Lemongrass Fish Pops with Green Mango Salad
Cook Time 40 minutes
4 lemongrass stems
⅓ bunch coriander
500g firm-fleshed white fish such as monkfish or blue-eye cod, roughly chopped
3 tbsp good-quality Thai green curry paste (not too salty)
1 tsp palm sugar (jaggery)
6 lime leaves, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
Peanut or sunflower oil, for brushing
1 tbsp finely grated lemongrass
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar (jaggery) or brown sugar
¼ cup lime juice
1 red chilli, bruised but kept whole
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander stems
1 tbsp peanut oil
A pinch of chilli flakes
Green mango salad
1 long green (unripe) mango, flesh julienned
1 pomelo, peeled and segmented (skin and pith peeled), then roughly torn
1 banana shallot, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
⅓ bunch mint, leaves picked
¼ cup cashews, toasted and chopped
¼cup peanuts, toasted and chopped
Cut the lemongrass stems into thirds, reserving the pale white stems for grating into the dressing. Pick the leaves from the coriander and reserve them for the salad; finely chop the coriander stems and reserve them for the dressing. Put the fish in a food processor. Add the curry paste, sugar and lime leaves and blitz into a rough paste. Have a bowl of water nearby, and line a tray with baking paper.
Using damp hands, squish squash-ball-sized rissoles of the fish mixture onto the 12 lemongrass stems, wetting your palms as needed to stop things from sticking. Pop the skewers on the lined tray and chill for 20 minutes to set.
To make the dressing, finely grate the reserved lemongrass stems into a small saucepan. Add the fish sauce, sugar and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Bring to a simmer, let the sugar dissolve, then switch off the heat. Add the bruised chilli, reserved chopped coriander stems, peanut oil, chilli flakes and remaining lime juice, and give it all a stir. Taste for seasoning.
To make the salad, combine the mango, pomelo, shallot, spring onion and most of the mint in a bowl. Add most of the reserved coriander leaves. Scatter with the toasted nuts, reserving some for the top. Drizzle with most of the dressing and toss to combine. Top with the remaining nuts and herbs.
Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue chargrill plate until smoking hot. Wet a piece of baking paper until just damp, shake off the excess water and lay the paper on the grill pan (to help stop the fish from sticking). Brush the fish pops with oil, then grill for about 4 minutes on each side. Once the surface of the fish pops is firm, pull off the baking paper and finish them on the naked grill if you’d like decisive char marks.
Serve the skewers alongside the dressed salad, with the left-over dressing in a dipping bowl.
Book notes: If a cake pop and a fish cake got together and spawned, you’d have something resembling this dish. Divide by the lowest common denominator and you have yourself a Fish Pop. You could also grill these skewer-free, and scatter slices of the lemongrass on top to serve.