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Thai Isaan Food Recipe – Steamed Fish with Green Chili Pepper Paste (Neung Pla)

A quick and easy recipe with Isaan-style green chili pepper paste filled up our stomachs at lunch yesterday. As the green chilies were about to get rotten and I have to get rid of them real soon, this Isaan recipe came into my mind. The food is so healthy. It contains lots of vegetables and the fish is a non-fat type which I can easily grab from the market. Here are the ingredients I usually use.


  • 1 whole fish (Remove the scale and cut into 4 big pieces)
  • 3-4 Coriander roots (crushed)
  • 1 handful sliced ginger
  • 2 handful Chinese celery (cut to 2 inches long)
  • 2 Chinese celery roots (cut above the roots about 2 inches and crush them) <-optional
  • 5 pieces of sliced galangal (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Paste Ingredients

  • 6 Green chili peppers
  • 6-10 red chilies
  • 6-10 clove garlic
  • 15 shallots
  • 1/2 cup of Fermented fish juice (Plara)
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice

Side Vegetables

  • Cabbage
  • Long bean
  • Raw papaya
  • Guard
  • Eggplants
  • Morning glory
  • etc…

Cooking Instructions

1. Mix the fish with salt. Then steam the fish, coriander roots, sliced ginger, Chinese celery and the roots, and galangal for 10-15 minutes in boiling water.

2. Grill all of the paste ingredients. Making paste by pounding garlic, red chilies, shallots altogether. Leave the green chili pepper for last because it has juice. We don’t want to splash any of the ingredient into our eyes as we pound them.

3. Some people peel off the chili peppers skin but I didn’t.

4. Now you can pound all of the paste ingredients together. Add fermented fish juice, fish sauce and lime juice. Mix well.

5. Serve with steamed fish and soft boiled side vegetables.

This paste is a staple with any seafood that we make. The taste is heavy on the garlic, sour, and salty side. It makes boring fish ilke Pla Nin (Tilapia) taste great.

Thai Isaan Food Recipe: Steamed Fish and the Chili Paste with Plara!

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