Thai-Steamed Snapper

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Dec 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami: Home-cooked recipes unlocking the magic of super-savory deliciousness by Laura Santtini.

Umami translates from the Japanese to mean ‘savoury deliciousness.’  Santtini says umami is, ‘the ultimate expression of flavour; the extra mouthful-ness that makes us say “mmmmm”, the taste that keeps on giving long after its fellow basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour and bitter – are spent.’

Brilliant for a dinner party, you can also use this versatile marinade for fish fillets.  This fish is ideal served with sticky Thai-style rice and a crisp green salad.

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

red snapper11 whole red snapper or other whole sustainable white fish (about 2kg), descaled, gutted and cleaned
4 limes (1 sliced)
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch of spring onions, topped and sliced (reserve tops for stuffing fish)
1 sweet potato, diced into thumbnail-sized pieces
2.5cm (1 in) piece of fresh ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 lemongrass stalks, outer skin removed and roughly chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded (keep the seeds of half a chilli only)
3 tblsp toasted sesame oil
4 tblsp fish sauce
3 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp brown sugar or palm sugar

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC (400oF) Gas 6.  Cut a piece of wide baking parchment twice the length of your fish.  Fold the parchment in half and then open it, placing one half on a baking tray.  Put the fish on the diagonal on the piece of parchment on the baking tray.

Step Two : Make slashes in the fish on the diagonal through the skin down to the bone on both sides.  Stuff the cavity with a few slices of lime, half the coriander and the tops of the spring onions.  Scatter sweet potato cubes and spring onion chunks around the fish.

Step Three : In a food processor, combine the rest of the coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli and blitz into a paste.  Add the sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and the juice of the remaining 3 limes and blitz again.

Step Four : Rub this marinade all over the fish and fold the other half of the parchment over the fish, wrapping the edges over to close tightly.

Step Five : Cook in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  To test if the fish is cooked, remove from the oven and take a peek inside a corner of the parcel, but be careful because the steam will escape.  If the eye of the fish has turned white, this means your fish is cooked.

Step Six : Open the parcel and serve large chunks of fish on sticky Thai rice topped with a large spoonful of the cooking juices – that is where move of the umami is.

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