14 Apr2006


Here is a Thai variation of our escabeche-style sweet and sour sauce. My wife purchased her first cookbook when we were assigned to Indonesia soon after we got married, Thai Cooking Class by Somi Anuntra Miller and Patricia Lake. A thin paperback book, it contains some classic Thai recipes and this wonderful fish recipe that we have cooked dozens and dozens of times in the past decade or more. My wife mastered this recipe and has taught all of our cooks since how to cook it. It is simple, relatively quick and absolutely delicious. First, pick a nice sized extremely fresh fish such as a 1 kilo grouper or jack (lapu-lapu or talakitok). You may also substitute a maya-maya or other similar fish. Clean and scale the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Either grill the fish over hot coals or fry it in vegetable oil. I prefer it fried as the grilling results in unevenly cooked flesh in many cases…

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Put a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat this up. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 shallots or 1 small thai2red onion, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger, some pickled soybean or soy sauce. After 2-3 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric, some tamarind paste diluted in warm water, some white pepper and about 1 cup of chicken stock. Stir and blend well. Take off the heat and add some sliced green or red pepper, wansoy (coriander) and woodear mushrooms if you like them. Pour the sauce over the cooked fish and serve hot with lots of steamed rice. There should be a healthy balance between the sweetness, sourness and saltiness of the sauce. Delicious!



  1. rina says:

    hi MM, Thai Cooking Class by Somi Anuntra Miller/Patricia Lake is also a favourite in my collection, my copy is dogeared, smeared with all sorts of curry pastes and condiments and in a fit of attention seeking, my cat has used the rib of the book as a scratching post – its hanging by a thread but i still use it a whole lot!

    Apr 14, 2006 | 12:52 pm


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  3. Wilson Cariaga says:

    mmmm. . . looks yummy, i will definitely try this recipe at home

    Apr 15, 2006 | 10:18 am

  4. Marketman says:

    rina, it is a disarmingly useful cookbook…

    Apr 17, 2006 | 2:48 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    aridelros, it isn’t as sweet as say the pinoy version of sweet and sour and yes, the tamarind paste helps though it is generally used sparingly. There aren’t too many local cookbooks besides the “classics” like Enriqueta David-Perez Filipino recipes or other similar books. National Book Store and Fully Booked a good place to start looking.

    Apr 18, 2006 | 12:42 pm

  6. Lling Lling Tan says:

    i like to try the recipe, but “tamarind paste” is not available in Zamboanga City. Is there a substitution for it?

    Jun 5, 2006 | 10:25 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Lling Lling, get very ripe sampaloc, remove the seeds and the hard pulp and stringy fibers and mash until you have a soft tamarind paste…that should do as a substitute.

    Jun 5, 2006 | 2:14 pm


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