Chefs' Recipes

Amy Chanta and Palisa Anderson's padt cha bpla (stir-fried fish with holy basil, wild ginger and green peppercorns)

A multi-dimensional stir-fry that sings with spice and fragrance.

By Palisa Anderson & Amy Chanta
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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"I think this stir-fry would be my mum's desert island dish," says Palisa Anderson of her late mother, Chat Thai founder Amy Chanta. "Green peppercorns, grachai (wild ginger) and apple eggplants were among the first crops I planted when we started Boon Luck Farm six years ago."

Ingredients

  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 4 skinless king mackerel fillets (250gm each), pin-boned, cut into thick slices
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) grapeseed oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
  • 4 apple eggplant, quartered
  • 40 gm (½ cup) pea eggplant
  • 2 tbsp grachai, cut into julienne (see note)
  • 3 sprigs fresh young green peppercorns, plus extra to serve
  • 150 gm small king brown mushrooms, sliced lengthways
  • 100 gm canned palm hearts, drained, sliced (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp each fish sauce and oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp finely grated palm sugar
  • 60 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, cut into julienne, plus extra to serve
  • 1 long red chilli, cut into julienne, plus extra to serve
  • 1 cup firmly packed holy basil leaves
Curry paste
  • 2 long yellow chillies, chopped
  • 5 red birdseye chillies, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp each finely chopped galangal, lemongrass and grachai
  • 10 whole white peppercorns

Method

  • 1
    For curry paste, pound ingredients with 1 tsp salt to a smooth paste with a large mortar and pestle. Makes 240gm.
  • 2
    Place flour on a large tray and coat fish all over; dust off excess.
  • 3
    Fill a large wok one-third full with extra oil and heat over high heat to 180°C, or alternatively, when surface of oil starts to ripple, add fish and fry, turning occasionally, until light golden and cooked (4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and season to taste.
  • 4
    In a separate large wok, heat oil over medium heat, add paste and stir-fry until fragrant (4 minutes). Increase heat to high and add eggplant, grachai, green peppercorns, mushrooms, palm hearts and stir-fry until combined (3 minutes). Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar with stock and reduce until slightly thickened (6 minutes). Add fried fish, makrut lime leaves, holy basil and red chilli and stir-fry until combined (4 minutes). To serve, divide among plates, scatter with extra shredded makrut lime leaves, chilli and green peppercorns.

Notes

Grachai, also known as wild ginger or Chinese keys, and palm hearts, also known as young coconut tips, are available from Thai or Asian grocers. If unavailable, substitute ginger and water chestnuts. The curry paste can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen.