Lao Poached Bass with Shallots, Eggplant, and Chiles

  • Serves

    serves 2 people

  • Cook

    1 hour 15 minutes


A light yet hearty seafood dish, this recipe comes from Soulayphet Schwader, chef-owner of New York City's Lao-inspired Khe-Yo restaurant. Though Schwader makes this dish with what he calls "the funk," the strong Lao fermented fish paste padek, storebought fish sauce is used here. Just have a big bowl of sticky rice on the side, and do as the Lao do—eat with your hands. Featured in: Handfuls of Sticky Rice


  • 1 whole whole black bass, scaled and gutted, filets removed, bones and head reserved (about 4 lbs.)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 10 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and cut into 4” pieces
  • 1 (2") pieces galangal, thinly sliced
  • Fish sauce, to taste to taste (Schwader recommends 3 Crabs)
  • 5 apple eggplants, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 red thai chiles, stemmed
  • 4 shallots, peeled
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Cilantro, cucumber slices, and shredded cabbage, for serving
  • Sticky rice, for serving


Step 1

Heat oven to 375°. Combine fish bones and head, sugar, kaffir limes, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, and 2 quarts water in a 6-qt. saucepan; simmer 30-45 minutes, skimming as needed. Strain, discarding solids, and return to saucepan over medium heat. Add fish fillets and poach 5 minutes, until cooked through. Carefully remove fish fillets and break into 1” pieces; keep warm; reserve stock.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.) Working in batches, cook eggplant, garlic, chiles, shallots, and jalapenos, turning as needed, until charred, 8 minutes for the eggplant, 6 minutes for the chiles, and 15 minutes for the shallots. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake until soft, 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then, pulse until chunky in the food processor (alternately, mash in a mortar and pestle). Transfer to a bowl with the fish and mix to combine, drizzling in some of the fish stock and fish sauce to taste; mixture should have a texture similar to a stew. Serve with lime, cilantro, cucumber, cabbage, and sticky rice.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.