If you live in Malaysia or Thailand then it's pretty common to see this dish pretty much in every Thai or Malaysian-Thai hybrid eateries - I mean, it is the mother of all steamed fish recipes. It's spicy and acidic in the best way possible, and you'll keep eating it even as your stomach develops an ulcer and that your tummy feels a weird kind of warm afterwards.
Although there are so many restaurants that do this well, sometimes when I am in hermit-mode, I like to make this at home and eat it at my leisure without the need to put on pants. The key to this recipe's success is that the fish has to be FRESH. SUPER FRESH. Otherwise, don't do it.
What You Need:
1 medium-sized, FRESH AF seabass, scaled, gutted and cleaned (dude just get the fishmonger to do it)
1 handful leafy Asian greens
1 tomato, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
5 bird's eye chili
1 inch ginger
3 large limes, juiced
Equal amount of fish sauce to the lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chicken stock
Some chopped coriander
What You Do:
1. Get your steamer out. Lay our the vegetables, and place the fish on top of it. Stuff that fish with quartered tomato. Steam that fish for 15-20 mins.
2. In a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and chilies together until you get a coarse paste.
3. In a small pot, heat the chicken stock, 1 cup water, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and the garlic-chili paste until everything is mixed and heated through. Check for taste. It should be sharply acidic, with a nice balanced taste of fish sauce, and some heat. Add more of any of the ingredients if necessary.
4. When the fish is thoroughly cooked, remove the plate onto the table. Pour over the sauce onto the fish.
5. Garnish with the copped coriander.
6. Enjoy, but also don't foget the Gaviscon/Tums for later, just in case.