Fish Dish: Boiled Tilapia w/ Herbs and Veggies

Hunting and gathering have always been basic functions of traditional Hmong culture. Fishing was always an available source of food and fish were abundant in supply. Many traditional Hmong dishes which incorporate fish are adopted from geological locations of residence such as Laos, Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Nowadays, in modern Hmong culture, fishing is less of a necessity as we can purchase fish from grocers. But the ingredients of this delicious dish remain (for the most part) the same as well as the flavor.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made boiled Tilapia at least once every few weeks for my dad. This dish is probably one of my dad’s favorites. It’s extremely nutritious and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make. The fresh herbs and vegetables assist in bringing out an amazingly rich taste and aroma. Let’s get started, shall we?

Meet the Main Ingredients

fresh ingredients   tilapia

Ingredients List:



  1. Chop up the vegetables and herbs.
  2. Cut the Tilapia fish into four pieces as show in the photo above.

Let’s get cooking!


Cooking Instructions:
  1. Put 5 cups of water into cooking pot.
  2. Put the pot on the stove – high heat. 
  3. Add the cut up Tilapia fish to the pot.
  4. Add the Thai chili peppers and lemon grass.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Add salt.
  7. Add the rest of the vegetables and herbs.
  8. Cook for a total of 30 minutes or until fish is fully cooked.

Presentation: Boiled Tilapia w/ herbs and veggies

cooked fish

  • Take the pieces of Tilapia fish out from the pot and assemble them on a plate.
  • Pour the fish broth over the fish.
  • Spoon the herbs and vegetables over the fish as pictured above.

*Best served with a side of sticky rice.

Alternative: Try adding tomatoes for a kick of flavor 🙂



Welcome the Spring Season with Light & Healthy Fresh Spring Rolls

The history of spring rolls comes from cultures all over the world. But it’s not a native food of the Hmong people. It was adopted from eastern and southern Asian cultures. This light, delicious, and healthy cuisine is a favorite among many – probably because there are no set ingredients that you MUST use. For example, uses tofu and avocado. And there’s even a whole category of fried spring rolls as seen in So I want to share with you how I like to make my fresh spring rolls.

Meet the Main Ingredients


These ingredients will go inside the spring rolls.

vermicelli noodles packaging

This is the kind of vermicelli noodles that I will be using.

rice paper

And this is the kind of rice paper that I will be using. You can find this and the vermicelli noodles at your local Asian super market.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Vermicelli Noodles
    • Cook in boiling water – 15 minutes
    • Rinse with cold water
    • Allow noodles to drain
  • Shred vegetables (except cilantro)
  • Prepare shrimp – I’m using pre-cooked shrimp
  • Bowl of warm sink water (Used to soak rice paper)
  • Flat surface to roll spring rolls on
    • I used a cutting board wrapped in foil

Step 2: Let’s Get Rolling

soak rice paper
1. Soak rice paper in warm water for 5-10 seconds.

lay rice paper down
2. Lay rice paper on prepared surface.

ingredients on rice paper
3. Arrange ingredients in middle of rice paper.

fold rice paper sides in
4. Fold the two sides of the rice paper in.

fold rice paper bottom up
5. Fold bottom  side (closest to you) of rice paper up.

rolled up spring roll
6. Roll rice paper away from you until rolled up completely.

Step 3: Time to Get Saucy

  • Ingredients
    • 1 part chunky peanut butter
    • 2 part hoisin sauce
  • Instructions:
    • Microwave peanut butter for 10 seconds till soft and stir in with hoisin sauce.

Ta-Da! Completed Fresh Spring Rolls!

spring rolls

Ideas for Alternatives/Substitutions

  • Go vegan – substitute it with tofu or eliminate the shrimp completely
  • Don’t like shrimp? Try ground pork or grilled chicken
  • Want more variety of veggies? How about spinach, basil, green onion, celery, or mint?
  • Try using bean thread noodles or rice noodles as an alternative

I’d like to know what ingredients you would or have put in your spring rolls! Please comment them below.