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Fish and Herbs Stir-Fry ผัดฉ่าปลา (pad cha pla)
- Yield: Serves 2
- 350 g halibut, or another type of firm-fleshed fish, skin-on, cut into large cubes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 Cilantro roots (or 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro stems)
- ¼ tsp white peppercorns
- Thai chilies, to taste
- 1 spur chili, or another type of mild, large chili pepper, chopped
- 1.5 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ - ½ cup water or stock
- ⅓ cup julienned grachai, brined, loosely packed (see note)
- 1 Tbsp young green peppercorns
- 1 cup Thai basil
Note: Grachai or krachai, also known as "fingerroot" in English is an aromatic rhizome. It is hard to find fresh, but you can find it at some Asian grocery stores brined in a jar. Be sure to pack the juliennes loosely in the measuring cup. If using fresh grachai and you're chopping by hand, you will only need about 2 medium sized "fingers".
Marinate fish in ½ Tbsp of the fish sauce while you prep other ingredients.
In a mortar & pestle, pound together garlic, cilantro roots, white peppercorns, Thai chilies, and spur chilies until it resembles a rough paste.
In a wok, heat a little vegetable oil over medium heat and add the herb paste. Saute the paste until it starts to turn golden. Turn the heat up to high then add the fish and toss to mix with the paste briefly. Add the remaining fish sauce, sugar, and a splash of water; toss to mix. Add fingerroots and peppercorns, toss to mix, then let the fish cook without stirring until done, flipping the pieces half way through. Add a little more water if it becomes dry.
When fish is done, turn off the heat and quickly toss in Thai basil.
Serve with jasmine rice or another grain of your choice!
If you like your fish with a kick, this is the dish for you! I absolutely love it, not sure why it's so under repressented in restaurants - even in Thailand I've struggled to find it at times. As long as you can get the fish cooked correctly without breaking up, it is phenomenal
Made this for a pescatarian friend - but was loved by all! Super easy and delicious!