Tamarind Steamed Fish in Betel Leaves with Savoury Custard

Serves 4
  • Steps
  • Ingredients


  • For the Coconut Purée, split a coconut in half over a large bowl and reserve the coconut water.
  • Note: If you would like to serve this dish in half a coconut shell as Samuel did, repeat this process with a second coconut, the flesh and water from the second coconut is not required in this recipe therefore can be used elsewhere if desired.
  • Use a coconut shaver to remove the flesh from the coconut halves and place into a blender with the reserved coconut water. Blitz on high speed to a smooth purée. Transfer the purée into a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth, squeezing gently to remove the excess liquid. Discard the excess liquid.
  • Reserve 3 tablespoons of the purée in a small bowl for later use marinating the fish. Set the remaining purée aside in a bowl until needed for the Red Curry Custard.
  • For the Red Curry Paste, combine all ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind to a smooth paste.
  • For the Red Curry Custard, heat a medium frypan over medium heat, add the rice bran oil then add the Red Curry Paste and fry, stirring, until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the reserved strained Coconut Purée in a bowl. Simmer for 6-7 minutes, strain through a sieve lined with muslin cloth into a clean bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Half fill a large wok with water then place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Combine the eggs and extra egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk gently until combined, careful not to create too many bubbles on the surface.
  • Whilst whisking continuously, slowly add the cooled curry base to the egg mix, whisking until combined.
  • Pour the liquid into 4 x coconut shell halves or 4 x 125ml capacity ramekins. Place into a large bamboo steamer basket and cover with the lid. Place the bamboo steamer basket over the wok of simmering water and steam until set, about 8-9 minutes.
  • Remove from the steamer and set aside to cool. Top up the water in the wok and reserve the wok and the steamer basket off the heat for later use.
  • For the Tamarind Barramundi, place the tamarind purée and 500ml of water into a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer, then continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Place 3 tablespoons of the strained liquid in a shallow, medium sized bowl then add palm sugar, chilli and reserved coconut purée and mix well until combined. Set the marinade aside until needed.
  • Remove the skin from the barramundi fillets and set the skin aside until needed. Cut the fillets in half, lengthways, then in half, widthways, to create 16 by 10cm x 2cm batons. Add the pieces of fish to the bowl of marinade. Toss to coat the fish in the marinade, then place a portion of the fish onto a beetle leaf and roll the leaf up to enclose the fish like a parcel. Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of fish.
  • Place the wok back over medium heat.
  • Lay the betel leaf parcels into the bamboo steamer basket and cover with the lid. Cook until the fish is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a deep frypan to 180C.
  • Season barramundi skins with salt and slice into thin strips. Add skins to the hot oil and fry until crispy, about 1 minute. Remove from the oil and place onto paper towel to drain. Season with salt and set aside until needed.
  • To serve, arrange 4 parcels of Tamarind Barramundi in Betel Leaf on one side of each serving plate. Place a coconut half or ramekin of Red Curry Custard next to the parcels of fish. Top the Red Curry Custard with some crispy fish skin and sliced red chilli.

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