This is a delicious recipe for any whole
white fish, as as sea bass or cod, or for large chunks of trout or salmon.
You will need a steamer large enough to fit the whole fish or , if using
fish chunks, you can use a smaller steamer and fit the fish around the
base. The recipe also works well in the oven - simply place the fish,
tucked in foil, on a baking tray and bake. Serve this dish with plain or
sticky rice or a Vietnamese vegetable salad.
Using pork or beef - This traditional recipe
also works well with the loin of pork or fillet of beef. Simply slash the
cuts of meat in several places and follow the method above. Once wrapped
in foil, place the package on a baking tray and bake in a medium oven.
Raw cane or muscovado (molasses) sugar
Sesame or vegetable oil
Garlic, finely chopped
Red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped
Ginger, peeled and grated
Sea bass, gutted and skinned on one side
Star anise, ground
Fresh basil leaves, stalks removed
Ground black pepper
Heat the coconut milk with the sugar in a
small pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the
Add the oil to a small frying pan and stir
in the garlic, chili and ginger.
Cook until they begin to brown, then add
the mixture to the coconut milk and mix well to combine.
Place the fish, skin side down, on a wide
piece of foil and tuck up the sides to form a boat shaped container.
Using a sharp knife, cut several diagonal slashes into the flesh on the
top and rub with the ground star anise.
Season with salt and pepper and spoon the
coconut milk over the top.
Scatter about half the basil leaves over
the top of the fish and pull the sides of the foil over the top, so that
it is almost enclosed (like a canoe).
Gently lay the foil packet in a steamer.
Cover the steamer, bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and
simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until just cooked.
Meanwhile, roast the cashew nuts in the
small frying pan, adding a little extra oil if necessary.
Drain the nuts on kitchen paper, then
grind them to crumbs. When the fish is cooked, lift it out of the foil
and transfer it to a serving dish.
Spoon the cooking juices over, sprinkle
with the cashew nut crumbs and garnish with the remaining basil leaves.