Steamed fish fillets with fragrant Thai coconut sauce
- 4 5-ounce skinless white fish fillets such as halibut, snapper or flounder
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
- 2 large shallots, 1 chopped (1/4 cup) and one thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped ginger root
- 1 stalk of lemon grass, tough outer layers removed, roughly chopped
- 1 small thai red chili (substitute a red jalapeño) seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut milk from a can (shake can well to mix before opening)
- 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
- 15 springs of cilantro, leaves separated from stems, divided (you'll use leaves for the garnish and some of the stems to make the sauce)
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Serve with hot steamed white rice (I recommend jasmine rice)
- To Make the Coconut Sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add chopped shallot, ginger, lemon grass and chili. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until fragrant and lightly colored. Scrape into a small food processor or blender. (don't wash skillet - you'll use it for the topping) Add coconut milk, fish sauce and 8 stems of cilantro. Process for 30 seconds or so, until everything is finely blended into a thick sauce.
- To Steam the Fish: *Arrange the fish fillets in a single layer on a heatproof plate or glass pie pan. Spread the coconut sauce evenly over the fish fillets. Place plate in a steamer and turn the heat to high. Once the water is boiling, cover tightly and steam fish for 6-8 minutes or until it's just opaque. Test with a knife. If the knife goes in easily, with no resistance, the fish is done. Remove from heat and remove cover.
- To Fry the Shallots and Cilantro: While the fish is steaming, line a plate with a paper towel. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, stir-fry the shallots until browned, 3 minutes of so. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Add the cilantro leaves and fry them for just a few seconds. Transfer them to the plate.
- To Serve: Carefully (I used two spatulas) transfer fish fillets to four plates.(I like to plate them over a bed of rice) Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper. Scatter fried shallots and cilantro on top. Spoon extra sauce over the rice.
- * See post for more details on how to set up a steamer
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Lunch or Light Dinner
- Method: Steam
- Cuisine: Thai