Lime Steamed Fish

Known as pla nerng manao or fish steamed with lime in Thai, this is one of my favourite Thai dishes. Perhaps it won’t surprise you that if you’ve tried this in Bangkok, you’re going to be disappointed with the Singaporean version.




Look at that nice chunky fish. Beautiful texture. The sauce is made from lime juice and garlic. The best part – heated over glowing charcoal chips. Went really well with whisky I got at Changi Airport.

Gentleman Jack

© Chan Joon Yee

Fisherman’s Stew

Got this recipe from a Farang friend residing in Thailand. Takes a lot of trouble to get the ingredients together, but it’s well worth it.

Seafood Hot Pot

This is a melting pot of classic fisherman’s stews: cioppino, bouillabaisse, gumbo, jambalaya, and paella — all opportunistic dishes born from the unpredictability of the day’s catch. My whole life I’ve fished in camp houses up and down the Gulf Coast, and every day our focus is to catch that night’s dinner. A dish like this works well no matter what fish you get — in the wild or at your seafood market. It’s a one-pot dish that works year-round.

The Base
• 6 tbsp unsalted butter
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 3/4 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick medaillons
Mix 1:
• 1/2 head celery, minced
• 1 medium onion, minced
• 1 small fennel bulb, diced
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 Thai (red) chiles, minced
Mix 2:
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp coarse salt
Mix 3:
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1/2 cup carrot juice
Mix 4:
• 14.5-oz can whole tomatoes drained of juices
• 4 cups clam juice
• 2 cups chicken stock
• large bunch thyme, tied with kitchen twine

In a large pot over medium heat, melt 4 tbsp butter until foamy. Stir in mixes 1 and 2, cooking until vegetables are translucent with slightly browned edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, add remaining 2 tbsp butter.

Lower heat and stir in tomato paste. Mix well and cook until paste begins to brown (not burn), about 5 minutes. Add mix 3 and stir to loosen browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Simmer to reduce by half, about 6 minutes. Stir in mix 4, plus potatoes, and raise heat to bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat and cover.

The Seafood
• Coarse salt
• Cayenne pepper
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 8 clams in shells, scrubbed
• 8 mussels in shells, scrubbed and debearded
• 8 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 8 large sea scallops
• 8 oz (skinless) snapper
• or other white fish
• 4 shallots, minced
• 1 cup dry vermouth

Season the seafood with salt and cayenne. In a jumbo pasta pot or dutch oven (wide cooking surface, high sides), warm the olive oil. Add clams and mussels, sautéing about 11/2 minutes.
Add shrimp, scallops, fish, and shallots, cooking until opaque on one side, about 1 minute. (Don’t flip.) Add vermouth, cover, and let the mixture steam until seafood is cooked through, 90 seconds or so.
Add hot base and bring to low boil, simmering 11/2 minutes. Remove thyme and discard. Serves 4.

Yangshuo Beer Fish 阳朔啤酒鱼

I first heard about this dish when I visited Yangshuo in Guilin, China. I’m not sure how authentic this Yangshuo beer fish is, but here’s my interpretation. The important thing is, it must taste good. The other important thing? Tiger Beer.

As you can see, the ingredients are pretty much the things you usually find in your kitchen.

I like a good helping of chopped spring onions. Marinate it with the fish.

Next, you fry the fish until it’s brown on both sides.

Then, you add the bean paste and other stuff like garlic, tomatoes etc and continue frying. I like to fry them separately so I don’t break up the fish.

If you like beer, go ahead and pour in the whole can. Simmer for a while.

And we are ready to serve. Bear in mind that depending on the amount of beer you’ve poured in, this dish can taste bitter. However, there is also a unique fragrance to this very special dish from Yangshuo, Guilin.