6 banana leaves*
3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (see below for homemade or use Marion’s Kitchen or another store-bought paste)
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp rice flour
500g (1 lb) fish fillets (e.g. mackerel, tuna, salmon, snapper, cod, sea bass, barramundi), cut into small pieces
3 tbsp fish sauce*
1 tsp white sugar*
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
Thai basil leaves
makrut lime leaves, finely julienned
long red chillies, finely sliced
Thai red curry paste:
8 dried long red chillies
2 fresh long red chillies
1 tsp finely chopped makrut lime peel
5cm (2 inches) piece galangal, roughly chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, white part bruised, roughly chopped
3 eschallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp shrimp paste
¼ tsp ground coriander seeds
¼ tsp ground cumin seeds
Coconut cream topping:
½ cup coconut cream
1 tbsp rice flour
½ tsp sea salt
For the red curry paste, soak the dried chillies in warm water for 20 minutes to soften. Drain and roughly chop. Transfer softened chillies to a mortar along with the fresh red chillies. Use a pestle to pound to a smooth paste. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, pounding to a smooth paste before adding the next ingredient. Alternatively, use a food processor.
To make banana leaf cups, break toothpicks in half. Cut 12 x 18cm rounds from the banana leaves. If the leaves are fresh and stiff, heat them a little over a gas flame or in a non-stick frying pan to soften. Stack two rounds together. Make a small pleat in the rough and secure with a toothpick. Repeat to make 3 more pleats to form a square cup. Repeat to make 6 cups.
Whisk the curry paste, coconut milk, flour and eggs together in a large bowl (also add fish sauce, and sugar if using). Add the fish and using a wooden spoon, stir the sauce vigorously for 5 minutes to thicken.
For the coconut cream topping, place ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk for about a minute or until thickened.
To assemble, place a small handful of cabbage and Thai basil leaves in the base of each banana leaf cup, spoon in three heaped tablespoons of fish curry mixture. Top with a spoonful of coconut cream topping. Top with makrut lime leaves and chilli slices.
Place the cups in a large steamer set over boiling water. Cover and steam for 25-30 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.
– Fresh or vacuum-sealed banana leaves are available at some Thai/Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find them, use ramekins or muffin tins instead.
– If using Marion’s Kitchen Thai red curry paste – no need to add fish sauce or sugar because the paste is already seasoned perfectly