Flounder and Asparagus Rolls in Chilli, Lemongrass and ginger Broth

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Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

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In theory this is similar to a Thai soar soap with poached fish. It’s great served with a dish of rice or some cold noodles on the side as a light sapper dish. You can make it in one large dish or individual dishes — I’ve opted for the latter.


  • 2 medium flounder or sole, filleted but with skin on (keep bones for the stock but rinse them well)
  • 1 litre(2 pints) cold water
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stems (chop off the bottom 2 cm (¾ in) and remove outer 2-3 layers)
  • 16 medium asparagus (snap thick ends off)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 lime leaves or the peel of 1 lime
  • 1 large thumb fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced at an angle
  • 1 handful coriander leaves
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 juicy limes or lemons
  • Thai fish sauce to serve


Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F/Gas Mark 3-4. Place fish bones in a large pot with water, onion, lemongrass trimmings, asparagus ends and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently with a lid on for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan.

You will have four double fillets; cut each fillet in half lengthways to give you eight single fillets. Break each asparagus stem in half. Lay fish fillets on a board, skin-side down, and place two asparagus tips and two bottoms on each, then roll up. Start with the fat end and roll towards the tail. Secure tail with a toothpick. If the skin is tough, cut the tiniest hole with a sharp fine knife so you can get the toothpick in.

Place four wide heatproof soup bowls on a tray in the oven. Finely slice lemongrass into rings until it begins to feel a little woody. Discard woody bits. Place fish stock back on the heat and add lemongrass, lime leaves, ginger, garlic and sugar. Simmer 2 minutes.

Take bowls from the oven and divide soup and remaining aromatic ingredients between them, then sit two fish rolls in each. Bake around 5 minutes. The fish is cooked when it is opaque in the middle. Serve the Thai fish sauce separately and let your guests help themselves.