Thai cuisine is a heaven full of flavors, often showcasing their unique cooking skills. Yum Pla Dook Fu is a dish they make with green mango and crispy fried fish. So, let’s check what it is.

Traditionally, this dish is made with charcoal-grilled catfish. A delicious green mango salad always accompanies crispy fried fish. The key flavoring of the green mango salad is the flavorful dressing made with the perfect balance of flavors. This dish is either eaten alone or served with steamed rice.

Stay tuned for what we have to share with you as we also have a great Yum Pla Dook Fu recipe you can try at home!

Yum Pla Dook Fu - SpiceRally

What Is In Yum Pla Dook Fu?

This is one of the most iconic Thai dishes popular as a “drinking food”. This classic Thai dish is much loved by people outside Thailand mainly for its uniqueness and depth of flavor. 

“Yum” means “type of salad” in English, while “Pla Dook” is “catfish” and “Flu pr Floo” translates to “fluffy”. Traditionally, the key ingredient of this dish is charcoal-grilled catfish, which you may find on every street across Thailand. You can fry the perfectly grilled fish until nicely golden, crispy, and fluffy. 

You should serve this fluffy fish with a green mango salad that is sour, tangy, spicy, salty, and sweet. The recipe does not evolve or vary much and usually uses the same ingredients. You can enjoy this dish either by itself or served alongside a bowl of steamed rice, making it a whole meal for lunch or dinner.

Fish- While the traditional use is catfish, some recipes also come together with types of fish like Tilapia, cod, or haddock. The fish is grilled or steamed and then pounded in a mortar and pestle with panko bread crumbs and oil. Then the pounded fish is fried in hot oil until crispy and fluffy.

Oil- You can use Vegetable oil or any other oil to facilitate the pounding of fish and frying the fish.

Green mango- A sour mango is the best salad choice. You can shred under-ripened mango using a knife or a julienne peeler.

Salad dressing- You can make this with garlic, Thai chiles, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, and palm sugar.

Salad- Besides green mango, this salad contains chopped cilantro, Chinese celery, and shallots.

Optional ingredients- Roasted peanuts, cashew nuts, salt, soy sauce, and spring onions.

How To Make Yum Pla Dook Fu At Home?

Sometimes you give up on making this dish just because you can’t find catfish. But worry not, we will share a recipe you can make at home! Our version of Yum Pla Dook Fu will taste much better than what you ate out and is very healthy, and easy to make with a little effort. 

So, let’s get into cooking!

Yum Pla Dook Fu Recipe!

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by SpiceRally


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  • Spices & Herbs
  • 1 clove 1 Garlic

  • 3 3 Fresh Thai Chiles (red chiles or a combination of red and green)

  • 2 tbsp 2 Cilantro (chopped)

  • Other Ingredients
  • 10 oz 10 Tilapia fish meat

  • 1 1 Sour Green mango

  • 1/2 1/2 Shallot (thinly sliced)

  • 1 tsp 1 Soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp 2 Fish sauce

  • 2 tbsp 2 Fresh Lime juice

  • 1 tbsp 1 Palm sugar (grated)

  • 1 tbsp 1 Dried shrimp (chopped, optional)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Vegetable oil

  • 3 tbsp 3 Cashew nuts (roasted, unsalted)

  • For serving
  • Steamed rice



  • Steaming the fish
  • First, clean the pieces of Tilapia and season them with one teaspoon of soy sauce.
  • Steam your fish meat until done for about 10-12 minutes.

  • Making the Green Mango Salad
  • While the fish is steaming, you can start making your green mango salad.
  • Start by shredding the mango. First, peel your mango with a regular kitchen peeler. Then, wash the fruit and pat it dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Next, you can use the knife to shred the mango or a julienne pepper.
  • If you’re using the knife, you can make incisions in the fruit, angle the knife, and shave off the cuttings to get nice shredding.
  • Set the shredded mango aside and start making the dressing.

  • For the Dressing
  • Firstly, you need to pound the garlic clove with the chiles.
  • Once the garlic and chiles are no longer big chunks, add in the grated palm sugar and pound it until you get a nice muddy paste.
  • Into this, add in the fish sauce and lime juice. Pound again and using a spoon, mix until all the ingredients are very well combined.
  • Transfer your salad dressing to another large bowl and leave it to rest for about five minutes.

  • Assembling the salad
  • After five minutes, add the shredded mango, mix well, and follow up with chopped dried shrimp, sliced shallots, and chopped cilantro.
  • Combine all the ingredients and stir in the roasted cashew nuts, saving a few to garnish the fish when serving.
  • Set the salad aside, allowing the dressing to seep into shredded mango and shallots.

  • Making the fish
  • By this time, your fish should be steamed.
  • Get them out of the steamer and let it cool down before pounding.
  • Transfer the fish meat into the clean muslin cloth, squeeze and strain out the water in the fish as much as possible.
  • Now, put your fish meat into the mortar and pestle, add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, and pound them. You should keep pounding the fish meat until it looks fluffy. This might take around 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, carefully put the pounded fish into the hot oil in batches.
  • Use the skimmer ladle to push to clean up the edges of the fish, then let the fish fry until golden.
  • It would be best to occasionally push the fish down so the top is immersed, which will help the fish brown more uniformly.
  • Once the bubbling of the fish slows down, and the fish is evenly golden in color, remove it from the oil with the skimmer ladle and bob the fish several times to remove the oil nestled inside the fish.
  • Place the fried fish on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • You can do the same until all the batches are done.

  • Serving Yum Pla Dook Fu
  • On a plate with steamed rice, you can arrange the crispy fried fish on one end and the salad on the other end.
  • Serve warm, sprinkling the leftover cashew nuts on top of the fish!

Tasty Tips and Suggestions

  • Although we have used tilapia in our recipe, you can make this dish with whatever fish you want. Cod and haddock are great options to pick!
  • Throw some panko bread crumbs and vegetable oil into steamed fish while you pound them. This will make the fish more crispy and crunchy when fried.
  • If you need this recipe to be one hundred percent gluten-free, skip the soy sauce to season the fish and use salt instead.
  • You can also use roasted peanuts instead of cashew nuts. However, using nuts is not compulsory.
  • Substitute palm sugar with regular white or brown sugar. And, make sure to pick out a sour mango fruit for the perfect taste.

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Can We Make Yum Pla Dook Fu Ahead Of Time?

This dish is the best when prepared right before serving. But, you can steam your fish and prepare the vegetables for the salad in advance. Preparing the salad a little in advance is much better.

Can We Cook The Fish In The Air-fryer or Bake The Fish Before Frying Them?

You can pick your favorite way to cook your fish before frying them into crispy bits. But still, we recommend avoiding any method that creates a hard, crispy surface on your fish meat. The reason is, that these thick ends will depreciate the ability of your fish to get fluffy. Therefore, steaming fish is the most effective and easiest way to cook the fish.

Is Yum Pla Dook Fu Keto-friendly?

This classic Thai dish is an ideal addition to your ketogenic diet plan. Yum Pla Dook Fu contains low-carb and is perfect when enjoyed all by itself if you follow a strict meat plan.

Does Yum Pla Dook Fu Contain Gluten?

Our recipe is not gluten-free since we used soy sauce to season the fish. But skipping the soy sauce can make this recipe a gluten-free dish.

For more interesting dinner ideas from Thai cuisine, click on this link and refer to our comprehensive article!

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