This is one of the recipes I use very often, because I live on the sea and fresh fish is available. Normally I'd use a whole fish, of about 1 kg (2.2 lbs). But it is just as easy to disregard that, and simply fry fish fillets, and use the lovely Thai style sauce with it. I've just tested and photographed this dish again (30.1.09), to make sure of taste and timing. It's spot on as it stands now -- at least for us! :wink: Taste the sauce mixture when everything has been added and stirred, and then. if you want, add a little more oyster and fish sauce. I love this recipe because it is so easy, delicious and extremely low-fat, yet doesn't make you feel as if you're eating diet food. It's not diet food. It is the tastes you find in places like Thailand and Indonesia (maybe simplified here!) Tip: make the quick and easy sauce earlier in the day and simply pop into a warming oven to heat up, for serving with the fish. It doesn't get much simpler than this.
- 1 (4 lb) fish, cleaned, whole, with head (OR 6 large fish fillets or 1 kg whole fish)
- 1 lb English cucumber (about 500 g)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, chopped and crushed
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 hot chili pepper, seeds removed, chopped (or equivalent hot chili sauce)
- 3⁄4 cup green onions, finely chopped or 3⁄4 cup chives
- I give directions for oven-baking a whole fish, but you can just as well fry fish fillets in a skillet. Never overcook! Then serve with this sauce.
- If possible, make the sauce the day before or earlier in the day, so the flavours develop, but I confess I always make it at the last minute.
- DO NOT BOIL the sauce -- heat gently.
- Make the sauce: Coarsely grate the cucumber into a small pot, liquid and all, then stir in the rest of the ingredients given above.
- Use enough cucumber! The sauce is not really strong, just flavourful -- don't overdo the hot pepper! If in doubt, add a few drops of Tabasco.
- Taste for seasoning, keeping in mind that fish and oyster sauces are salty, and their flavours become more pronounced on standing. Cover and keep cool.
- To prepare the dish, for a using a whole fish:.
- Heat oven to 425 deg F (210 deg C).
- Score fish on both sides by making 2 or 3 shallow cuts through the skin.
- Tear off a large piece of foil, large enough to enclose the fish completely and still leave space for steam.
- Spray the foil with a non-stick spray to prevent the fish sticking.
- Carefully put the fish on the foil (no salt) and close foil tightly, tent-like, so there is extra room for air to circulate.
- When oven reaches the correct temperature, bake the fish for 30 minutes exactly. It will be done just right (really!) after 30 minutes.
- Keep the fish warm, and heat the sauce gently but do not cook. (Or simply put the sauce in a dish, cover with foil, and put in a warming oven to heat up).
- Roll the baked whole fish carefully on to a warmed platter with the liquid that will have formed, and spoon over the sauce while hot.
- (Or use the sauce with fried fish fillets).
- If there is too much sauce for the platter, serve the rest extra, in a small jug.
- Serve with jasmine or sticky rice, coconut-coated fried bananas, one sweetish veggie (pumpkin, butternut or sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon) and a large salad of mixed greens.
- Don't forget the chilled white wine!