Ingredients:
  • 1 sea perch weighing 450 to 550 gram (1 to ~1 ¼ lbs)
  • 15 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped spring onion
  • 5 "prik ki nu" chillies (The number of chillies may be altered according to personal preference. Thai people may use 15 of these)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro root
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1 length of Lemon Grass
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Method:
  1. Scale, clean and wash the fish.
  2. Lightly salt the inside cavity of the fish.
  3. Bruise the lemon grass with the side of a heavy knife or cleaver.
  4. Place some folded lemon grass into the gut cavity.
  5. Score both sides of the fish with a knife and place on a dish.
  6. Just break open the chillies in a mortar and mix them with the chicken stock, cilantro root, nam pla, and lime juice. A sour taste should predominant.
  7. Pour half the sauce over the fish and sprinkle with the garlic and half of the spring onions.
  8. After the water has begun to boil, place the fish in the steamer on high heat and steam until done, about 15 minutes.
  9. Heat the remainder of the sauce in a pot of boiling water by placing the cup or vessel covered into the boiling water or if there is sufficient room in the steamer cover the sauce bowl with some foil and stand it in the steamer.
  10. When the fish is cooked (cooked meat will lift easily from the backbone, this tells you the fish is ready), pour off the juices and discard.
  11. Pour the remaining fresh sauce that was heated in the boiling bath over the fish and sprinkle the remaining green onions over the fish.
  12. Serve hot.

Note:
Despite the commonly held belief that the juices remaining after steaming contain the best of the flavours this isn't the case. Often the liquid is quite bitter and has a very fishy taste and aroma. By replacing this with a fresh sauce you bring in the very best of the flavour and rid of the rank flavours. There is no loss of good flavour but rather an enhancement of freshness.