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Suporn's Steamed Fish
and Banana Custard

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons red curry paste (from can or plastic tub is fine)
1 1/2 cup coconut cream (skim from tops of 3 cans coconut milk; chilling will help to separate the milk from the cream)
2 pounds filet of a firm fish (1/4 ground in food processor, 3/4 in coarse cubes)
2 large eggs, beaten
6 to 7 makrut leaves, very finely julienned
3 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)
2 cups male banana flowers, thinly sliced and rinsed well
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 older banana leaves from outside of plant, split lengthwise with rib removed (or 1 package frozen leaves)
1/2 red bell pepper and/or 2 chili peppers, thinly julienned for garnish

Directions:

Mix sliced banana flowers with basil leaves and distribute evenly in bottoms of banana leaf boats. Spoon the custard mixture into the banana leaf boats until nearly full and place in covered steamer for 20-25 minutes. A few minutes before done, remove steamer cover and garnish tops with a little coconut cream and two or three strips of red bell pepper and/or chilis to suit your taste.

Serve with hot, steamed rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Banana Leaf Boats:

Wash leaves well. Stack 3 banana leaf sections on one another and, with a pair of scissors, cut a series of 6"x9" rectangles with the corners gently rounded off. Take a pinch-fold in each of the four corners and secure with toothpicks to form an oblong boat, three layers thick, with 1" sides. Add toothpicks as necessary to maintain shape.

The Custard:

In a large mixing bowl, briskly stir coconut cream and curry paste until all lumps have disappeared. Add the ground-up portion of the fish and continue stirring for a minute or two. Add the pieces of cubed fish, beaten eggs, julienned makrut leaves and fish sauce, stirring for a few minutes to combine ingredients but not so hard as to break up the chunks of fish.

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