Flounder Simmered in Spicy Sauce (Bplah Dtom Saep)

Recipe by KateL
READY IN: 29mins


  • 1
    1 large fillet rock cod fish or 1 large steak halibut
  • 8
    whole white peppercorns
  • 6
    garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 -10
    Thai chiles (prik kee noo)
  • 3
    shallots, chopped (9 tablespoons or to taste)
  • 1
    tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar if palm sugar is unavailable)
  • 1
    cup water (1 teaspoon at first, then rest added after palm sugar has turned color)
  • 1
    tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely slivered (1 inch ginger root)
  • 1
    tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 -3
    tablespoons fish sauce (nahm bplah)
  • 2 -3
    short fresh cilantro stems, for garnish


  • Rinse fish and drain well. Cut fillet in half. In a mortar and pestle, pulverize peppercorns. Add garlic and chillies and pound together until pasty. Add chopped shallots. Continue to pound to make a coarse, well-blended paste (Peppercorn-Garlic-Chillie Paste).
  • Put palm sugar in wok with 1 teaspoon water. Heat over low to medium heat, and stir until the sugar has turned dark reddish brown, but not burned.
  • Add remaining water and Peppercorn-Garlic-Chillie Paste. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve palm sugar.
  • Add ginger, peanut oil, and fish sauce. Stir to mix, then follow with the fish.
  • Return to a boil before lowering heat to a level at which the sauce simmers gently.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, turn fish over and continue to cook uncovered until it is cooked through and sauce has thickened. If a lot of sauce remains, remove fish from the wok onto a serving dish. Increase heat to high and reduce sauce by one-third to one-half.
  • To serve, spoon sauce over fish and garnish with cilantro sprigs.