Konbu, miso, sake and mirin are making ways for chili, lemongrass, lime and fish sauce in my kitchen this month. After Japan, Thailand, the land of a thousand smiles is the featured country of the month for Asian Food Fest (AFF) blogging event. Love this event, it's inspiring home cooks to expand their repertoires, turning their humble kitchens into one with an international feel. Pretty sure, it's not only interesting for the one cooking, family members must be enjoying it too!
It's a tantalizing play of flavours whenever Thai food comes to mind. A clever combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy tastes all into one dish.
This dish Plah Kah Pung Neung Manow (Steamed Snapper with Lime Sauce) is no. 23 on CNN Travel's list of 40 Thai Food We Can't Do Without. Take this list with a pinch of salt but no doubt it's a very popular steamed fish dish in Thailand and it's normally served over a portable furnace of smoking embers in a fish shaped metal serving platter. If you love that uniquely Thai flavor and steamed fish, i think you will like this.
On a fish shaped platter no doubt but without smoking embers below it :))
A simple dish to make with just a few ingredients. Practically no fuss. So, if you are bored of steamed fish in soy sauce why not give this a try.
- 1 - 1 1/2 lb very fresh whole fish (for example red snapper, trout, perch or bass), cleaned and gutted (red snapper)
- 2 stalks lemongrass (bottom portion only, smashed)
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
- 1 inch ginger, sliced
- 8 - 12 cloves (200 grams) garlic, chopped (10 cloves)
- 10 - 12 Thai chili peppers (prik kee noo), sliced (2 only)
- 2 - 3 red chili peppers (fresno), sliced (omitted)
- 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro root or 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro stems (root, stems and leaves from 2 plants)
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp white sugar (1 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 cube Knorr Chicken Bouillon mixed with 1/4 cup water) (Water)
- Banana leaf (optional) or aluminium foil (Aluminium Foil)
- Cut 3 - 5 diagonal slashes across the fish, about 1 1/2 inches apart on both sides, using a very sharp knife.
- Line dish with banana leaf or foil.
- Divide lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves into 2 portions. Used 1 portion to line steaming dish and stuff the other portion into cavity of the fish. Place fish on steaming dish.
- Bring water to boil over high heat in the bottom of the steamer. Reduce the heat to medium before removing the lid from the steamer, lifting the lid away from you and allowing the steam to dissipate before placing the plated fish onto the top rack of the steamer. Cover and steam for 10 - 12 minutes. If you plan to use the heated platter, undercook the fish somewhat but if you are serving it directly on a plate, then steam until cooked through.
- While the fish is steaming, in a bowl mix chopped garlic, chili peppers, cilantro, chicken broth, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste to adjust seasoning - the taste should be a balance of spicy, salty and sour. Set aside.
- When the fish is cooked to the desired degree, remove the steamer from the heat and transfer the hot fish to a thai style fish shaped serving platter or any serving plate. The fish-shaped platter can be heated with either hot charcoals or more conveniently with a Sterno that can be placed in the lower chamber of the platter.
Bangkok from my eyes to yours...