Saut'ed Triggerfish with Quinoa, Wood Ears, Sweet and Sour Eggplant Basil Sauce

Balance is the key to Thai cooking and this sweet and tangy sauce balances beautifully with the delicate flavor of triggerfish

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes


Eggplant-Basil Sauce

  • 2 Italian eggplants
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ cup palm sugar
  • ¼ cup Thai basil
  • 2 tablespoons fermented yellow soy bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa and Wood Ear Mushrooms

  • 1 cup quinoa; blanched
  • ½ cup wood ear mushrooms
  • 1 cup Chicory; blanched
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chives; minced


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 (6-ounce) triggerfish fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Heat a grill. Put the eggplant flesh side down on the hot grill and cook for 8 minutes, or until completely charred. Flip and cook until the flesh is completely soft. Let cool slightly and scoop out the eggplant flesh into a pot. Add the garlic, shallot, and chicken stock and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a Vita-Prep blender. Add the palm sugar, Thai basil, soy bean paste, fish sauce, and lime juice and blend. Strain through a chinois and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and chicory. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cooked quinoa. Season generously with salt. Finish with lime juice and freshly minced chives.

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Season the fish generously with salt and pepper and put in the hot pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the butter and baste the top side of the fish with the melted butter for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the pan.

Spoon the eggplant-basil sauce across a plate. Top with a heaping portion of quinoa and lay a triggerfish fillet on top. Garnish with heirloom tomatoes and drizzled reduced Chinese black vinegar.

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