I made lau mam this past weekend for the first time. It came out really good, and since there are almost no recipes for this in English on the web, I'm posting what I did here!
Here's a discussion where I posted photos of my hot pot meal (we also made a Chinese-style broth): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/758214
This recipe is based roughly off of this one, although we made lots of changes. http://www.vietnamesefood.com.vn/viet...
Here's what we did:
1) Make a broth to use. I made a chicken/pork broth from scratch, which consisted of water, bones (chicken and pork), a bit of ginger, and some scallions. I added some salt, but it was definitely not very salty.
Ingredients for the lau mam:
7 cups of pork broth (could be less than this, depending on desired fishiness).
1/2 jar mam ca (fermented fish paste). This was about 215 grams. We used Coconut Tree brand
2 quarts of water
1 cup of coconut water (no pulp). This was 2/3 can, but we could have used all of it and it would have been good, too.
3 stalks of lemongrass, peeled and smashed/bent
2 chinese eggplants, cut in strips
2 T minced garlic
1 T minced lemongrass
2 T minced shallots or the white part of green onion
2 T fish sauce
2 T sugar
Salt to taste
In a medium pot, combine the mam ca with the 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 30-40 minutes. It will smell like a swamp. After the time is up, pour the liquid through a strainer to strain out any bones and residue. Strain again, then return the liquid to the pot, discarding the solids. Add in the smashed lemongrass and the coconut water, then simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes.
In a wok, add some oil, then add the garlic, minced lemongrass, shallot/onion. Stir fry quickly for a minute or two, then add in the eggplant. Stir fry the eggplant until it begins to char, then add in about 1/2 cup of pork broth, and continue cooking. Add the fish sauce and the sugar. When the eggplant is about 1/2 way done, remove it from the wok. Take any remaining garlic/lemongrass/shallot and put it into the fish broth.
To assemble the hot pot broth, mix the fish broth in with the pork broth. Use more/less pork broth depending on how fishy you want the final soup to be. Once it's time to make the hotpot, add the eggplant back in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add in other hot pot items, and serve.
Hot pot items:
Okra (washed, whole)
Shrimp (whole, shell-on)
Various shabu-shabu meats (pork belly, beef)
Green veggies (napa cabbage, pea pod leaves
On the side:
Rice noodles (pre-cooked)
Tamarind sauce (tamarind puree + simple syrup)
Herbs (basil, cilantro)
Once the hot pot is boiling and you have cooked some items, place some cold noodles in your bowl. Then ladle some of the soup into your small bowl, along w/ any meats or veggies from the pot. Add a teaspoon of the tamarind sauce, some fresh herbs, and enjoy!
- These proportions came out with a pretty mild broth. You could still taste the fish, but it wasn't very strong, and everyone liked it.
- The original recipe mentions pineapple, which we didn't use, but it might be worth trying in the future.
- We decided not to put any actual fish in the hot pot, but including this would be traditional I think. Catfish, squid, fish balls, etc.