A friend called to tell me he’d come by to deliver something. Seeing as it was close to dinner time, I asked if he’d care to stay for some food. The invitation was bashfully and promptly declined. He didn’t want to impose. He would, I was assured, drop off a package and, having an important event to attend right after, skedaddle.
Moments later, the door bell rang as dinner was nearing completion. As it turned out, a few whiffs of an herb-laced fish roasting in the oven were all it took to derail someone’s plan. The visitor didn’t leave until this fish you see on the screen was stripped of its succulent flesh down to the bones.
One 3-pound (~1.5kg) very fresh whole fish (e.g. red snapper), gutted and scaled
A handful of assorted fresh herbs (I use lemon basil flowers, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal slices, and a few slices of lime. Feel free to use any fresh herbs you have on hand that you think go with fish and turmeric.)
14g fresh turmeric or 4g ground turmeric
16g peeled garlic
4g whole white peppercorns
4g cilantro roots or stems, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of foil, if desired.
- Grind turmeric, peppercorns, and cilantro roots into a smooth paste. Add salt and vegetable oil; mix well.
- Make a few slashes across the thickest part of the fish to allow the paste to flavor the fish more thoroughly.
- Rub the turmeric paste on both sides of the fish, going inside the slashes and all over the skin.
- Stuff the fish cavity with the fresh herbs.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
- I serve my turmeric-roasted fish with coconut rice, but plain steamed jasmine rice will do. Oh, and don’t forget a small bowl of nam-pla prik on the side.