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Thai Spicy Catfish - (Pad Ped Pladuk)

1 pound catfish

1/2 cup diced eggplant
6 garlic cloves - (to 10) -- crushed, or mashed
2 stalks lemon grass (2 to 3" long) -- bruised
1/4 cup grated ginger
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
A few sliced Thai chile peppers -- (optional)

You need about a pound of catfish, cut through the body into "steaks" about 1/2- to 1-inch thick.

Combine the sauce ingredients. In a wok (see caveat below) get enough oil to shallow-fry the fish smoking hot. Add the fish and stir until thoroughly coated with oil, then add the prepared sauce (caution, it can splash -- you may want to wear eye-protection, or make judicious use of a splatter guard). stir-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, ensuring the fish doesn't stick to the pan and the pieces are all thoroughly sauced.

Remove to a serving dish and serve with steamed Thai jasmine rice and the usual Thai table condiments as well as Thai chili powder and sugar.

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