Ponh Pa Leum:
Recipe from Phia Sing (c. 1898-1967) who was for many years the Master of Ceremonies and Chef at the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos.
1 piece of pa leum (a large catfish), free of bones, wash it, slice it thinly, put it in a pot with water barely covering it, sprinkle it with salt and anchovy fish sauce Padaek (it should be quite salty), boil it until cooked, then take the pot from the fire
- 6 sweet young round eggplants
- 2 (small) heads of garlic
- 4 (small) shallots
- 3 fresh chili peppers
- These four ingredients above are to be cooked in the embers of a charcoal fire, then peeled and pounded together to constitute the kheuang hom
- A couple of straight-bulbed spring onions - chop both the bulb and the leaves finely
- Sprigs of coriander, chopped
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped
- salt and fish sauce
Pound the kheuang hom in a mortar, then combine the boiled fish with and pound together finely. Then add the water in which the fish was cooked and stir until the mixture is thick (i.e. like a thick soup). Add the spring onion and chopped Kaffir lime leaves. Do not let the mixture become either too thick or too runny. Taste, and check the saltiness.
Arrange the mixture on a platter, garnish it with the chopped coriander and serve it with Keng Som (a sour soup), young cucumbers and other vegetables which are suitable accompaniments.
More Lao recipes from Phia Sing's cookbook can be found here: