We are so lucky to have the wholesale fish market in Birmingham, we can get everything there despite being the farthest from the sea in Britain you could possibly get. Even if you are not in the trade you are welcome to call in and buy direct from the traders and we should all take advantage of that now because as and when the market moves – which is on the cards – that may well change.
If you are a brave and adventurous soul with an unrelenting desire to plunge your hand in to select your own live crab then this simply is the place to be early in the morning.
I have to confess my cowardice here but I just love to eat them fresh and so I always manage to find someone help to prepare them with me.
The fear harks back to when I was a child and we used to serve great piles of them as ploughman’s lunches in our pub in Sheringham, there they came straight from the sea in Cromer and the fishermen would gladly deliver them to the door in exchange for a pint.
Ever conscious of the safety issues involved my dad was always thrusting a pencil in their claws as he ruthlessly dropped them screaming into a pot of boiling water in an attempt to stop our fingers ever venturing near. I have to say it worked and its worked to this day!
When I’m in Bangkok alone though I pluck up the courage to buy fresh water Ayuthayan river prawns and carry them back home on the bus with a giant carrier bag jumping and jiggling with the last vestiges of life ebbing away before I get home to simply halve them and throw them on the barbie.
The Thai’s enhance all their meals with dips and it’s typical to find a range of dips that can be hot and spicy, sweet and tangy, subtle or complex, or even just plain old fish sauce.
Nahm Jim Seafood is my favourite with fish and is so simple to put together I hope that you use the recipe with any fresh grilled or steamed seafood as it allows the pure taste of fish to shine through but at the same time excites and elevates something so simple into something quite sublime.
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 15 Medium Green Chillies
- 1 Tablespoon of Lime Juice
- 2 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Stock or Water
- 1Teaspoon of Brown Caster Sugar
- Pinch of Fine Salt
- 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Coriander Leaf
- Peel the garlic
- Cut the heads off the chillies
- In a heavy pestle and mortar pound the garlic and chillies with the salt until you have a course paste
- Stir in the lime juice, stock or water and brown sugar
- Combine well and stir until the sugar dissolves
- Slowly add in the fish sauce, tasting as you go and adjust any seasonings you feel necessary to make a balanced sauce
- It should taste spicy and tart.
- Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving
- If you want to keep this its OK for a couple of the days in the fridge but its always best the first day and in fact its better sat for a couple of hours at room temperature before you eat it