Thai Time: part 3

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Can’t afford a trip to Thailand to celebrate Songkran? Celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, shares a few of his favourite Thai recipes to help spirit CD Traveller readers to the ‘Land of Smiles’

This is my take on a dish I enjoyed in Thailand several years ago – a whole crispy fried pomfret smothered in a delicious sweet, sour and hot tamarind sauce. Utterly divine. My healthier version uses red snapper fillets, but you can use any firm white fish for this recipe.
Serves 4

4 red snapper fillets, about 100-120g each
sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
handful of baby spinach leaves (optional)
1.5 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
4 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp tamarind paste (or lime juice)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar (or soft light brown sugar)
2 tbsp water

Check the fish fillets for small bones, removing any you find with kitchen tweezers. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chillies and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a light jammy consistency. If it thickens too much, add a touch more water to thin down slightly.
Season the red snapper fillets with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wide (preferably non-stick) frying pan. Fry the fish fillets, skin-side down, for 1.5 minutes until the skin is lightly golden brown and the fish is cooked two-thirds of the way up. Flip the fish fillets over and cook the other side for about 30 seconds just until the flesh turns opaque and feels just firm.

To serve, spoon the sauce onto warm plates. If you wish, scatter over a layer of spinach leaves before arranging a fish fillet on each plate. Serve immediately, with plain jasmine rice.

I like to eat these sweet hot fritters with a scoop of contrasting cold, creamy vanilla ice cream. Pure indulgence. You do need to eat them fairly soon after cooking to enjoy them at their crispy best.
Serves 4-6

5-6 large, firm but ripe bananas
vegetable or groundnut oil, for deep frying
icing sugar, to dust
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
100g rice flour
100g corn flour
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
225-275ml water

First prepare the batter. Put the desiccated coconut, rice flour, corn flour, sesame seeds, salt and sugar into a large bowl and stir well. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. Stir until evenly blended and there are no lumps in the batter. It should be fairly thick.

About 10 minutes before you will be ready to serve, peel the bananas and cut each one into 3 or 4 short lengths. Heat a 5-6cm depth of oil in a wok or deep heavy-based saucepan until hot. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a little batter into the pan – it should sizzle immediately.

Cook the fritters in batches. Dip the banana pieces in the batter to coat all over, then carefully lower into the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown all over, turning once. Remove and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Keep warm, while you cook the rest of the fritters.

Dust the crisp, hot fritters with icing sugar and serve straight away.

Recipe taken from Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen: Recipes from the F Word (Quadrille Publishing, £20).
Gordon’s latest British restaurant Petrus opened in London on March 29. To make a reservation call 020 7592 1609.

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