December 7, 2022

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Mok Huak – Consuming Tadpole Casserole (หมกฮวก) in Isaan

Unique consuming in Isan province (ภาคอีสาน)

One among my favourite issues to do is eat issues I’ve by no means tasted earlier than.

I like each meals that look acquainted and that embody acquainted components, and I additionally like to eat issues that is perhaps a bit unique, or maybe weird.

One of many episodes for the Thai meals TV present I’m filming, is about unique Thai dishes… that’s why we ate pig’s blood soup and pig brains once we have been in Chiang Rai.

Within the Isan province (ภาคอีสาน) of Thailand, we had one other day of unique eating and meals exploration…

ฮวก
One thing referred to as huak (ฮวก)

In Isan they’re referred to as huak (ฮวก), in Thai they’re often called luk awd (ลูกอ๊อด ), and in English, they’re tadpoles.

Frogs (กบ recognized in Thai as “gob”) are a major a part of the weight-reduction plan in lots of elements of Thailand.

All through Thailand you possibly can order frog as a fairly normal protein in many alternative dishes, starting from curried with chili, to deep fried, to stewed in jungle curry.

Frog
Frog is a standard meals in Thailand

However in Thailand to date, I had solely eaten full grown frogs, which as I discussed are extensively out there all through Thailand.

Consumed largely in Isan, tadpoles are additionally standard, and are solely out there within the wet season months (so they’re seasonal and uncommon to seek out at occasions).

However first, let’s begin at the start of the day…

tom sen (ต้มเส้น)
tom sen (ต้มเส้น) – mung bean noodle soup

We first began the day with breakfast in Ubol Rat, and I had a bowl of tom sen (ต้มเส้น), principally mung bean glass noodles cooked in a rooster braised soup.

Thai noodles soup
It was alright, however not unbelievable

It was alright, however a bit on the candy facet for me.

However, I used to be fairly hungry within the morning, so it did hit the spot.

Ban Kham Pla Lai Village (บ้านคำปลาหลาย)
The fantastic thing about Ban Kham Pla Lai Village (บ้านคำปลาหลาย)

Just some kilometers from Ubol Rat (อุบลรัตน์), we headed to a small village often called Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย), to satisfy up with Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่), the pinnacle of the village.

village in Isan
Contemporary air, stunning surroundings

Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) is a really small village, within the Khon Kaen space of Thailand, Ubol Rat, within the Isan area – it’s a few 7 – 8 hour drive to get there from Bangkok.

Isaan Thailand
Life in Isan

The village has been acknowledged as a mannequin village in Thailand, a group that was previously fairly poor, and although nobody is wealthy now, the essential wants of everybody dwelling within the village are met.

As Martin Wheeler (a British man who lives in Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) defined to me, the village is primary, however everybody has entry to assets, owns a home, owns land, and has entry to recent meals together with natural greens.

บ้านคำปลาหลาย
Neighborhood and caring for one another is how Ban Kham Pla Lai Village (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) excels

Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) is a village in Isan that’s a good knit group, the place individuals handle one another and take care of one another.

pig raised
A pig being raised

Many individuals develop their very own crops, and plenty of have their very own livestock, not essentially on the market, however not less than for private consumption.

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It’s a easy life, however Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) is an instance of a village in rural Thailand that went from being very poor to a group that’s not wealthy, however doing effectively.

Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่)
Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) – an incredible man

Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) is an incredible man, and he’s the primary individual we went to satisfy in Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) village.

eating tadpoles
The tadpole pool

Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) will not be solely the pinnacle chief of the village, however he’s additionally well-known within the space for offering coaching to college students about sustainable agriculture.

He is a legend in Khon Kaen, and it was an honor to satisfy him and to hang around (and eat) with him and his household for the day.

frogs for food in Thailand
Elevating frogs for meals in Thailand

Together with rising a lot of crops, and internet hosting coaching periods for college kids, one in every of Paw Lae’s (พ่อแหล่) major tasks is his frog farm, the place he raises and sells frogs for meals.

That’s what we have been after.

eating frog in Thailand
Comfortable frog buyer!

As we have been touring round Paw Lae’s (พ่อแหล่) compound, testing his pigs and chickens, this jolly fellow got here by, hungry for frog and able to purchase some.

We ended up scooping him some recent frogs out of the pond and he purchased 2 kilos. He mentioned he was going to make tom yum gob (ต้มยำกบ), tom yum soup with frog – sounded fairly good to me.

agriculture in Isan
Fishing for tadpoles

After strolling across the village for a bit, and seeing the frog farm, we then took off our sneakers and headed straight into the tadpole pond to catch some tadpoles for a pair conventional, and unique, Isan dishes we’d be cooking subsequent.

Alright, now let’s get into the scrumptious meals…

ฮวกชุปแป้งทอด
Deep fried tadpoles (ฮวกชุปแป้งทอด)

After catching the tadpoles, we then went on to cook dinner 2 totally different dishes: mok huak (a bit tadpole casserole wrapped right into a banana leaf and grilled), and huak tod (deep fried tad poles).

The huak tod (ฮวกชุปแป้งทอด), deep fried tadpoles, have been first coated in a batter made with flour, salt, and a touch of chili paste, then simply deep fried.

They tasted like little boneless rooster nuggets, very tasty certainly.

food in northern Thailand
It’s referred to as mok huak (หมกฮวก), form of like a casserole… created from tadpoles

However the mok huak (หมกฮวก) is what I used to be most fascinated by, fairly an adventurous and unique Thai dish.

In a bowl, we combined up a mix of lemongrass, chilies, candy basil, dill, and another herbs and seasonings, together with a very good handful of recent tadpoles.

Then we stuffed the tadpole combination into a number of layers of banana leaves, and wrapped them up like a bit bundle.

bizarre food in Thailand
Cooking the mok huak (หมกฮวก)

The mok huak (หมกฮวก) then sat on a low fireplace grill for about 10 minutes till they completed cooking.

exotic food
Sticky rice and tadpole casserole

Actually talking, the mok huak (หมกฮวก) was scrumptious.

When you’ve ever eaten frog earlier than, you would possibly agree with me that it’s scrumptious, however very boney. However tadpoles are like one of the best of the frog, with out the bones.

หมกฮวก
Mok huak (หมกฮวก), tadpoles combined with herbs and chilies, then cooked in a banana leaf

They have been like little items of boneless fish and rooster, and combined with all of the chilies, lemongrass, and herbs, it was unbelievable, particularly when eaten together with bites of sticky rice.

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หมกตัวต่อ
Right here’s one other fascinating Thai dish referred to as mok dua daw (หมกตัวต่อ wasp larvae casserole)

In Chiang Rai, I ate wasp larvae for the primary time, each straight out of the hive, and in addition pounded in a nam prik chili sauce.

In Isan, they made mok dua daw (หมกตัวต่อ), wasp larvae grilled in a banana leaf wrapper, and it was fairly good too.

Thai dishes in Isan
Mok dua daw (หมกตัวต่อ)

The wasp larvae was combined with the same ingredient mix because the mok huak (หมกฮวก), with lemongrass, chilies, and herbs, however this model had an egg included as effectively.

The egg labored to carry all of the components collectively.

eating wasp larvae
Are you able to see the little wasp larvae in there!?

Isan is without doubt one of the nice areas of Thailand for scrumptious delicacies, and this meal, together with a number of dishes I had by no means tried earlier than (and some dishes which are very uncommon to seek out in Bangkok), was glorious.

บ้านคำปลาหลาย
Cooking different scrumptious frog dishes

As well as, we additionally loved a full lunch unfold of dishes at Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย), the whole lot ready by Paw Lae’s spouse and his household.

Many of the dishes have been frog based mostly, in all types and sizes, and we additionally had a number of different assorted Isan dishes, all of which have been very tasty.

Khon Kaen food
Marvelous Isaan meals lunch at Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย)

Sitting on an elevated bamboo platform, all of us feasted on a correctly scrumptious native Isan village feast.

There have been some very fascinating dishes, just like the tadpole dishes, in addition to a number of Isan meals classics.

จิ้งหรีด giant crickets
Jing reet (จิ้งหรีด big crickets) – these have been nonetheless alive!

Most conventional crickets I’ve seen are in regards to the dimension of massive flies, however these have been big crickets, in regards to the dimension of cockroaches, however meatier trying.

Within the bowl, they have been nonetheless alive and transferring about.

จิ้งหรีดทอด
fried big crickets (จิ้งหรีดทอด)

In Thailand you’ll discover distributors promoting bugs throughout, and they’re normally all fairly tasty, however I can for certain say, these have been a lot brisker, and pure tasting than ones I’ve eaten in Bangkok.

These fried big crickets (จิ้งหรีดทอด) have been actually fairly scrumptious, calmly salted, and crispy.

eating frog in Thailand
Frog able to be deep fried with garlic

One other dish we have been served for lunch was deep fried frog, marinated in a little bit of soy sauce and topped with a number of garlic.

กบทอดกระเทียม
Fried frog with garlic

It was principally like fried rooster, solely with extra bones and fewer meat. It certain was tasty.

ส้มตำลาว
Critically scrumptious som tam (ส้มตำลาว)

Together with all of our plates of protein, an Isan meal wouldn’t be full with no plate of the ever-present som tam (inexperienced papaya salad).

It was marvelous, and it was nation Thai Isan fashion – fiery sizzling, recent greens, and potently flavored with pla ra (fermented fish sauce) – scrumptious.

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mushrooms in sauce
Goy het (ก้อยเห็ด)

Goy het (ก้อยเห็ด, is also spelled koi), a mix of sliced wooden ear mushrooms cooked in an Isan dish often called goy (just like lab, however a bit totally different), was marvelous.

I had eaten goy neua (beef model, that’s a video) earlier than, however by no means with wooden ear mushrooms.

It was unbelievable, once more, good and spicy, and sprinkled with a pleasant quantity of khao khua, toasted pounded sticky rice.

ต้มไก่
Gai tom (ต้มไก่) – boiled rooster soup

One other dish I loved was gai tom (ต้มไก่), a soup of rooster boiled with herbs and a few small greens. It was extra of only a soothing gentle and nation fashion Thai rooster soup.

Consuming a correct fashion Isan lunch with the corporate of Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) and his household was great.

Fortunately stuffed, we continued on to our subsequent scene.

Martin Wheeler in Thailand
Strolling across the farm with Martin Wheeler (มาร์ติน วีลเลอร์)

After lunch we headed over to satisfy Martin Wheeler (มาร์ติน วีลเลอร์), a British man who lives in Ban Kham Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย), and has a farm.

The rationale he loves Isan and extra particularly this village a lot, is for the group, the entry to assets, and the unimaginable hearts of the individuals.

Martin Wheeler (มาร์ติน วีลเลอร์)
All of us, hanging out with Martin Wheeler (มาร์ติน วีลเลอร์)

It was an inspiration to satisfy Martin, a person that has a honest coronary heart for Isan.

After a beautiful day touring the great Ban Kham Pla Lai village, and attending to eat a full meal of great Isan dishes, we headed again to Khon Kaen metropolis.

traveling in Thailand
Paw Lae’s (พ่อแหล่), myself, Mother

The hospitality of Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) and his household, in addition to Martin, was great.

All of them have been wonderful individuals and it was an honor to satisfy every one in every of them.

Ban Kam Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย)
It was an incredible expertise to go to Ban Kam Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย) in Isan province, Thailand

Consuming “full-grown” frog is extraordinarily widespread all through Thailand, particularly within the Isan province of the nation… however there’s one other stage of the frog that’s a bit extra unique, and customary in Isan as effectively: tadpoles (ฮวก huak)

In Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น), I had the possibility to go to Ban Kam Pla Lai (บ้านคำปลาหลาย), a small village in Isan, the place I met Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่), the pinnacle chief of the village and an throughout wonderful man.

He raises frogs for meals, and after we toured his farm, we then went fishing for tadpoles for lunch. We then ready a dish often called mok huak (หมกฮวก) – form of like a grilled tadpole casserole.

It was an enormous honor to satisfy Paw Lae (พ่อแหล่) and his household, and I totally loved this native Isan meals expertise.

(NOTE: I’m a part of a Thai meals TV present documentary, the place I’m touring round Thailand consuming unforgettable meals. I’m doing my greatest to weblog in regards to the issues we do and eat. When you’re , try the main points right here.)