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Mom's Good & Easy Steamed Fish – Bplah Neung (or Pla Neung)*

A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit
Recipe Copyright © 2000 Kasma Loha-unchit.

See also: How to tell Fish Freshness and Kasma's blog on Whole Fish.

(Click image to see larger version.)

Steamed Whole FishIngredients

  • A 1-lb. fresh, young whole fish – perch, pink snapper, striped bass or cod
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 Thai chillies, cut into thin rounds
  • About 1 Tbs. finely slivered fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion, cut into thin rounds
  • 3-4 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 1-2 Tbs. light soy sauce, or fish sauce (nahm bplah)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar
  • Juice of half to one lime

Clean the fish, keeping head, tail and fins attached. Rinse and drain well. Cut two diagonal gashes to bone level on each side of the fish. Sprinkle a thin coating of salt and rub evenly over fish, including the body cavity and the gashes. Set aside. Prepare the remaining ingredients as instructed.

Stacked SteamerHeat a wok till hot. Swirl in the oil to coat its surface. When oil is hot gently slide the fish into the wok and fry 1-2 minutes on each side, enough to lightly brown. Transfer to a shallow dish which fits in the steamer rack of your steamer. Arrange the garlic, chillies and ginger on the fish. Sprinkle over the top some light soy sauce or fish sauce, sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of the oil left in the wok.

Bring 1-1/2 inches of water to a boil in the steamer pot before placing the rack with the fish over it. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Open the lid and sprinkle the green onion pieces over the fish. Cover and steam another minute. Remove from steamer, squeeze lime juice over the top and serve while still hot.

Notes and Pointers

You can also make this without pre-frying the fish in the wok. It will be somewhat less tasty, however.

*Because the Thai language has its own script, there are different ways of transliterating Thai into English. The more phonetic version is Bplah Neung; the more usual spelling is Pla Neung. See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.

Recipe Copyright © 2000 Kasma Loha-unchit in Dancing Shrimp. All rights reserved.

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