Having been to The Red Spice Road and tasted their dishes, I was very intrigued by the clever use of Thai, Vietnamese ingredients and combine with Chinese cooking. This recipe was adapted from The Red Spice Road cookbook and my first attempt making it. Cooking time is not long but remember to buffer more time to prepare the ingredients.
The stir-fry paste can be pre-prepared and refrigerated in a sealed airtight container for up to 7 days. You can also freeze it into small cubes so the paste can be kept a little longer. The spice paste is the key to bring out the wonderful aroma and the subtle spicy flavours in this dish. It’s a good paste to keep on hand.
I use rockling but if you can’t find rockling, you can replace with any other white meat fish like pink ling. The effort will not be wasted because the end dish is really tasty and goes well with rice!
Rockling stir-fried with gai lan, garlic stems, coriander & baby corn (adapted from The Red Spice Road Cookbook)
Serves 4 as part of a shared meal
250g rockling fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
75ml soy sauce
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp chilli powder
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
100g baby corn, halved lengthways
200g gai lan, chopped into 1cm length
3 garlic stems, cut into 1cm length
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
2 spring onions, chopped into 1cm length
2 tbsp stir-fry paste (pre-prepared)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
50ml chicken stock or water
50ml Shaoxing wine
3/4 cup coriander leaves
6 red chillies, chopped
1 medium red onion, sliced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup coriander stems and leaves, chopped
5cm piece galangal, grated
3cm piece ginger, grated
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, chopped
100g palm sugar
100ml soy sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1. Prepare the stir-fry paste first days or hours in advance. Heat oil in a wok. Cook chillies, onion, garlic, coriander, galangal and ginger, stirring constantly until the aroma is released and the garlic softens. Add the palm sugar and soy sauce. Mix well and continue to stir for the next 10 minutes. Add water and basil leaves. Transfer all to a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth paste-like. Leave to cool. Once it’s cooled, store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
2. Next, prepare the dish. Combine fish fillets and soy sauce in a bowl. Coat the fish in tapioca flour and chilli powder.
3. Heat the oil in a wok until smoking. Add the fish fillets and fry until golden brown both sides. Remove fish and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
4. Leave about 1-2 tbsp oil in the wok for stir-fry. Add garlic clove, baby corn, gai lan and garlic stems – continue stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
5. Then add chilli, spring onions, stir-fry paste, stock or water and Shaoxing wine. Mix well. Return fish to the wok, add half the coriander and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining coriander and lime.
6. Serve with steamed rice.