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steamed thai sea bass and rice

June 19, 2008

I’m back to blurry photos!  Hence the thumbprint

When Isaac and Ella are at their dad’s, I try to cook fish.  (I can hear Isaac and Ella breathing a HUGE sigh of relief that they’ve missed the fish-eating event).  When we lived in Norway, we noticed a few things about the way Norwegians eat.  They eat a lot of candy, cream and butter.  BUT.  Norwegians also walk a lot, AND they eat a ton of fish.  In fact, their 7-11’s carry tinned herring in case you run out of fish in the middle of the night.  I hold a personal belief that the fish and the walking counters the other sins.  It is very rare to see an obese Norwegian.

So I’m making my way through my fish recipes in my cookbooks.  This one is from my friend Jamie Oliver – Jamie at Home.

Mike and I loved this.  It was very very good.  But sea bass is very very expensive ($18 for less than a pound for two people), so you might want to substitute red snapper, as my friend Jamie suggests.

Steamed Thai sea bass and rice

For the thai paste:
2 large bunches fresh cilantro, leaves picked and stalks reserved
2 thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 fresh red chillies, halved and deseeded
2 tsp sesame oil
6 tbsp soy sauce
Juice and zest of two limes
1x400ml tin of coconut milk

400g/14oz basmati rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4x170g/6oz sea bass fillets, pinboned and skin scored
A handful of sugar snap peas
A bunch of spring onions, outer leaves discarded, trimmed and finely sliced
1 fresh chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 lime, quartered
Preheat the oven to 400.

In a blender, whiz up the cilantro stalks, half the cilantro leaves, the ginger, garlic, halved chillies, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and zest, and the coconut milk. (I only used 1 chili and the paste was HOT.  I think two would be unbearable for me).  This makes a lovely, fragrant Thai-style paste.

Cook your rice in salted boiling water until it is just undercooked, then drain it in a colander.  Scoop in into a high sided roasting tray (I used a lasagna pan). Pour the thai paste over the rice and mix it in well, then shake it out flat.

Lay the sea bass fillets on top, scatter over the snap peas, then cover the dish tightly with foil, and put it in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes. (I ended up cooking it for 30 minutes, because my oven is not hot and the fish was thick.  Best way is to check it to see if the fish flakes – then it is done).

Remove the foil and sprinkle over the spring onions, the sliced chili, and the other half of the coriander leaves.  Divide between your plates with a wedge of lime.

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