Steamed Red Curry Custard ห่อหมก (haw mok)

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Serves 4

  • 3 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 300 ml coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped or grated palm sugar
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned
  • 160 g fish filet, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces (see note)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cabbage and/or kale, steamed until wilted
  • 8-12 leaves Thai basil
  • 3-8oz ramekins, or any heatproof small bowls or cups of your choice
  • Banana leaves, optional

Note: You can use any type of fish you want for this dish, or substitute other seafood such as shrimp, squid, or even mussels (without shell!). If you choose a tender fish like sole, basa, or barramundi, you will get a soft, melt-in-your-mouth custard, while firmer fish like halibut or swordfish will add a slight chew.


  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp cornstarch
  • Siced spur chilies or julienned red bell pepper
  • Cilantro leaves or finely julienned kaffir lime leaves



Preheat the steamer on medium heat.

In a mixing bowl, add curry paste and just enough coconut milk to dissolve the paste, stir until smooth. Add the remaining coconut milk, beaten eggs, palm sugar, fish sauce, and kaffir lime leaves; stir until well combined. Add fish and stir to mix; set aside.

At this point, if you want to check seasoning, put a small amount of the liquid into a heat-proof bowl and steam for a few minutes until cooked. Taste and adjust accordingly.

Prep the containers: If using banana leaves, measure the length of your ramekin from one edge to the other, and cut a strip of banana leaf along the grain to that length, and make strips just wide enough that it sits flat on the bottom. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Line the ramekin with one strip, and place the other perpendicular to the first strip.

Put a layer of steamed cabbage and/or kale on the bottom of ramekins (as much as you wish, depending if you like a lot of vegetables in your haw mok or not), then add 2-3 Thai basil leaves to each ramekin.

Distribute fish evenly into each ramekin, and ladle liquid over until about 1/2-inch from the top.

Steam over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

While the custard steams, make the garnish. Put cornstarch into a microwave-safe bowl and add a splash of water just to dissolve it. Add coconut milk and stir. Cook in a small pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

When the custard is done, it will be puffed up and will not jiggle much when shaken. To serve, spoon a little of the coconut cream on top, then top with cilantro leaves and spur chilies. Serve with jasmine rice.

Haw Mok – Red Curry Custard