Jan 22, 2019

Thai Flavored Steamed Tilapia Fillets. This Time Using Dried Herbs

I'm sure I'm not the only one left with tons of leftover dried herbs in the pantry, especially the case for not so frequently used exotic dried herbs. Per my case, I use more western spices than Southeast Asian varieties like galangal and kaffir lime leaves. These herbs are usually purchased for one particular dish and they'll be sitting in the corner of the cabinet for a long long time before seeing daylight again. It's time to rescue these lonely herbs.

Thai flavored steamed tilapia fillets using dried herbs -


  • 0.75 lb/about 2 tilapia fillets
  • 2 slices dried galangal
  • 1 small handful dried lemon grass
  • 6 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some fish sauce
  • Some salt


Season both sides of the fish fillets with some salt.

Put one tilapia fillets on the bottom of the plate. Top with 2 slices of galangal, some kaffir lime leaves, then arrange dried lemon grass throughout. Squeeze half of the lemon juice over, also add a few dashes of fish sauce. Top these dried herbs with the other piece of fish fillet, somewhat like making a sandwich.

Flip the whole thing over so the other fillet can get some seasonings too.

Cover the plate with cling foil. Use a steamer, steam the fish for 7 to 10 minutes. Flip the fish and put the lid back on. The power should be off by now, just gently cook the fillets using residual heat for another 3 minutes, then remove from the steamer. Once cool enough, remove dried herbs.

Destem and finely chop the red chili. Destem and slice the scallion into thin strips. Transfer these two over cooked fish. Meanwhile, prepare a small pot and drizzle some olive oil over. Turn to high heat and make sure the oil gets really hot. Drizzle that over red chili and scallion, it should make a sizzling sound when the oil touches the chili and scallion. Serve immediately. 

Instead of adding an exotic touch to the tilapia fillets, these dried herbs actually boost up that refreshing, umami-loaded scents. The outcome was such a surprise to me, in a pleasant and delicious way.

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