A complicated Michelin-star dinner the easy-peasy way

Six-ingredient supper: Steamed Asian fish with ginger and chilli

This is a very (very) lazy version of a recipe I learned about 10 years ago at a cooking class with the Australian chef Matthew Albert.

Matthew is a former head chef at Nahm in London, the first Thai restaurant in the world to get a Michelin star, so you can be sure my take on his recipe would fill him with horror.

His version has about 15 ingredients, all very delicately balanced, but over the years I’ve whittled it down to half a dozen or so for a quick midweek supper that still tastes great.

Once you’ve bought some fresh fish fillets, and had rummage around in the fridge, you will have dinner on the table in 15 minutes.


It’s as easy to make for one person as it is for 20, so it’s great when you have a gang for dinner – you can use a couple of trays in the oven, and you won’t overcook the fish, as it’s steamed.

What you’ll need and how to make it

1 meaty white fish fillet per person (I used wild hake here but sea bass, pollock, cod are good too – whatever you can get your hands on)
White onions, very finely sliced
Oyster sauce
Fresh ginger, grated
Fresh chilli, chopped
Lime, half thinly sliced, half cut into wedges

From the store cupboard
White pepper
Vegetable/fish stock

Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the finely sliced onion on the bottom of a baking dish or tray. You should use enough to stop the fish touching the base of the dish. Lay the fish on top of the onion. Smear oyster sauce all over the fillet with the back of a spoon. Grate ginger all over the fillet. Use a Micoplane, if you have one, as it grates the ginger so finely it melts into the oyster sauce. Sprinkle the chopped chilli, lime slices and a little white pepper over the fillet.

Carefully pour piping hot stock into the base of the dish, making sure it doesn’t get high enough to reach the fish – you want to steam it, not poach it.

Cover tightly with tin foil and pop in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet.

By the time the fish is done the onion will have cooked in the stock, giving a delicious broth.

Serve the fish and some of the onion with brown basmati rice, spooning over the broth with a squeeze of lime before eating.

(You can also sprinkle over some chopped coriander, spring onion, fried garlic or a splash of soy sauce – but they stop this being a six-ingredient supper!)

- Rachel Collins is editor of The Irish Times Magazine