|Steamed Fish In Banana Leaf With Red Curry and Coconut|
Steaming food is quick, easy and healthy. Not only is the preparation easy, but the cleanup is quick and since no added oil is used, it’s also one of the healthiest ways to cook. The only cookware you need is a steamer basket, or a bamboo steamer (which can be purchased at an Asian grocery store, Whole Foods, or online).
Basically, anything can be steamed. In fact, many Asian dishes are steamed. Tonight, I decided to try something new — fish steamed in a banana leaf with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk. I ate something similar at a friend’s house a while ago, and have been thinking about it ever since…the steam and heady aroma as the banana leaf was opened at the table…like a spa treatment.
Thai red curry paste comes in a can or package in the Asian section of the grocery store or at an Asian market, and is a quick way to add an unbelievable depth of flavor without all the work. The one I use is made of lemongrass, garlic, shallot, dried red chilies, kaffir lime, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin and cardamon.
The banana leaf serves as a packet for the steamed fish, keeping it moist and allowing the spices to penetrate the fish, while imparting an earthy, herbal essence. Banana leaves can be found in the freezer section of the supermarket or an Asian market.
Here’s the recipe for a Thai Curry Coconut Fish:
Thai Style Fish With Red Curry Paste and Coconut
1 large banana leaf (defrosted)
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
1-2 teaspoons red curry paste (I use MASRI brand, but any brand will do)
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce or fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar or date sugar
1 pound fresh fish (I used wild cod, but any fish will work) or tofu (for a vegetarian option)
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
1″ fresh ginger root, sliced thinly
Mix coconut milk, red curry paste (start with 1 teaspoon and add more depending on how spicy you like it), soy sauce and palm sugar.
Cut off root end and stalk of lemongrass, leaving about 3″ of the “plumper” part. Remove any loose outer leaves. Pound lemongrass with back of knife to release flavor, then cut into 1″ pieces.
Open banana leaf and spread ginger and lemon grass in center of leaf. Lay fish on top. Spread coconut curry sauce on top. Fold banana leaf over fish, enclosing ends with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
Steam fish for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
Serve with steamed brown rice and leafy green vegetable. Open packet at the table for extra sensory effect.
For More Healthy Steamed Recipes:
WH Foods’ Steamed Vegetable Medley
Steamy Kitchen’s Chinese Steamed Fish
CD Kitchen’s Steamed Asian Pears with Honey and Almonds