This is a gentle but warming dish for those who do not wish to be stuffed but want a rich taste to last the evening. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare and 20 to 30 minutes to cook and so is ideal for a working day. Or how about a weekend lunch with chatty friends?
You can vary the ingredients, to be honest, even moving it away from the East Asian influence I have here. The most important idea is that this is fish steamed in the oven over stock and served on a bed of cooked cabbage. The gentle perfume of ginger, coriander leaf and lemon grass works perfectly with traditional smoked haddock from the north sea. Smoked haddock is a strong taste so it is worth experimenting to get the balance just right.
This recipe is for two people, but you can multiply it up as needed.
- 2 fillets of haddock - smoked
- 400mil fish stock - fresh or a cube!
- 2 tablespoons thick coconut milk - from the top of the can
- 2 nice fresh Carrots - must be firm
- 1 stick lemon grass
- 1 thumb of fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic - not too large
- 3 spring onions - or scallions
- 1/4 fennel bulb - I love this with fish
- 2 lime leaves - fresh if poss, or dried
- A big handful of Sweetheart cabbage - Or another gentle cabbage variety
- A small handful green beans - a slim french variety
- 2 tablespoons groundnut oil - Or rapeseed
- fist of coriander leaf - with some roots
- 2 Eggs - chicken!
- 2 green Chilli Peppers - choose your heat (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh Chilli Powder - (optional)
How to do it
The fish is steamed in the oven which is one of the nicest ways to cook fish. Easy too.
Take a small roasting tin or pan and cover the base with thickly sliced fennel bulb and carrots. Slice up the lemon grass very thinly and scatter over the top. Chop up the ginger finely and 2 of the garlic cloves and scatter this over too. Chop up the stalks/roots of the coriander, keeping the leaf for later, and scatter this over. Tear up the lime leaves and add them. Add the thick coconut milk and the stock.
Stir it all up and then gather the carrot and fennel in the middle.
Lay the fillets of haddock on top and then cook in an oven for around 20-30 minutes at 200 degrees C. Don't cook it for longer as it will all fall apart.
While that is cooking, finely chop the cabbage, the other 2 cloves of garlic, the chillies (if used) and the spring onions. Stir fry them with the green beans in a little groundnut oil, salting to taste and adding chilli powder if you want a little more heat. The red chilli powder, especially if it is fresh and course, adds a different flavour to the fresh green chillies. Do not cook this too hot or the cabbage will catch, smell and be inedible! Just get a little toastiness to it.
In a separate saucepan, poach a couple of eggs.
Pile the cabbage in the middle of two large bows. Place the carrots and fennel on top and then the fish. Ladle the stock out around the edge. Top with an egg and chopped coriander.
And that is your lot. Quick, easy, warming and delicious. Healthy too!