Asian bowls using basa, in less than 30 mins.

Another recipe from Zac, using basa or perch (firm white fish). It took me 12 mins to prepare and 15 to cook and construct for 4 people.

Ingredients (for 2 people, prices Canberra, Australia)

  • 1 cucumber $1
  • 1 carrot $0.20
  • Mint and coriander $5
  • 100g Vermicelli $1
  • One piece on Basa (or other cheap fish) $3
  • Peanuts $3 (large bag, only use about a handful. With the rest, add to a food processor with about a spoonful of honey (to make the medicine go down) and a spoonful of olive oil, blend for 4-5 minutes to make peanut butter – waste not…)
  • Soy sauce (you should already have this)
  • 1x lemon $0.50
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Garlic 
  • Butter 

Total cost $13.70


Place a handful of peanuts in a food processor, or in a mortar and pestle if you’re feeling bourgeois

Blend or smash until fine.

Soak the vermicelli in boiling water, as per packet instructions, being sure not to over do it.

Heat a pan with a dollop of butter and a spoonful of garlic. Add fish, chopping up when it becomes malleable. 

Mix some soy sauce, about half a lemon’s worth of juice, optional chilli and some honey or sugar to remove the lemony snickets. 

Grate carrot, or slice using a peeler for wider strips.

Slice cucumber. Then cut in strips.

Chop mint and coriander 

Place vermicelli in bowl

Add carrot and cucumber

Season with peanuts and herbs

Add fish

Add sauce to the top (not the bottom)


baked fish

We used Mulloway for this, but I’ve since read in the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s guide, that it is an endangered fish, so perhaps check out the guide and choose another.

Wash the fish and make sure there are no scales still attached. Collect the things you will need.


6 chilies

7 cloves garlic

¼ cup combined granulated salt and pepper corns

3cm length galangal

Mix in the food processor and spread on baking paper, on a baking tray, and put under high grill for 5 mins to dry it out, but check that it doesn’t burn. This is your rub.

Slice 3 stalks of lemongrass thinly to half way down the stem and half a lime.

Put the fish on its side and cut slits about 1cm in, along the length. Turn and repeat.

Stuff the cavity and splits with the lemongrass slices then stuff with the lime slices.

Apply half the rub to one side.

Lay the fish, rubbed side down, on 4 banana leaves, arranged overlapping to take the length of the fish. Lay the leaves so that their length matches the length of the fish, or they’ll split when you cover the fish.


Apply the rub to the second side and any wandering lemongrass slices should be stuffed in the splits.

Place remaining lemongrass stalks beside fish, sprinkle liberally with salt and squeeze the half lime juice over all.

Place the remaining 4 banana leaves over the fish, folding the leaves around the fish. Slide cooking twine underneath, tie and wrap up the fish, turning the leaves over and under as you go. Secure.

Place on the grill of a medium preheated BBQ diagonally, as shown.

Cook on one side 15 minutes with the hood down, then turn carefully and cook remaining side 15 minutes hood down, or when fish falls away but is still firm.

Transfer carefully to a serving plate, unwrap and serve.

We had it with roti but you could try couscous or rice or salad, and this delicious sauce.


2tsp garlic, crushed

1tsp red curry paste

¼ cup pickled onion juice

Juice of ½ lime

1 passionfruit

2Tsp olive oil

2Tsp soy sauce

2Tsp sweet chili sauce

1tsp mixed herbs

1tsp ground coriander

1tsp vanilla sugar

1tsp fennel seeds

Stir vigorously to mix. Add more oil, soy or lime juice to taste.