Last weekend, hubby and I celebrated 6 months of marriage by heading out to Spice Temple for a very special dinner.
Spice Temple is part of Neil Perry’s Rockpool “family” of restaurants, and I had been wanting to go there for ages. Hubby, being a huge devotee of anything containing chilli, was particularly excited, as Spice Temple is purported to have one of the hottest restaurant dishes in Sydney.
We enjoyed five-spice squid (somewhat spicy), prawn dumplings (a bit of heat from the chilli oil), steamed trevalla (the pickled chillis were nicely hot), pork belly with leeks (awesomely hot!!!) and vegies in garlic. It was probably one of the most delicious meals we have ever had.
A few months ago, I stumbled across a new Asian grocer. It not only had all the sauces, spices, meats and vegies anyone could ever want, it also had a large selection of specialty kitchen tools.
So, after years of cooking Asian cuisine, I finally bought myself a bamboo steamer, something I had wanted for ages. I very excitedly used my steamed exactly once, and then promptly forgot I owned it.
This meal was inspired by the steamed fish and the garlic vegies we had at Spice Temple, and was a great opportunity to dust off the bamboo steamer.
The flavours in this meal are predominately Thai. I steamed the fish with a little soy sauce, and served the fish on top of greens and beansprout vermicelli, which I stir-fried in garlic, sweet chilli and soy sauce. I topped the steamed fish with a sauce of sweet chilli, coriander, lime and sesame oil. For a detailed recipe, click here.
I was amazed by how tender and soft the fish was after steaming. For a delicate fish like barramundi, gentle steaming was the perfect way to cook it. When we tried to bbq some barramundi last summer, it just disintegrated. Steaming was so much easier!
I served the meal with chopstick, and even though I know Thai people do not traditionally use chopsticks, I just really enjoy eating with them! I was concerned that a whole fillet would be too difficult to eat with chopsticks, but I was delighted by how easily the fish flaked. Another benefit of steaming.
The veggies were a little dry, and all the flavour came from the sauce. Next time, I will add extra flavours to the fish while it is steaming. However, as my second attempt at steamed fish, and for a quick and healthy meal, I was very happy with the outcome.