The leafy Asian green called pak warn translates loosely from Thai as ‘sweet leaves’ but you can use any green vegetable you like including choy sum or even asparagus. Like any good stir-fry, it takes only seconds in the wok, so it’s important you have everything prepared before you start cooking.
- 4 garlic cloves
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground white pepper
- 2 slices ginger
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 good handfuls ‘pak warn’, stems trimmed, shredded
- 2-3 tbsp chicken stock or water
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- large pinch of white sugar
- 1 coriander root
- pinch of sea salt (2 g)
- pinch of ground white pepper (1 g)
- pinch of galangal powder (1 g)
- 100 g firm white fish fillet, pureed just until smooth
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the fish dumplings, pound the coriander root, salt, pepper and galangal powder in a mortar and pestle until a fine paste forms, then place in a large bowl. Add the pureed fish and combine well using clean hands, then work in the fish sauce. Gather the fish mixture into a ball and slap around the bowl with your hands for about 10 minutes or until very sticky – this helps develop the protein.
Using your fingers or a small spoon, shape the fish mixture into about 20 small misshapen dumplings, about 2 cm in diameter. Place in iced water for a few minutes to help them firm up. Drop the dumplings into a wide saucepan of just simmering lightly salted water and cook just until the float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain well and set aside.
Place the garlic, salt, white pepper and ginger in a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Add the fish dumplings and toss to combine well.
Heat the wok over high heat until smoking. Add the oil, reduce the heat a little, then add the fish dumplings and toss just until lightly coloured but make sure the garlic paste doesn’t burn. Add the pak warm, increase the heat to high and toss to combine- it may be necessary to add little extra oil. Add the stock but not too much as the flavour or pak warn deteriorates if it simmers. Season the dish with the soy, sauce sugar and a pinch of pepper and serve immediately.