Chefs' Recipes

Amy Chanta and Palisa Anderson’s bpla neung manow (steamed fish with spicy chilli and lime dressing)

Lemongrass, chilli and scud chillies, and a whole steamed snapper. Nothing better.
A whole steamed snapper on a black plate, garnished with sliced limes, crushed chillies and coriander sprigs.Elise Hassey

“When we ate whole fish my mum would always leave the meaty bits for me and take the head for herself, which I thought at the time was a loving sacrifice. But now I know the head holds the sweetest and most tender bits,” says Palisa Anderson. “I imagine this to be the secret self-care baton that mothers pass on to each other through the ages.”



1.Pat snapper dry with paper towel and season with salt flakes. Place on a wire rack over a tray and stand at room temperature for 1 hour to dry. When ready, stuff knotted lemongrass into the cavity and insert the remaining stalk through mouth and into its cavity.
2.Place garlic, coriander roots and chillies in a large mortar and pestle with 1 tsp salt flakes and pound to a rough paste. Add palm sugar and pound until well incorporated. Add fish sauce and lime juice and season to taste.
3.Heat a large wok half full with water over high heat. When boiling, place a large bamboo steamer over the top with a lid. Place snapper on a plate that fits inside steamer. Steam fish until cooked (20-25 minutes); rest for 5 minutes.
4.Remove plate from steamer and wipe off excess water. Spoon over paste, scatter with chopped coriander leaves, finger limes and lime slices and serve with rice to the side.

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