Savoury Thai seasonings and coconut milk make this ordinary dish into something memorable. The coconut is the seed of the marvellously versatile and useful coconut palm. Coconut meat and milk, both drawn from the seed, are staples in Thai cuisine; in fact, they are among the most important ingredients in that tradition.
The Chinese would use a black bean sauce, and Western cooks might prefer a butter or white wine sauce. The Thais use coconut milk, in combination with some of their aromatic spices, to produce here a distinctive and delicious sauce that highlights the subtle flavour of the fresh fish.
Like the Chinese, Thais prefer to steam their fresh fish, such gentle cooking being the best way to retain its succulence, subtle flavours and delicate texture. And Thai cooks always lightly score the fish before steaming, thus facilitating the absorption of flavours and aromas.
Peel the lemongrass to the tender whitish centre and crush with the flat of a knife. Then cut into
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
Remove from the steamer, garnish with chilli oil and coriander leaves and serve at once.
© 2001 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.