I did a BBQ Salt Crusted fish recipe a couple of weeks ago at the Thai Muang campsite. Well I'm back at the campsite for the Save Turtle Festival, a festival where they release turtles into the sea to restock turtle numbers. It's covered on my Appon's Thai Life Blog.
Naturally if I'm having a barbecue at the beach, it's got to be seafood, but this time I want to prep all my food during the day and eat later. Fish parcels are perfect for that, prep the fish, wrap them, into a cool-box with some ice and off to the festival you go. The parcels are all ready for when you come back. They taste better with a little time to marinade, too.
I let my fish monger choose a white fish for this. I'm looking for fewer bigger bones, white bulky firm flesh that can be cubed nicely. In fact I let him scale, gut, and even fillet the fish. He does it for free so why not ask?
Thai Muang has a great fish and fresh veg market, its open around 3pm onwards and has pretty much everything you need for this dish. You can see it in my Thai Muang camping article over on my Travel blog. I was tempted to just buy some red curry paste, that would save a lot of work, but this is a recipe blog and so I really shouldn't make it look too easy! If you're making this, you can simply buy a curry paste ready made at this market and add some basil and thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves to the fish too.
I was missing two things: Banana Leaves, for that try the side of the road. You can see in my video the size of the leaves you want and how to strip them. It's pretty easy. I'm also missing little sticks to fasten the parcels. You can use toothpicks, but I use to make these on the farm, and we use coconut leaf stalks. There are plenty of these at the Thai Muang campsite, so that part was easy.
Once you've made the fish parcel, fire up the barbecue, cook it till the banana leaf is a little burned and brown on the outside, that way you know it will be perfectly cooked inside.
1kg of White Fish Flesh
1 Lemon Grass Stalk
6 Red Onions
3 Garlic cloves
8cm of Turmeric Root
12 Dried Thai Chillies
3 Fresh Green Chillies
1 Teaspoons Salt
Handful of Thai Basil Leaves
8-12 Kaffir Lime Leaves
A squeeze of lime
Banana leaves, (tinfoil if you can't get them)
Toothpicks or Coconut stalks to secure the parcels
Mortar and Pestle to pound the paste
1. First we prep the paste. This is a spicy curry paste and you can buy ready made pastes quite easily if you don't want to make your own. I'm making my own course paste, because making a fine paste is too much work!
2. Soak the dried red chillies in water.
3. Peel the outer layers and trim the lemon grass root, chop and add to the mortar.
4. Trim and cut the onions, they go into the mortar.
5. Peel the garlic and put the cloves in the mortar.
6. Cut the fresh green chillies, removing the stalks and add them to the mortar.
7. The turmeric root needs to be peeled and cut into cubes to make it easier to pound to the paste.
8. Cut up the dried chillies you soaked, and add them to the mortar.
9. Add the salt. Slice up the kaffir into fine strips and add to the mix.
10. Now you pound away, a rough blended paste is good enough.
11. Take your fish fillet, you can leave the skin on but avoid putting bones in. Cut it into good sized chunks. Put them into a bowl well mixed with the paste mixture.
12. A parcel consists of about 4-6 chunks of coated fish, some basil leaves, a little squeeze of lime for freshness, all together in a banana leaf.
13. Each packet should be hand sized, you can see how to wrap the fish parcel from the video. Fold the edges over so the fish is completely sealed, with the folds on the top to keep the juices in.
14. Secure the parcel with a toothpick. It can be left to rest in a coolbox or fridge.
15. When barbecuing the parcel, brown/burn it a little on both sides so you know its properly cooked.