On a charcoal grill or in a pan, char roast the garlic, shallots and eggplants. Allow to cool, then peel and set aside.
Prepare the fish:
Clean the fish and fillet the meat, reserving the heads and bones.
On a cutting board and using a knife, mince the fish meat to a very smooth consistency. As you mince the meat, its consistency will become gooey. Do not use a meat grinder or an electric food processor.
Add the grilled ingredients.
Continue mincing and pounding with the knife until they are incorporated into the fish meat. Set aside.
Prepare the savory broth (น้ำนัว ; naam nuaa):
In a pot bring water, seasoned fermented fish sauce, and lemongrass to a strong boil.
Add the fish head and bones.
Skim off any foam and scum floating on top of the stock. Simmer on low heat and reduce to a concentrated stock. Strain and set aside.
Prepare the herbs:
Thinly slice the spring onion. Set aside.
Roughly chop the coriander leaves. Set aside.
Pick small young mint leaves and use them whole. Set aside.
Combine the laap:
In a mixing bowl, bring the minced fish meat to a wet consistency with the savory broth.
Taste and adjust the saltiness to your liking, using rock salt. It should be salty and savory.
When you are satisfied with the seasoning, add ground roasted glutinous rice and ground dried chili.
Add the herbs, and mix.
Serve raw as is or continue to cook the laap.
Cooking the laap (optional):
In a pan, over low medium heat, roast the finished laap – including the seasonings and aromatics – until the fish is cooked. Serve warm.
Serve alongside phak gap laap (ผักกับลาบ) – fresh herbs and vegetables.