Jenn, The Left Over Queen, hosts the Royal Foodie Joust each month, and each month Foodie Bloggers are challenged to create a dish containing 3 magical ingredients put together by the winner of the previous month’s joust. This month we are challenged to use nutmeg and coconut milk in a dish…with fish. The first two…no problem!! Add that last one and wow, what a bank shot to the imagination. What can I say…from the very first moment, my mouth went Thai, and there it stayed.
I swear, I turned this over in my mind at least a dozen or two times in my head. I pulled out every Thai cookbook I own, as well as anything remotely Asian or Noodle related. I just wasn’t finding anything that inspired my head, or that even sounded like it would all work well together. I looked at noodles, I looked at rice, I looked at fried fish, poached fish, grilled fish. Nothing excited me. I finally decided to make steamed fish packets with spicy peanut noodles.
I opened a cold can of coconut milk, and found that all the coconut fat had risen to the top and was solid. The liquid had totally separated away and was at the bottom of the can. I don’t know that it will matter though. I used Basa Swai as my fish, but any firm, mild flavored fillets will work, such as sole or tilapia. Pat your fillets dry, grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over each fillet, mix 1/4 cup coconut milk with 1/8 tsp. red curry paste and brush onto fish fillets. Sprinkle with fish sauce and squeeze the juice of 1 lime over all. Allow flavors to mingle for awhile. For each piece of fish: smash 1 lg. clove garlic; cut 1 thin oblique slice of ginger; cut a 2 inch length of lemongrass and split in half lengthwise. Place aromatics at the widest end of the wrong side of the piece of fish and roll up. Wrap in parchment, create packet, secure and place in steamer. Steam for 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes if prodded.
While the fish is steaming, cook and sauce the noodles and keep warm until plating. I added some of the fish broth to the noodles as well.
When the fish is done, the packet will have several ounces of very fragrant broth in it. You live you learn… This was heavenly. I’d recommend serving the fish in a shallow bowl to keep the broth with the fish. Warn your guests that there are inedible, but safe, aromatics in the center of their fish filet so they don’t try to cut all the way through, or remove them prior to serving. Even if this overcooks, the fish will still be somewhat moist prepared this way.
The flavors are very Thai…garlic, ginger, lime, lemongrass, red curry and coconut milk all work together to impart a delicate flavor to the fish. There’s the sour, salty, spicy, slightly sweet with the tiny hot bite from the curry just to warm things up a bit, and the fish is so moist and succulent it’s almost sinful. I wasn’t pleased with my noodles, so they aren’t featured here. I think I know what I needed to do…and so that’s another dish. This was about the fish anyway. There wasn’t any nutmeg in the noodles. *Ü* We were both pleasantly surprised by how the flavors of the ingredients worked together in the fish. We’re looking forward to trying the combination again!