Whole fish cleaned and gutted – 1 approximately ½ kg . The one I used weighed 350 gms .(Good choices are – Pompano, Pomfret,red snapper, trout, perch,sea bass etc ) use the freshest fish you can get ,steaming works only with fresh fish.
To steam the fish :
- lemongrass - 2 stalks bottom part bruised
- Green Onion – 2 bulbs chopped
- Ginger – few strips julienned
- Green chilly – 2 sliced
- Fish sauce – 1tbsp
- Banana leaf / Bok Choy/ aluminium foil – to lay the fish on and steam
For the Chilly sauce :
- garlic – 12 cloves chopped
- Fresh ripe red chili peppers - 10/12 chopped
- chopped cilantro root and stem - 2 tbsp
- Shallots – 8 chopped
- fish sauce - 3 Tbsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Tamarind paste – 1 tsp
- vegetable Oil – 2 tsp
- Chicken broth - 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
Clean, wash and prepare fish by making slashes across the fish, about 1 inches apart on both sides, using a very sharp knife.
Bring 2 inches of water to boil over high heat in the bottom of the steamer.
On the plate that you are going to steam the fish arrange the leaf (I used bok choy). Place the fish on top and stuff the gashes and cavity of the fish with lemongrass,green chilly,ginger,1/2 of the spring onion chopped and 1 tbsp of fish sauce.
Place this into the steamer . Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 12 - 15 minutes.
In a bowl mix together the chicken stock,tamarind,sugar and fish sauce – stir well and taste to adjust the balance .It should be a balance of sweet,sour and salty. Add more of the sauce ingredients as necessary.
While the fish is steaming, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chopped shallot,red chillies,garlic, corriander root/stem and saute until fragrant .Add the sauce mix and simmer for 7-8 minutes.
When the fish is cooked ,remove the chopped herbs that you stuffed on and around the fish as much as possible and using 2 flat spoons lift the fish slowly without breaking it apart and place on the serving dish.
Add the sauce that has formed in the plate on to the fish (there will only be about 2 tbsp sauce). Sprinkle the fish with fresh spring onion and corriander leaves .
Spoon the prepared chilly sauce over the fish and serve hot.