Thai Fusion: Foil-Baked Dory Fish Infused with Kaffir Leaves and Lemongrass

I must admit before I start of this recipe that it has been way too long since I last posted. Just calculated the time and its been slightly over 2 weeks since my last post; the longest I have ever been away from my blog. But with so much on my plate the last few weeks, between work and travel, it had been impossible to give time to my beloved blog for which I had been feeling miserable. So, today finally I had time just to myself, and the first thing I wanted to do was write a new post. As I opened my pictures folder, I realized I had a huge back-log of recipes, so many pictures and experiments that I wanted to share. Hence, another confusion; which one should I start with or which one should I share first?

Thai Fusion: Foil-Baked Dory Fish Infused with Kaffir Leaves and Lemongrass

My decision was to share the fruits of my latest experiment, the idea for which was the result of a casual conversation between my aunt and myself. An experienced cook herself, the long phone chats between my aunt and myself usually revolve around food, new ideas for recipes, different ingredients, fresh techniques and of course how to make the tried and tested recipes better. This particular conversation revolved around a substitute for an oven; sounds odd but it was actually very intriguing. We were trying to figure out how to bake either fish or chicken fillets if no oven was at hand. There was a lot of back and forth on suggestions about how to get the right heat coming in from all directions to cook the meat/seafood perfectly. Finally, we decided on a technique and I was entrusted with the duty of experimenting with it. Sounds bizarre but to my amazement it worked wonders. Instead of an oven I used a deep wok with a lid. I smeared a little bit of oil at the bottom of the pan and left it on high heat till it began to smoke, then lowered the heat to medium-low, placed the fish covered in foil in the pan and tightly placed the lid on top, making sure the heat did not escape. I let the fish cook for about 12 minutes and then turned off the heat. Keeping my fingers crossed, I lifted the foil out of the pan and placed it on a plate. Carefully opening the foil, I lightly brushed the fish with a fork and lo and behold it flaked off just beautifully. The experiment with a roaring success and so were its beautiful Thai infused flavors. 

Thai Fusion: Foil-Baked Dory Fish Infused with Kaffir Leaves and Lemongrass

 Ingredients

  • 3 large fish fillets (any white fish)
  • 2 tbsp tom yam paste
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • Handful kaffir leaves

Preparation:

  • In a bowl mix together the tom yam paste, minced ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and juice of one lemon. Stir till combined
  • On a medium sized aluminum foil, smear some cooking oil in the middle where the fish will be placed
  • Place the fish fillet in the center of the foil
  • Generously coat the fish with the marinade
  • Thinly slice the red chillies, kaffir leaves, lemon grass and lime. Sprinkle them on top of the fish
  • From the side nearest to you, fold the aluminum foil over the fish and wrap from the sides as well so that steam or marinade doesnt escape
  • Heat some oil in a large wok. When it starts to smoke, lower the heat and transfer the foil into the center
  • Tightly close the lid and cook for 12 minutes
  • If you want to cook it the normal way, then simply pre-heat the oven and bake for the same amount of time
  • Carefully open the foil and place the fish onto a plate
  • Garnish and spoon over the leftover sauce in the foil

 

Thai Fusion: Foil-Baked Dory Fish Infused with Kaffir Leaves and Lemongrass

A waft of aromatic kaffir leaves and lemongrass hits your senses as you open the foil casing. A bouquet of frangrances and flavors envelop your palate as you bite into the fish. The juices mixed with the marinade creates an excellent sauce to be served with the fish. In under 20 minutes a beautiful piece of fish can be cooked which would be akin to one you order at a restaurant. I wanted to enjoy the bold taste hence avoided eating it with rice, which would soak up all the flavor. Instead, I ate it with a side of salad made from bean sprouts, julienned carrots, spring onions and thinly sliced lettuce. This was one experiment I thoroughly enjoyed and of course basked in the fruits of my labor too in the end. Now you know, if no oven is available at hand, just use your wok or deep saucepan as a substitute.