Thai steamed halibut w/ sweet potato
This is largely based on a recipe by Thai food guru Andy Richter, founder of Pok Pok. I just added vegetables to give the dish body in place of the traditional jasmine rice. We have had amazing meals at the original Pok Pok in Portland as well as the new place near us in Red Hook. He is a true student of classic Thai cooking, especially street food — no pad Thai. I bought a bamboo steamer just to make this dish. So much fun — I loved cooking the sweet potatoes on one level and fish on another, and it left an amazing broth. We had the miso slaw w/ daikon on side.
.5 pound halibut fillet, chopped in chunks
3 large heads baby bok choy. Separate greens from stalk. Wash each well — chop stalk into coins and tear leaves in half
1 scallion (trimmed and sliced in little disks). Save tops.
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 piece ginger, about length of thumb, peeled and slivered. Save peels.
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Thai long hot pepper, washed and diced, seeds discarded
1 small bunch cilantro, stalks only, rinsed, dried and minced
1T fish sauce
1T low-sodium tamari soy sauce
.5 lime, juiced
Set 2 cups of water to boil in sauce pan with the scraps from prepping other ingredients — eg, scallion tops, garlic peel and potato peels. When water hits rolling boil, add a few dashes of soy and set to simmer.
Make sauce. Pulse ginger, garlic, cilantro stems and sliced hot pepper in a mini chopper. Add fish sauce and lime juice — keep pulsing until mix forms a thick paste. Set aside.
Fill about 3/4 of large saute pan with water and bring to boil. Meanwhile, line bottom basket of bamboo steamer with bok choy leaves. Cover with sweet potato and bok choy stems, and top with several dashes of soy. Cover basket and set in saute pan. Let cook about 10 minutes.
Slice fish into cubes and place in a Pyrex pie dish or other dish with sides. Season with white pepper. Fit dish inside another steamer basket. Top generously with garlic-ginger sauce and cover with scallions. Now strain broth from sauce pan and dump into pie dish until fish is well covered.
Remove cover from steamer. Stack basket with fish on top of basket with potatoes and cover. Let cook another 10 minutes, until a dull knife passes easily through fish. It should not be spongy (undercooked) or tough (overcooked).
Turn off flame and use pot holder to set fish basket on a large plate. Fill deep dishes with potatoes and bok choy and top with fish. Add a nice ladleful of broth from fish dish. Serve with lime wedges and extra cilantro.