Do you feel like you appreciate your local food better when you are older? Lately, I have been loving the food I grew up eating more. I see my cooking slowly change to be more humble and real, so I take this as a mission to share this kind of food more and more on my blog.
But first, I should tell you that this recipe is going to be slightly graphic. For some people, dealing with fresh ingredients like this can be difficult. To be honest, fresh water fish roe looks quite yucky, but if you know how to handle it, the result can be wonderful.
So I actually got these fish roe as a surprise when my mom made Pla Ra (Thai Preserved Fish) in my previous post. The roe is massive and fresh so we can’t let it go to waste. Fish roe is a delicacy in the part of the world where I came from. My favorite way of cooking it is to preserve it in salt, garlic and cooked rice. Not only the preserve fish roe is very delicious, but they can be kept for months, making it a popular dish to make when you have a large quantity of fish roe lying around.
Preserved fish roe can be kept in room temperature for a few weeks. The roe is usually ready in 3 days once you keep it in the jar. You can eat it fresh which can be adventurous, or you cook it first before enjoying it. When the roe is ready, it is pungent, sour and flavorful. We usually have it with sticky rice, a lot of fresh garlic, fresh chilies, and other fresh herbs on the side.
Som Khai Pla
1 kg fish roe from fresh water fish
1 cup garlic
½ cup sea salt
1 cup cooked rice
Clean and discard any vein and impurity from the roe, but do not wash it.
In a pestle, pound garlic and some sea salt together until the garlic becomes small pieces.
Mix garlic, the rest of the salt and cooked rice into fish roe.
Mix well with your hands until the mixture becomes thick paste.
Keep it in an airtight jar and store the jar in a cool dry place.
The roe should be ready to eat in 3 days. Keep the jar in room temperature for 2-3 weeks. The longer the roe is preserved, the pungent the flavor will become. After a few weeks, the roe should be kept in the fridge.