River Steam Boat

Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen
Show: Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong Episode: 4000 Islands, Laos
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 30 min
YIELD: 8 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 red Asian shallots, finely sliced
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp with the seeds (not tamarind puree)
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 4 cups young coconut juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 bruised lemongrass stem
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound 2 ounces whole white-fleshed fish, such as snapper, cut into fillets and finely sliced, bones reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 butter lettuce leaves
  • 7 Chinese cabbage leaves, finely sliced
  • 4 spring onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large handful water spinach, torn into 1 1/4-inch pieces
recipe tools


For the broth: Heat the oil in a hot wok, and then saute the garlic, shallots, ginger and onions until browned. Stir in the tamarind pulp and chili flakes. Add the coconut juice, fish sauce, peanuts, soy sauce, sugar, half the eggs, the lemongrass, lime, pinch sea salt and the fish bones. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Mix the fish with the remaining egg and black pepper. Lay 1 lettuce leaf down and top with some cabbage, spring onions, cilantro, mint and spinach. Top with a few slices of fish. Wrap the lettuce up around the filling, then secure the ends with a bamboo skewer. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, securing each parcel with a bamboo skewer.

Cook the fish parcels in the simmering broth for 1 minute, then enjoy straight away.



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