Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baked John Dory with Thai spices and coconut milk.

The other night I cooked the most wonderful fish dinner for Daniel's parents Heather and Mark - however it was so delicious I forgot to take photos before eating it!

The recipie is below adapted from Jamie Oliver - It's simply fish and rice - though when you open each individual parcel you are pleasantly surprised by the wonderful and fresh, aromatic smell and lingering flavours.

It was just so delicate and subtly creamy, yet light and fresh. Daniel really liked it and he doesnt usually like fish all that much.

The chilli content was just right for all our palates, though I think (for most recipies) it helps getting to know the different types of chilli and the varying degrees of hotness because many recipies are vague in their description of the 'chilli' component of the meal. For instance, if it says put one chilli in the dish, does it mean one small birds eye hot chilli or a jalepeno long large green chilli or...what? Anyway, I find that if the dish asks for chilli, that is when you have to bring in yourown knowledge of what chilli would be appropriate as well as the preferences of your guests or family, and what would complement the other flavours in the dish.

I am going to cook it again when my parents get back from travelling, so I will post photos next time!

4 large banana leaves
2 fresh red birds eye chiles
2 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, centres finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 good handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
2 limes, juiced and zested
1 250ml can lite coconut milk
2 tbsp seasame seed oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 heaped tbsp finely sliced fresh ginger
4 pieces of John Dory
4 toothpicks to secure


1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celcius
2. Pound all ingredients (aside from the fish) in mortar and pestle to make a paste and spoon a little onto each banana leaf.
3. Lay each piece of fish on top then spoon over remaining spice paste.
4. Roll banana leaf and fold in the edges to create a parcel*, securing with a toothpick. This will not be a perfect seal but it will allow it to breathe and steam and for all the flavours to infuse.
5. Put the parcels on a tray and bake for 15-20mins, then rest romoved for 5 mins.

Serve with plain jasmine rice to soak up the juices.

* Banana leaves can be crisp and break so hold each over a gas flame.