Snakehead Fish Nam Tok Recipe ; Spicy Issan Style Deep Fried Snakehead Fish Dressed with Fresh Herbs
(naam dtohk bplaa chaawn)

Click to listen to the Thai name pronunciation Listen to the Thai name pronunciation
By: Hanuman

Nam Tok Recipe

Here is a wonderful spicy Nam Tok recipe; you may as well go for it! A crispy fried fish dressed with plenty of fresh herbs, plenty of chilies than some lime juice and fragrant ground roasted rice as a textural binder. It is an unpretentious dish, that is just about what is around and what is available; there is some sort of truth about it, which makes it so wonderful.

If you are trying your first Issan style recipe, than this is the one to go for. It is not complicated to prepare and will show off beautifully the hearty and rustic flavors of Issan.

Snakehead Fish Nam Tok Recipe naam dtohk bplaa chaawnสูตรทำน้ำตกปลาช่อน
Hanuman from Thaifoodmaster
Wonderful spicy nam tok recipe; crispy fried fish dressed with plenty of fresh herbs, chilies, limejuice and ground roasted rice.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Thai
Servings 3 -4


  • Snakehead fish medium size about 300g (can be substituted with any firm white flesh fish)
  • Neutral flavor oil for deep frying


  • 1/3 cup stock or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground roasted rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground dried chili (พริกป่น), freshly roasted and grounded
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (น้ำตาลทราย)
  • 1/3 cup spring onions both green and white parts (about 2 stalks), finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coriander roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves hand torn into halves.
  • 1/3 cup lemongrass (ตะไคร้) (about 1 1/2 stalks), very finely chopped
  • 4-5 shallots (หอมแดง) about 1/3 cup roughly chopped
  • 3-5 Kaffir lime leaves thinly chopped


  • Lettuce leaves Mint leaves, fried dried bird's eye chilies


  • Clean the fish. Remove the backbone and back fins. Score the body with diagonal cuts to allow even cooking.

  • Deep-fry the fish on medium heat until golden and crispy from the outside. Set aside. If the fish is too large to be submerged in the oil, you can use a spatula to wash the exposed areas with hot oil. Be very careful. Hot oil is extremely dangerous!

  • On low heat fry a handful of dried bird's eye chilies for decoration
    ทอดพริกแห้งในน้ำมัน โดยใช้ไฟอ่อนจนพริกแห้งออกสีเงา ๆ

  • In a mixing bowl mix all the dressing ingredients in the order they are listed here.
    ผสมเครื่องน้ำตก ประกอบด้วย น้ำเปล่า น้ำมะนาว น้ำปลา น้ำตาลทราย พริกป่น ข้าวคั่ว ผักชี ต้นหอม ใบสะระแหน่ตะไคร้ ใบมะกรูด และ หอมแดง เข้าด้วยกัน

  • Arrange lettuce leaves on a large serving plate. Place the deep-fried fish on top and pour the herbs dressing mixture over the fish.
  • Decorate with fresh mint leaves and fried dried bird's eye chilies.
    วางปลาบนจาน และ ราดเครื่องน้ำตกทั้งหมดลงไป ตบแต่งด้วยพริกแห้งทอด และ ใบสะระแหน่ เป็นอันเสร็จ

  • Serve with hot sticky rice.

Tried this recipe?We'd love to see it - tag it #THAIFOODMASTER on Instagram! Please leave a comment to let us know how it was!


17 comments… add one
  • Avatar Radasa Wanthippa Apr 20, 2010, 9:04 pm

    Look so good Hanuman…just like I are wonderful indeed…Try more for the next cooking…I will watch and give you a comment !!!! Well done kha 10/10 points

  • Avatar nutt Apr 20, 2010, 10:55 pm

    น่าทานมากๆๆเลยค่ะ คุนหนุมาน ไว้จะลองไปทำบ้าง ^^

  • Avatar Nadda Mueller Apr 21, 2010, 2:15 am

    Hmmmm What a yummy food!!! I have no more Pla Duk in my freezer…What a jelious that you have such a fresh fish there ;) Thanks for sharing ka!!!

  • Avatar ปุ่น Apr 22, 2010, 1:50 am

    เผ็ดร้อนน่ากินจริง ๆ ปลาช่อนที่นี่มีแต่แช่แข็ง แต่คิดว่าปลาสดที่นี่น่าจะมาทำน้ำตกได้
    วันไหนแดดร้อน ๆ จะลองเมนูนี้ดู กินกับข้าวเหนียว อา แซ่บ ๆ

  • Avatar Art Apr 29, 2010, 12:50 pm

    เห็นแล้วน้ำลายไหล เลย น่ากิน

  • Avatar Erin Nov 23, 2010, 8:56 am

    Wow, we just ate this for dinner. We used tilapia filets. Eating it, we thought we were back in Thailand at a fancy restaurant. Keep the good recipes coming!!!

  • Avatar Ann Mar 21, 2013, 3:42 am

    Love this suggestion. I have a whole fried tilapia and will definitely try this over it. Thank you.

    Just stumbled onto your site while I was looking for a PaLo recipe. Will have to try that next.

  • Avatar Susan Sep 24, 2014, 9:31 am

    Dear Hanuman,

    Love your site – especially because you use English and Thai script. I am an Australian in Tokyo and am putting together a dictionary of Thai food ingredients in English, Thai and Japanese and think your site would be very useful.

    Best regards

    • Avatar Jane Brown May 27, 2016, 5:13 am

      Hi Susan,

      I’m trying to find a fish recipe I ate in Mae Hong Son along the lake. It was a grilled fish topped with a lime/chili sauce. I’m wondering if you have any recipe’s from the area? Thanks!

    • Avatar Hanuman May 28, 2016, 9:42 pm

      i would guess: Pla Lui Suan

  • Avatar Jeem Oct 21, 2014, 9:39 pm


    So good to see new posts on your site. You understand food and come from the heart in the way you cook. The time and effort that you take to present and post is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Jeem

  • Avatar eagle6996 Apr 12, 2015, 10:34 pm

    อาจารย์หนุมานกินดุจังครับ ผมคนไทยแท้ ๆ หลายเมนูไม่เคยรู้จักหรือที่เคยเห็นบางเมนูผมไม่กินอ่ะครับ ผมคนอีสานแท้ ๆ เหอ ๆ

  • Avatar Apaimanee อภัยมณี Mar 3, 2016, 2:27 pm

    Have tried a few of your recipes and really do enjoy your approach, thoroughness and obvious love of what you’re doing. With respect to this particular recipe, i can only refer to my childhood in Thailand (50 years ago). At that time, in our household and most others, fried food was the exception, not the rule. Really, i think that this dish was, in the past anyway, done with charcol grilled fish ปลาดุก. The slightly smokey aroma and taste of a slow-grilled fish works well with the sauce.

    Honestly, if you could do a quick tutorial of properly grilled snake had fish, i for one, would appreciate it

    Many many thanks

  • Avatar Alex Wenzel Apr 15, 2017, 2:29 am

    Wow……cooked a lot Thai Dishes and Herbst and “Saucen”.. in my life.
    But this receipt surely is heavenly. Never used so much herbs in one sauce. Itś fantastic !!!! All your senses are beeing occupied.

  • Avatar Haya Nov 1, 2017, 9:26 pm

    It look so good !!!
    What can I do instead of frying the fish?

    • Avatar Hanuman Nov 2, 2017, 12:17 am

      hi haya ; try preparing the sauce first, then you can opt to other proteins or cooking styles.

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