Thai-style Steamed Sea Bass With Lime And Chilli Dressing

By Sean Tan  

April 1, 2019

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This spicy Thai-style steamed sea bass is blanketed in garlic and chillies for a flavourful dish that serves any feasting occasion.


1 whole sea bass (800 g)

⅓ tsp salt

3 stalks of lemongrass, use 15 cm from root end

220 ml chicken or fish stock

2 coriander roots

20 g Thai palm sugar

80 g garlic, chopped

60 g shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise

7 chilli padi (20 g)

50 ml fish sauce

60 ml lime juice

40 g fresh coriander (with stems)

1.5 litres of water (for boiling the fish)


1Rinse the sea bass and pat dry. Rub the salt into both the interior cavity and exterior of the fish.

2Stuff the fish cavity with the lemongrass.

3Place the sea bass in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 15 mins before you want to start steaming it.

4To prepare the lime and chilli dressing, bring chicken or fish stock to a boil in a saucepan.

5Add the coriander roots and simmer over low heat for 5 mins.

6Add the palm sugar, garlic and shallots, and allow the mixture to reach a simmering boil.

7Add the chillies, fish sauce and lime juice.

8Turn off the heat. Bring the dressing to a simmering boil just before fish is cooked.

9Bring 1 litre of water to boil in a wok. Place a steaming plate above the waterline in the wok.

10Place the fish with its belly flaps splayed out, on a piece of parchment paper (35 cm by 25 cm) on the steaming plate.

11Cover and steam for 12 to 13 mins. The eyes of the fish should turn an opaque white when cooked. Use a fine skewer to pierce the thickest part of the fish. The meat should give way easily when cooked through.

12Transfer the fish onto a serving dish. Pour hot lime and chilli dressing over the steamed fish.

13Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.

ABOUT THE CHEF: Hedy Khoo is the columnist for The New Paper's HED CHEF which features Asian cuisine and recipes. You can follow Hedy on her Instagram account @hedchefhedykhoo for more of her culinary adventures.

Recipe: Hedy Khoo / Photo: The New Paper