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Barramundi with Bok Choy and Laksa Sauce
Austrailia's excellent fine white-fleshed barramundi fish is steamed with baby Chinese bok choy cabbage and served with a spicy Malaysian laska sauce, a reduction of the gravy that normally accompanies the popular noodle dish referred to as laksa in that country and in Singapore. Be sure to use only the finest quality fresh fish.
1 pound barramundi or other white fish fillets, cut in 12 pieces
6 baby Chinese bok choy cabbage, halved lengthwise
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 stalk lemon grass, use bottom 4 inches only, finely sliced
3/4 inch piece of red galangal, chopped
1/2 dried red chili, sliced and soaked to soften
1/4-1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon curry powder for fish
1/4 yeaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup fish stock
1/2-1 teaspoon sugar, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
Prepare teh laksa sauce first. Put the onion, lemon grass, galangal and chili in a blender and process until fine, adding a little of the oil if necessary to keep the blades turning. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and saute the ground ingredients over moderate heat until fragrant; this should take 3-5 minutes. Add the curry powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika and shrimp paste and continue sauteing until the mixture smells fragrant. Slowly stir in the coconutmile, then add the fish stock and heat through. Season to taste with sugar and salt, and set aside.
On a heat-proof dish, alternate pieces of the fish and halves of the bok choy, overlapping slightly. Put inside a steamer and cook over boiling water for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked but not mushy and overcooked. (There is no need to season the fish as the laksa sauce will add flavor later.)
When the fish is cooked, gently reheat the laksa sauce but do not allow it to boil. Pour around the fish and bok choy and serve immediately.