Whole steamed fish with pickled plums (pla neung kiem buoy)

Whole steamed fish with pickled plums (pla neung kiem buoy)
  • Serves icon Serves 2 (or 4 as part of a Thai meal)
  • Time icon Hands on time 10 min, Cooking time 20 min

Steaming food is a key technique in the Thai kitchen. Kay Plunkett-Hogge shows how to master the gentle art of steaming with a simple but stunning recipe for steamed whole fish with pickled plums. It’s a revelation.

Make sure to check out our recipe for whole roast plaice too! It’s truly stunning and served with anchovy butter, new potatoes and sea vegetables.

Nutrition: per serving

Carbohydrates
PER SERVING (FOR 4) 190kcals, 9.9g fat (2.1g saturated), 18.5g protein, 6.4g carbs (5g sugars), 2.2g salt, 0.8g fibre
Carbohydrates
PER SERVING (FOR 4) 190kcals, 9.9g fat (2.1g saturated), 18.5g protein, 6.4g carbs (5g sugars), 2.2g salt, 0.8g fibre

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fish, about 400g (pomfret is traditional, but tilapia and seabass work well), scaled and gutted
  • 3 pickled plums in brine and 1 tbsp of their liquid (if using umeboshi just add 1 tbsp water), stoned and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, finely sliced
  • Handful chinese celery leaves (or regular celery leaves)
  • 1 large red chilli, finely sliced
  • Cooked sticky jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Wash, then dry the fish well with kitchen paper. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slashes in each side, down to the bone. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix the plums and their liquid/water with the soy and oyster sauces, sesame oil, sugar and 2 tbsp water to form a sauce, squashing the plums with the back of a spoon to break them down a little. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Put the fish on a heatproof plate that will fit into your steamer (or see tip). Pour the sauce over the fish, cover, then steam on a medium high heat for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fish.
  4. After 15 minutes, add the spring onion, ginger, celery leaves and red chilli. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes more or until the fish is just done (when you can lift the flesh off the bones easily using a knife tip).
  5. Transfer the fish to a warm serving platter and pour over the cooking
    juices. Serve with steamed rice.

delicious. tips

  1. If you don’t have a steamer, heat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas 6. At step 3, put the fish on a plate in a roasting tin, cover with foil, then bake for 15 minutes and continue with step 4.

  2. Prepare the fish, sauce and garnish up to 4 hours ahead and chill. Assemble and cook the fish to serve

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