Whenever we are in Bangkok, Thai Style Steamed Sea Bass is one of the must-order items for us. Now you can replicate this steamed fish at the comfort of your home.
In Thailand, the most common fish to use for this recipe is sea bass. I’ve tried it with grouper and barramundi too. Instead of whole fish, you could use whole fillet as well.
Steaming fish requires a large steaming vessel. Like all traditional moms, I use my large wok, fill with enough water to cover the rack. Don’t skimp on the amount of water as you need all the steam to cook the fish thoroughly.
The complete experience to enjoy this fish lies in the sauce. Think tart, spicy, umami. That’s the flavor profile. The beauty of making this at home is you could adjust the level of spicy to your liking. Go crazy or go mild according to your preference. We are wimp when it comes to chilli heat so I only added 1 small chilli. I usually made extra sauce on the side to douse on my rice. So good.
1 x 600 – 800 g sea bass – cleaned and gutted
2 stalks lemongrass – pound gently with back of knife to release aroma
8 cloves garlic – minced
1 to 2 red bird eye chilli – chopped (seed removed for lesser heat)
2 stalks lemongrass – remove outer layer, slice thinly
3 stalks coriander stems – chopped
Juice from 3 to 4 large limes
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Few dashes white pepper
200 ml chicken stock
Large pinch of torn coriander leaves – chopped
1 stalk green onion – chopped
serves 2 to 3
Use a knife and make 3 to 4 shallow cuts on the flesh of the fish. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.
Place fish on a large heatproof plate and stuff the lemongrass into the belly of the fish.
Bring water to boil in a large steamer and carefully the fish into it. Steam over high heat for 8 to 10 mins depending on the size of the fish. Mine was done in 9 mins.
In a medium pot, add all the ingredients for the sauce and bring to boil. Taste and adjust with more seasoning if needed. The flavor profile should be tart, spicy and umami-rich.
When the fish is ready, remove the lemongrass transfer the fish onto a large serving plate.
Pour the sauce all over the fish, garnish with coriander and spring onions. Serve immediately.