Steamed Fish with Thai Lime Dressing (Pla Neung Manao ปลากะพงนึ่งมะนาว)

When I first learn this recipe from a cookbook (or tv show), it was 5 - 6 years back. I couldn't believe that this 'complicated looking dish' was so easy to prepare. If you know how to steam a fish, you could not go any wrong with this recipe.

Initially, I boiled all the ingredients in the chicken stock as per cookbook but recently, I've just discovered that there is no need to boil it. Just heat up the chicken stock and dissolve the sugar in it, then off the heat and dump everything in the stock. Let it sit for 3 - 5 mins for all the flavors to infused in the stock.

The differences between boiling all ingredients and not boiling them is that the No-Boil version is more fragrant and robust, where else the Boil version is somewhat flat (but still good).

If you have noticed, I am using thinly sliced garlic instead of chopped garlic, simply because both my hubby and I do not like to eat garlic. It's easier to shove them away when it is this way. Whether chopped or sliced, it still give the dressing a good garlicky smell.

And if you don't have this serveware (as per photo), you may place your fish on a stovetop serveware and heat it under a portable stove when serve. This dish is best eaten HOT throughout the whole dining experience.

This dish is surprisingly refreshing and appetizing with its sourish, garlicky, a little spicy, a hint of saltiness and aromatic smell of coriander dressing. It is simply irresistible!


To get rid of the fishy smell, put a few slices of lime in the cavity, alongside with a few coriander roots and lemongrass. It is preferably to cut out the lime's rind to avoid any bitter taste on the fish. On my first try, I followed as per cookbook and somehow the part where the lime touches the fish got bitter. Whether is it because of the lime's rind or not, I just don't want to risk it anymore.

Prep Time  : 30 mins
Cook Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 40 mins
Serves       : 2 - 3 pax

1 whole fish (≈1kg), scaled, gutted
3 - 4 slices lime
1 lemongrass, bruised
2 - 3 coriander roots

3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar *
5 - 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 - 4 bird's eyes chillies, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 - 3 sprigs coriander, chopped

1. Slash fish 2 - 3 times on each side at the thickest part of the fish. This is to ensure the meat cooks evenly.

2. Stuff cavity with slices of lime, coriander roots and lemongrass. In a wok of boiling water, steam the fish for 8 - 10 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish is cooked.

3. While steaming, prepare the dressing. In a small pot, heat the chicken broth. Add in the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. The broth should be in gentle simmer. Remove from heat. Add in garlic and chillies, followed by lime juice and fish sauce. Give your dressing a taste and adjust the taste accordingly. Lastly add in the chopped coriander and let the dressing sit for 3 - 5 mins for all the delicate flavors to be infused in the broth.

4. Remove fish from steamer and transfer it to your preferred serveware. Pour the sauce over and garnish with some lime slices and fresh coriander sprigs.

* Authentically, palm sugar was used. But since I don't have, I've substituted it with brown sugar.

● You may use any mild white fish, eg; red snapper, baramundi, sea bass, tilapia and etc.

● To get instant chicken broth, dilute 1/2 cube Knorr Chicken Cube with 1 cup hot water.

Make this recipe? Don't forget to snap a photo of it and tag #msyummyliciousrecipe on social media! I would love to see them! Enjoy my recipe!

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