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Steamed Red Snapper with Spices

Monday, 25 May 2009


This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

Borneo's Forest Food

Article and Location Photos by Victor Paul Borg



At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
New Mexico Red
Main Course

  • 1 large red snapper
  • Salt
  • 3 red chiles, seeds and stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, cut in strands
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • Salt to taste.
  • Four cloves garlic, roughly chopped, to deep fry for garnish
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chile sauce, to serve
  • Methods/steps

    Gut the fish and scrape off any scales. Then make four diagonal slashes on both sides of its belly, and in the slashes rub in salt, and then put the red chiles, ginger, and garlic in the slashes.

    Steam the fish on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until just cooked (although cooking time will depend on the contraption used for steaming; be aware that it is very easy to overcook the red snapper).

    Deep fry the chopped garlic in hot oil -- but not smoking -- for a minute, until brown. This is used in the end to sprinkle on the fish.

    To make enough chile sauce for about four people, in a pestle and mortar pound or crush 10 red chiles, 4 cloves garlic, then squeeze in about 2 lemons, and mix. You can add a drizzle of water if you want the chile sauce to be less intense, and even a drizzle of Thai fish sauce.

    Additional Tips

    Red snapper is the closest, in size and texture, to the fish that is caught in the rivers in the Kelabit Highlands.Also, because of its delicate, flaky meat, red snapper cooks well by steaming. The Kelabits eat this dish alongside other dishes with plain steamed rice, and serve the chile sauce separately for people to use as desired: normally, you mix some of the chile sauce with the rice in the plate.


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