Thursday, June 28, 2007

Steamed Fish with Coconut

2 stalks fresh lemongrass
400ml/14oz tinned coconut milk
2tbsp coarsely chopped fresh galangal or ginger
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves, or 2 tbsp lime zest
450g/1lb firm white fish fillets, such as cod, sole, or turbot
3tbsp finely sliced shallots
3tbsp fish sauce or light soy sauce
2tbsp lime juice
1tbsp sugar
2tsp chilli oil
handful coriander leaves

Peel the lemongrass to the tender whitish center and crush with the flat of a knife. Cut into 3 inch pieces. In a large pot combine the lemongrass, coconut milk, galangal and lime leaves. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard the lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves.
Pat the fish or fish fillets dry with kitchen paper.
Next set up a steamer or put a rack into a wok or deep pan, and fill it with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Put the fish on a deep heatproof plate, and pour the coconut mixture on top. Add the shallots, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Put the plate of fish into the steamer, or onto the rack. Cover the pan tightly, and gently steam the fish until it is just cooked. Flat fish will take about 5 min to cook. Thicker fish, or fillets will take 8-12 min.
Remove from steamer, garnish and serve at once.

This was another recipe from Ken Hom. One of the reasons I wanted to try it (other then it looked tasty), was because the cooking method seemed interesting to me. It’s not steamed on a steamer, but in a dish with the sauce. This presented a bit of a challenge, as I really didn’t have the appropriate cookware, but in the end I figured out a way. I took my biggest pot, and put in the steamer and the water, then I took a spring form cake pan and lined it with baking paper (so the sauce wouldn’t leek). I put the fish and sauce in the cake tin, then put the cake tin in the steamer. This actually worked just fine, and with no leakage, though it looked very strange.

It says in the recipe that you could substitute light soy sauce for the Thai fish sauce, and I’m sure that would be fine too, but if you can, you should really try to use the fish sauce, because it makes a really authentic Thai flavor sauce.

Just as a warning, the coconut sauce on it’s own, before you add the fish sauce and shallot and such, is really bland. This is not, however, representative of the finished dish. This was so flavorful and lovely. I served it with rice with green peas, and that was a nice accompaniment. You are going to want to serve it with something that soaks up the sauce, it’s so good.

For the fish I used Sea Bream, which has a really nice flavor and texture (and was the cheapest firm white fish that the fish guy had today). I’m sure any white fish would do. Just make sure you de-bone the fish thoroughly. I forgot to, and it made it a bit of a pain.

This was another big winner from Ken Hom. I will make this again.


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