Close your eyes for a moment. Can you imagine yourself being in a warm sunny place, soft white sand under your feet, delightful fresh ocean breezes and the delightful smell of fresh lemongrass, keffir lime leaves and holy basil wafting in the air?
Sawadee Ka! Welcome to Koh Samui, Thailand!
Koh Samui is an island just about 700 km south of Bangkok and it is all about the fresh seafood. I spent 5 days consuming and testing all of the Thai seafood dishes they had to offer. I tried their fried whole fish with garlic chili sauce, grilled prawns, fish curry, and numerous little street food treats and this had my taste buds on full alert.
You would think after 5 full days of Thai food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I would be ready for something different, but instead I crave it every day. So I was off to Bam’s Kitchen to try to make something Thai inspired, simple and delicious with a couple of swordfish fillets from the market.
Without a recipe in hard, only memories still fondly on my taste buds from my trip, I created the most happy little accident… a grilled swordfish with Thai herbs and spices. The succulent swordfish flaked so easily and mingles happily with the beautiful bouquet of flavors from the lemongrass, keffir lime leaves, Galangal and basil. A little savory from garlic and shallots. A little salty from the fish sauce. A little sour from limes. A little spicy from the bird chilis. A little sweet from the Asian pear. A little depth of flavor from the mirin wine and perfectly light, healthy and delicious. This dish is perfect for gluten-free, diabetic diets, cardiac diets and for those carb watchers.
You do not have to go Thailand to submerge yourself in a little tropical holiday. This simple Tropical Thai Swordfish dish is so easy that you can make it from the comfort of your own home and it is like taking a little mini holiday to a tropical paradise.
Thai seasoning is always about the combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy with very fresh ingredients. I just can’t seem to get enough of these flavors. I must admit I had zero plan of what I was going to make or how I was going to prepare it but I just started gathering some simple supplies and I have to tell you this little fish dish is just gorgeous.
I do not know if you can get this where you live, but in Hong Kong, they make pre-made Tom Yum soup fresh packets. They have fresh shallots, lemongrass, Galangal, keffir lime leaves, fresh key limes and of course bird chilis all in one convenient little package. I also love the flavors of holy basil but of course they were fresh out of that at the local market so substituted regular basil.
You can use any firm flesh white fish you like but swordfish just happened to be a good bargain at the market today, so I choose this. I also think a whole fish that is cleaned, scaled and prepped for the grill (stuff the cavity with keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal and shallots, cut some scores on the sides and massage with oil) before grilling would be just beautiful in this dish. However, I have teenager boys at home and they are not fond of the eyes of the fish staring back at them.
I created 3 layers of Thai flavorings to help infuse the dish. First, I decided that I would marinate the fish first to really accentuate the Thai flavors. normally, it really takes a long time for flavors of fresh herbs to come out (I have hungry teenage boys waiting so I needed to get this going fast) so I first did a quick saute of the garlic, scallions, lemongrass, keffir lime leaves, galangal and chili (optional) first to bring out the oils and flavors of the Thai herbs before adding to the marinade. Then, I did a quick pan fry of the fried spices in a delicious broth to top off the final dish and then I made a quick Thai chili dipping sauce to top it all off. The Thai chili dipping sauce is completely optional but my boys will eat anything (even fish) if it is spicy.
Wishing you a lovely tropical holiday, even if you are snowed in. Take Care, BAM
Take a holiday from the snow with a fast and easy Tropical Thai Swordfish.
- swordfish - 1 fillet per person (or can use whole fish or any firm white fish)
- oil for frying - 2 tablespoons (I used coconut oil)
- shallots - 4 minced
- lemongrass - 3-4 diced very finely
- garlic - 4 cloves minced
- Galangal (Kha) - 2 inch wedge peeled and sliced thinly
- Chili (Phrik) - 1-2 bird chili or to taste (optional)
- keffir lime leaves - 5 leaves stem removed and sliced thinly
- mirin - dash
- fish sauce - dash to taste
- Asian pear (nashi) - 1 whole grated (can use other types of pears as well)
- lime juice - juice of 1 lime
- thai basil - 1 handful (may subsitute regular basil)
Step 1: Place oil in frying pan (wok) up to medium heat and add in half of the shallots, half of the lemongrass, half of the garlic, half of the galangal, half of the chili, half of the keffir lime leaves and saute until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Add a splash of mirin and deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Step 2: In a resealable plastic baggie or tupperware place in the cleaned swordfish and add the grating with the juice of the Asian pear, a dash of fish sauce, half of the lime juice and the Thai cooled herbed mixture. Rub the swordfish well and cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat grill. (You can use gas, charcoal or even a a grill plate on top of stove)
Step 4: Remove the swordfish steaks from the marinade and drizzle with a little oil on both sides and place on hot grill. Grill swordfish steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your fish or until the fish flakes easily with fork. Remove from grill and keep warm.
Step 5: In a small frying pan, place a small amount of oil, bring up to medium high heat and do a quick stirfry of the remaining shallots, garlic, lemongrass, finely grated galangal, finely minced keffir lime leaves, chilis until aromatic. Add basil and fry for a moment. Season with a dash of fish sauce and finish off with a squeeze of fresh lime. (If you need a little sweetness to the mix then reserve a little of the asian pear gratings and add at this time) Pour sauce over the swordfish steaks.
Step 6 Serve with a delightful spicy Thai dipping sauce. Please click here for the recipe details... http://bamskitchen.com/international-cuisines/thai-cuisine/shrimp-bundles-with-thai-basil-dipping-sauce/