Stuffing herbs and spices into the whole fish
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Modern Hmong Feast

Lucy Lor provides her recipes for three modern dishes found in a Hmong feast she cooks for her family and community near La Crosse. ‘Modern’ Hmong dishes like these depart from ‘traditional’ Hmong cuisine. They are newer dishes widely embraced by Hmong people, sometimes influenced by other Asian cuisines and often the creation of modern Hmong cooks. Some of them use ingredients that are a direct product of immigration to a new country. For example, in the recipe for Beef Larb, below, few Hmong people tasted Western-style beef before coming to the United States, because typically the only affordable and available red meat in Laos was Water buffalo.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hmong
Author: Lucy Lor, Onalaska


Beef Larb (Laab) (Beef Salad)

  • 2 lb beef steak
  • 1/2 cup mint, minced
  • 1/2 cup basil, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 medium purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 pinches sugar
  • 5 whole fresh red chili peppers, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon grass powder
  • 1 package Larb (or Laab) seasonings
  • 1 Tbsp roasted glutenous rice powder

Stewed Fish

  • 1 whole tilapia, cleaned or 2lbs of any fish of your liking
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, minced or thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon grass stem
  • 2 whole tomatoes
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 3 fresh whole chili peppers
  • 2 Tbsp green onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp MSG or substitute with vegetable soup base (optional)
  • salt to taste

Tofu Peppers

  • 1 14 oz block tofu
  • 3 fresh chili peppers
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, minced (equivalent to a handful)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 pinch black pepper


Beef Larb

  • Brown your steak in a pan both sides and then bake it in the oven for 10 mins, Steak can be cooked to your liking. 
  • Sliced steak into thinly pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add all of the vegetables and then add the seasonings last. 
  • Mixed everything and add anything to your liking. It is ready to eat once everything is mixed.

Stewed Fish

  • In a stock pot fill your water half way and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling add the fish and the lemon grass. 
  • Bring back to a boil and add lime leaves and all the remaining ingredients. 
  • Add additional fish sauce or salt to taste. (Note: fish sauce is already salty). Bring to a boil for 5 mins and take off the stove. It is ready to be served.

Tofu Peppers

  • In a mortar, add the fresh chili peppers and and a pinch of salt and start smashing it and bring to a paste consistency. 
  • Add tofu and start mixing in breaking it apart into almost a paste consistency and add all remaining ingredients. Add any additional of seasonings to your likings. It is ready to be served.