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Fish pates from Thailand...they're bold and aromatic.

Fish pates from Thailand ... they're bold and aromatic The delicate texture of these pates from Thailand may remind you of their cousins from France, but the similarity ends there. Unlike mild-mannered European pates, Thai fish pates are boldly seasoned. You start by making a green on red chili paste, then blend it with pureed fish and coconut milk.

Steaming firms the pate. Thais typically cook the puree in leaf-lined baskets or small containers that give a distinctive ethnic look. Here you can use banana or cabbage leaves to line a bamboo steamer or basket, as shown on page 220, then cook and serve right from the steamer. Or cook the pates in scallop shells or small ramekins.

In well-stocked supermarkets, you'll find coconut milk, seasoned rice vinegar, and scallop shells. You'll need to go to an Oriental grocery for the fish sauce, banana leaves, and bamboo steamer.

Serve the pates warm or cool as a first course, perhaps to start a curry dinner.

Basil and Green Chili Fish Pate 1/3 pound boned skinned rockfish or lincod fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces Green chili paste (recipe follows) 1 tablespoon Thai-style fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce 1/2 cup canned or thawed frozen coconut milk 1 large egg 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion 1 piece banana leaf (about 12-in. square) or 3 large cabbage leaves, optional Fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs and small dried hot red chilies (optonal) Steeped shrimp (recipe follows) Hot and sour sauce (recipe follows)

In a food processor, whirl fish, chili paste, fish sauce, cocnut milk, and egg until smoothly pureed. (Or, using the medium blade of a food chopper, grind fish into a bowl and mix in chili paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, and egg.) Scoop paste into a bowl; stir n basil and onion.

Prepare to steam in one of the following containers:

Bamboo steamer or basket. Select a 5- to 6-in ch bamboo steamer or basket (about 2 in. deep with natural finish). Rinse bana leaf and dry; fold leaf in thirds, shiny side in. Center the leaf on the steamer as smoothly as possible. Let leaf extend above rim. (If using cabbage leaves, overlap stem ends of leaves to cover bottom of steamer.)

Scrape fish puree into leaf (or leaves) and spread smooth. Fold leaf over puree to cover. Top steamer with lid (if using basket, snugly cover with foil). If made ahead, cover and chill until next day.

Scallop shells or small ramekins. Use 6 scallop shells for baking (about 5-1/2 in. wide) or 6 shallow 1/2-cup-size ramekins. Put 1/6 of the pate in each dish. I n shells, smoothly spread puree into a 3-1/2- to 4-inch-wide circle; in ramekins, smooth surface of puree.

Cut 6 pieces of foil, each 6 inches square, and oil 1 side. Cover containers snugly with foil, oiled side down. If made ahead, chill until next day.

To steam, put a rack in a wok or 5- to 6-quart pan; add at least 3/4 inch water (it should not touch rack) and bring to boiling. Set bamboo steamer or shells on rack (cook shells or ramekins in sequence, or use 2 pans).

Cover pan and steam over boiling water until fish mixture feels slightly firm to touch in the center, 17 to 22 minutes for large container, 8 to 12 minutes for small containers. Fold back leaves or foil to test. Add boiling water to pan if needed to maintain water level.

Remove pate from pan; uncover and let cool at least 10 minutes. If any liquid accumulates as pate stands, gently tip container and pour off.

Serve pate warm or cool. Garnish large container with cilantro and chilies and scoop pate onto salad plates; accompany with steeped shrimp. Garnish small containers with cilantro, chilies, and shrimp. Serve with hot and sour sauce to spoon on individual portions. Makes 6 first-course servings.

Green chili paste. In a blender, place 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, stemmed, seeded, and chopped; 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed; 2 tablespoons salad oil; 1 tablespoon chopped shallot or red onion; 1 tablespoon cilantro (coriander) leaves; 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger; 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel; and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, anchovy paste, and pepper. Whirl until smoothly pureed, stopping motor frequently and scraping mixture down into blades.

Steeped shrimp. Shell and devein 6 medium-size shrimp. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, bring to a boil over high heat 1-1/2 cups water, 1 green onion, and 2 quarter-size slices fresh ginger. Add shrimp, cover pan, and remove from heat. Let stand until shrimp are bright pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift shrimp from liquid; split lengthwise. Use hot or cool.

Hot and sour sauce. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons each seasoned rice vinegar and lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies.

Red Chili Fish Pate

Prepare basil and green chili fish pate (recipe precedes), but omit basil and, in place of green chili paste, use the following red chili paste:

In a 7- to 8-inch frying pan, combine 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger; 2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion; 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed; and 2 tablespoons salad oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Stem and seed 1 dry California (New Mexico) chili (about 6 in. long) and 1 small dried hot red chili. Break into 1-inch pieces. Whirl in a blender until completely powdered.

Add ginger mixture to blender along with 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander; 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel; 1/4 teaspoon each ground mace, ground cloves, ground cumin, ground cardamom (optional), and anchovy paste; and 1 tablespoon water. Whirl until smoothly pureed; stop motor frequently to push mixture into blades.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Nov 1, 1986
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