about 1¼ cups (300ml) light chicken stock
pinch of salt
5 (about 45g) Thai shallots, peeled
6 bird’s-eye chillies
10 mouse shit chillies (small, hot, red chillies from Thailand)
2 stalks lemongrass
5 lime leaves, torn and crumpled
100g market-fresh fish, ideally white-fleshed and not too oily
2-3 tablespoons good-quality fish sauce
pinch of unpolished sugar
½ cup picked holy basil
fresh lime juice to taste (roughly 2 limes, depending on the variety and season)
1 small dried bird’s-eye chilli


1.Bring the stock to the boil and add the pinch of salt.
2.Using a stone mortar and pestle, bruise the shallots, chillies and lemongrass separately. Add the bruised vegetables and lime leaves to the stock and simmer until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
3.Add the sliced fish and leave to poach gently, seasoning with some fish sauce and the smallest pinch of sugar.
4.When the fish is almost cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes, add the holy basil and remove from the heat. Ladle into a bowl and season with lime juice and dried bird’s-eye chilli.
5.Taste before serving and adjust the seasoning accordingly. It should be hot, sour, and salty.

Edited extract reproduced with permission from The Recipe, Josh Emett
with photography by Kieran E. Scott, published by Upstart Press, $49.99.
Cover copyright © Josh Emett
Design copyright © Blackwell and Ruth Ltd, 2019

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