Thai Steamed Fish with Lime, Garlic, and Chilies - Pla Nueng Ma-Nao (ปลานึ่งมะนาว)
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 2
  • 1.5 lbs skinless fish fillets (see notes below)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (see notes below)
  • Juice of one large, juicy lime
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5-6 bird’s eye chilies, more or less depending on your heat tolerance
  • a handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Place the fish fillets in a heatproof dish in a single layer.
  2. Chop the garlic and chilies finely. It's important to chop them as opposed to pulverize them; otherwise the flavor and smell will be too overwhelming.
  3. Sprinkle the garlic-chili mixture over the entire surface of the fish fillets.
  4. Mix together the remaining ingredients, except cilantro, together. Taste it to see if adjustment is needed in terms of saltiness or sourness, then pour the mixture over the fish.
  5. Cover the dish with a piece of foil and steam in a steamer until the fish is fully cooked.
  6. Remove the dish from the steamer, sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves over the steamed fish, and serve immediately.
Even though black banded kingfish (Seriolina nigrofasciata) or Pla Sam-Li (ปลาสำลี), the same type of fish often used to make fried sun-dried fish, is by far the most popular choice of fish to use in this dish, other kinds of fish (both salt- and fresh-water) can also be found prepared this way. I use swai here. Orange roughy, mahi mahi, or halibut work well also. Often prepared and served whole in most restaurants, this classic has been made simpler with the use of fish fillets. Chicken bouillon is added to the list of ingredients to make up for the loss of flavor in the absence of the flavorful fish bones and cartilage.
Recipe by SheSimmers at