Mekong River Catfish on a Bed of Pandan Leaves

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I got very carried away in the fresh vegetable section of Chinatown and this was the result:


Jasmine rice
White fish (I used Mekong River Catfish)
2 red chillies
Kaffir lime leaves
Coconut cream
Thai holy basil
Pandan leaves
Fish sauce
Palm sugar
Coconut water

Preheat the oven to 200 C (fan), place a pan of water and salt on the hob to boil and add the jasmine rice. Keep stirring this while you are preparing the rest of the meal.

Cover the base of your oven dish with pandan leaves to make a bed for the fish then lay the fish fillets on top. I used Mekong River Catfish (River Cobbler) however Tilapia, Seabass, Sea Bream or Pomfret would also work nicely!

Place into the blender a thumb sized piece of galangal, 2 garlic cloves, a whole red chilli, a stalk of lemongrass, around 10 kaffir lime leaves, half a can of coconut cream, a handful of Thai holy basil, fish sauce and a piece of palm sugar. Blend together until they form a smooth sauce and the pour this over the fish.

Carefully slice another stalk of lemongrass (removing the outer shell) into thin pieces, cut 10 more lime leaves up into thin strips and slice another large chili and sprinkle these ingredients over the fish, on top of the sauce.

Finally place another layer of pandan leaves on top of the fish so that it is entirely covered and place in the oven for around 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the fish).

Half way through cooking the rice I added half a tin of coconut water which added nicely to the jasmine flavor.

Remove the fish from the oven, remove the top layer of pandan leaves and serve.

I bought some really handy bamboo rice pots from Busaba Thai restaurant – they keep the rice really warm incase the rest of the meal is not yet ready. I also picked up 2 young coconuts from Chinatown to drink – perfect accompaniment to the meal!


After dinner we tried our best to make some Malaysian coconut jam (kaya) using this recipe with a few changes. We used light brown sugar instead of white and used double the amount for the caramel. It didn’t turn out quite like the kaya I had in Malacca – that was much silkier, thicker and had a stronger coconut flavor. If we make it again, I think I’d try with one less egg and more coconut cream. Perhaps even more caramel! It still ended up as a very tasty treat for breakfast the next morning!


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