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Pla kapong neung manao (ปลากะพงนึ่งมะนาว), or Thai steamed barramundi fish with lime sauce, is a favorite seafood dish for many Thais. Make this recipe at home and you're in for a real steamed fish!

Author: Mark Wiens

Recipe type: Thai

Cuisine: Thai

Serves: 1 whole fish


For the fish:

1 whole barramundi, about 1 - 2 kilos (or whatever size you can get), guts and gills already removed

5 stalks lemongrass, bottom half only, smashed, and cut into chunks

For the sauce / soup:

1 cup good chicken stock or fish stock (fresh or canned)

2 Tbsp finely chopped palm sugar

8 Tbsp lime juice

6 Tbsp fish sauce (here's my preferred fish sauce)

2 heads of garlic, chopped

Thai chilies to taste, finely chopped

20 - 25 sprigs cilantro, chopped

1- 2 stalks Chinese celery, cut into 1-inch pieces


Make sure your fish is scaled and gutted, and then score the fish with 3 diagonal incisions on each side of the fish. Cut off the top halves of the lemongrass, bruise, and stuff the lemongrass into the cavity of the fish. Steam the fish over high boiling water for about 10 - 15 minutes depending on the size of your fish.

In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock until it comes to a boil, and then toss in the sugar, reduce heat, and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Mince the garlic, chilies, and cilantro, and mix into the chicken stock soup, along with fish sauce and lime juice. Stir gently and then taste test. Make sure it's sour, and balanced with a hint of sweetness.

When the fish is fully steamed, transfer it to a serving platter (with edges to keep in the soup), garnish with a bed of Chinese celery, and place the fish on the platter. Gently scoop on all the sauce over the fish, putting most of the garlic and chilies on the top of the fish.

Make sure you eat with steamed rice!

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