Fish broth with lime leaves, lemongrass and coconut

Fish broth with lime leaves, lemongrass and coconut

By
From
Citrus
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

This isn’t a Thai broth, although the method and flavours are similar – it is based on my attempt years ago to make a kind of Caribbean version of Thai green curry paste. There is a lot of overlap of ingredients, obviously; the biggest difference is no coriander (cilantro), instead we have the woody thyme we associate with Caribbean food, as well as mint and basil for sweetness. We don’t automatically associate lemongrass with the Caribbean, but it is often grown as a cash crop as well as being used in the local bush teas and tisanes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fish

Quantity Ingredient
600g firm white fish fillets, skinned and cut into chunks or slices
2 limes, Finely grated zest and juice
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped
sea salt
black pepper

For the paste

Quantity Ingredient
4 spring onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, whites only, roughly chopped
1/2 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
a small bunch mint, leaves only
2 limes, Finely grated zest and juice

For the soup

Quantity Ingredient
400ml fish stock
400ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
a sprig thyme
a few lime leaves, preferably not kaffir
1 aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
a medium bag spinach, or callaloo
cooked rice, to serve
or noodles, to serve
a few basil leaves, to serve
a squeeze lime juice, to serve

Method

  1. First marinate the fish. Put in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix the lime zest and juice with the garlic and chilli, then dilute with 100ml water. Pour this over the fish and leave to stand for around 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the paste. Put all the ingredients in a small food processor with some salt and pepper, and blend until fairly smooth.
  3. Put the stock, coconut milk and fish sauce or soy in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the thyme, lime leaves and all but a tablespoon of the paste. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes, then add the aubergine and red pepper. Simmer until almost tender, around 10 minutes, then add the greens. When they have wilted down, drain the fish, pat it dry and add to the broth. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. Serve over a small amount of rice or noodles, sprinkled with basil leaves and with a squeeze of lime.
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