Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Steamed Fish with Lime and Chili - "pla neung manao"

Well, I decided I need to take a break from cupcakes.  The next post will most likely be a cupcake one (sigh)...  I can't help it.  I've caught the cupcake bug!  :P    

Anyway, today I'm going to feature one of D's favorite meals ever.  The first time I had this was back in '97 in Pattaya, Thailand on the beaches of Coral Island.  The whole fish was covered with chili and lime and then steamed to perfection.  When we visited this past summer, we couldn't find a good vendor selling this dish.  Needless to say, we were disappointed.

But now I can make my own.  This recipe was the main reason why I purchased Lemongrass and Sweet Basil by Khamtane Signavong.  It's sweet, savory, sour, and SPICY.  It's so good and so easy.  The flavors are easily adjustable to taste and preference.   The recipe I list below is my adjustment to D's palate.


* 1 1/2 pounds of firm white fish (we love halibut, if no fish, use scallops and/ or shrimp)
* Chinese cabbage (napa cabbage) chopped in large pieces
* Handful basil leaves
* 2 tablespoons sliced lemongrass (bigger pieces for easy removal or tiny pieces if you prefer to eat it)
* 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

Sauce Ingredients:
* 2 red Thai chili finely diced
* 3 garlic cloves finely diced
* 2 tablespoon fish sauce
* 4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 2-3 teaspoon sugar (powder preferred)
* handful of finely chopped cilantro

1.  In an oven/ steamer safe plate (I use a pie plate) layer with Chinese cabbage, basil, and lemon grass.  Lay the seafood on top.

2.  Place in steamer, cover, and steam over boiling water until done (about 10-15 minutes).  I don't own a steamer, so I use a large skillet with a lid.

3.  In the meantime, you can make the sauce by combining all ingredients and mixing well until the sugar dissolves.  Taste to adjust to your palate.  Extra sugar may be needed depending on your fish sauce.  Add more chili peppers if you prefer more spice.

4.  When the seafood is done, remove from steamer, drain off the juices.  If you would like to remove the lemongrass, do so now.  If you would like to plate the dish, do so now.

5.  Spoon the sauce over the seafood and cabbage and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.  You can also garnish with lime wedges.

6. Serve with steam rice and enjoy the taste of Thailand!

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