Hello Everyone! Tonight’s dish branches out from the first recipe I shared with you guys at the beginning of this month. If you haven’t been able to check that recipe out, here it is again: Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad.
Yam Pla Duk Fu (ยำปลาดุกฟู), or in English, Crispy Fish with Green Mango Salad, is a classic and much loved Thai “drinking food” of all time. The combination of a crispy exterior with moist fish meat on the inside, paired with a spicy, tart green mango salad is truly a match made in heaven. For all my alcohol-loving Filipino family, friends, and followers out there, give the sisig a rest and opt for a lighter and maybe healthier alternative to your pulutan and pair this humble fish dish with your beer. On the flip side, don’t think that you can limit this dish just for happy hour; it is also best paired with a cup of steamed rice for a delicious lunch or dinner.
Traditionally, Thai charcoal-grilled catfish (pla duk) is used to make this dish, as it is widely available on the streets of Thailand. The fish is first grilled whole. Its flesh is then fluffed (fu) into tiny cotton-like flakes, and then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. A simple green mango salad (yam) is then served alongside the crispy fluffy fish flakes.
You can see that the ingredients and process of making this dish literally translates into its name – Yam Pla Duk Fu. Since I’m not using catfish for this recipe, nor have I really paid attention to the ‘fluffing’ of the fish meat, my rendition of this dish can simply be called Yam Pla, just Salad Fish *cheeky grin*
As I did further research into this dish, many restaurants in Thailand have opted to use other variants of fish. I’ve also seen various images of the dish where a whole fish is used instead of it being fluffed into flakes. At least I know I won’t be cursed for using a fish other than the traditional Thai catfish. I did find a rather angry blog post about why people are still insistent on calling the dish by its traditional name of Yam Pla Duk Fu when ‘duk fish’ isn’t even used. So before I too get bombed about titling this post by its traditional name where it’s far from it, just note that I did this just so that I could touch on the back-story of this dish.
This dish would otherwise be named, Yam Pla (ยำปลา) Fish Salad: My Rendition of the Traditional Yam Pla Duk Fu (ยำปลาดุกฟู) Crispy Fish with Green Mango Salad. That’s one heck of a long-ass title – reminds me of the days of how Fall Out Boy used to title their songs back in the day! One of my favourites: I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You).
PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4
For the Green Mango Salad
- Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad Recipe
For the Crispy Fish
- 2 large tilapia fish (about 700g – 800g per fish), gutted and scaled
- Ground salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare the Green Mango Salad according to the recipe (link provided above). Set aside.
- Season the fish with a touch of salt and ground black pepper on both sides and fry until browned and crispy, about 5-6 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to a serving dish.
- Top with the Green Mango Salad and serve with steamed jasmine rice, or a cold bevy of your choice.
Tip: We usually rub about a tablespoon of turmeric powder when frying fish for added flavour. I completely forgot to pick some up when grocery shopping hence why we’ve left it out, but if you do happen to have it lying around, use it!
I know the recipe says 2 tilapia fish, but in the final shots of the dish there’s only one. It’s only because we had this dish for lunch and dinner for the day and instead of frying both for lunch, we fried the other when it came to dinner time so that it’d be hot and crispy for then!
Disclaimer: Again, like in last week’s post, I do apologise to any of my Thai followers, or any who have just stumbled upon my blog, and this post in particular. I’ve seen so many variations of the spelling for Yam Pla Duk Fu and I’m not sure if I’ve picked the right one! *cheeky grin*
– Ally xx