A Dish of Pounded Catfish

Pon Pa Leum

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of pa leum (a large catfish), free of bones, the size of a hand—wash it, slice it thinly, put it in a pot with water barely covering it, sprinkle it with salt and fish sauce (it should be quite salty), boil it until cooked, then take the pot from the fire
  • 6 sweet young round eggplants, these four ingredients to be cooked in the embers of a charcoal fire, then peeled and pounded together to constitute the Kheuang hom
  • 4 (small) shallots, these four ingredients to be cooked in the embers of a charcoal fire, then peeled and pounded together to constitute the Kheuang hom
  • 2 (small) heads of garlic, these four ingredients to be cooked in the embers of a charcoal fire, then peeled and pounded together to constitute the Kheuang hom
  • 3 fresh chilli peppers, these four ingredients to be cooked in the embers of a charcoal fire, then peeled and pounded together to constitute the Kheuang hom
  • 1 straight-bulbed spring onion—chop both the bulb and the leaves finely
  • 1 sprig of coriander, chopped
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped
  • salt and fish sauce

Method

Combine the boiled fish with the Kheuang hom in a mortar 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—see, for example, recipes 18 and 29), young cucumbers and other vegetables which are suitable accompaniments.

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