Steamed Red Curry Fish (Haw Mok Plaa)

Take any firm-fleshed fish and Marion’s Thai red curry paste (or make your own) for this authentic Thai recipe. You can make banana-leaf bowls or simply use small heatproof ramekins or bowls to steam the dish.


Steamed Red Curry Fish (Haw Mok Plaa)

40 minutes
30 minutes
Makes 16

12 toothpicks

6 banana leaves*

3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (see below for homemade or use Marion’s Kitchen or another store-bought paste)

¾ cup coconut milk

1 tbsp rice flour

2 eggs

500g (1 lb) fish fillets (e.g. mackerel, tuna, salmon, snapper, cod, sea bass, barramundi), cut into small pieces

3 tbsp fish sauce*

1 tsp white sugar*

2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

Thai basil leaves

makrut lime leaves, finely julienned

long red chillies, finely sliced


Thai red curry paste:

8 dried long red chillies

2 fresh long red chillies

1 tsp finely chopped makrut lime peel

5cm (2 inches) piece galangal, roughly chopped

1 lemongrass stalk, white part bruised, roughly chopped

3 eschallots, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tsp shrimp paste

¼ tsp ground coriander seeds

¼ tsp ground cumin seeds


Coconut cream topping:

½ cup coconut cream

1 tbsp rice flour

½ tsp sea salt

  • Step 1

    For the red curry paste, soak the dried chillies in warm water for 20 minutes to soften. Drain and roughly chop. Transfer softened chillies to a mortar along with the fresh red chillies. Use a pestle to pound to a smooth paste. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, pounding to a smooth paste before adding the next ingredient. Alternatively, use a food processor.

  • Step 2

    To make banana leaf cups, break toothpicks in half. Cut 12 x 18cm rounds from the banana leaves. If the leaves are fresh and stiff, heat them a little over a gas flame or in a non-stick frying pan to soften. Stack two rounds together. Make a small pleat in the rough and secure with a toothpick. Repeat to make 3 more pleats to form a square cup. Repeat to make 6 cups.

  • Step 3

    Whisk the curry paste, coconut milk, flour and eggs together in a large bowl (also add fish sauce, and sugar if using). Add the fish and using a wooden spoon, stir the sauce vigorously for 5 minutes to thicken.

  • Step 4

    For the coconut cream topping, place ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk for about a minute or until thickened.

  • Step 5

    To assemble, place a small handful of cabbage and Thai basil leaves in the base of each banana leaf cup, spoon in three heaped tablespoons of fish curry mixture. Top with a spoonful of coconut cream topping. Top with makrut lime leaves and chilli slices.

  • Step 6

    Place the cups in a large steamer set over boiling water. Cover and steam for 25-30 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.

  • Notes

    – Fresh or vacuum-sealed banana leaves are available at some Thai/Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find them, use ramekins or muffin tins instead.

    – If using Marion’s Kitchen Thai red curry paste – no need to add fish sauce or sugar because the paste is already seasoned perfectly

Hey Foodie. So glad you're here. Let's hav some fun making delicious food. Hey Foodie. So glad you're here. Let's hav some fun making delicious food.

What our customers say

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
Very good0%

Love this recipe!


This is surprisingly quite easily to make and tastes amazing! My family love it.

Avatar for Alana

Leave your rating and review