). Play with sheets of paper until you get the right dimensions, then template from these (or get the skilled hands of a Korean to fold for you).

at the bottom, layer a couple of leaves of the basil. Then dump a packet of the mousse on top of this. Then put a tablespoon of coconut cream on top, and top this with a cross of red chili slivers.

Then fold it closed, and seal with two wooden skewers in an x-closing.

Steam this for about 15 minutes (adjust depending on how big you've made the servings)

These look really, really pretty when you open them up......I should make some more soon.

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Austin and Peter:

Thanks so much for both of your versions. I'll have to wait until Xmas break( in 4 weeks) from teaching before I can do them both properly. My kids will be home then, so I can surprise them! :smile:

I have all the ingredients except for fresh tumeric. Tumeric powder would be ok?

We don't get mackerel here, but I suppose any mild flavoured fish would work? I have pickerel ( delicious local fish), basa, sole, tilapia, etc.

Both would be great for a dinner party. I'll have to get a couple of practice sessions in before the festive party season!



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