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Steamed Fish

 

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Home-cooked Steamed Fish with Ginger and Spring Onion

 As requested by some of our CHIN heritage dinner participants, I am delighted to share with you my own version (a Hokkien) of this dish. Later on, I will also provide different variations of the same recipe by changing or adding some of the key ingredients.

 This recipe has been successfully tested using Rainbow or Brown Trout, Barramundi, Morwong, Grenadier, Blue Eyes, Bass, Murray Perch, Murray Cod, Skate, Flounder/Sole, Grouper, Mahi Mahi in Hawaii, Tilapia in San Francisco, they are all delicious. However, if you are like most Chinese who will eat anything that don’t run away fast enough with the exception of the table, you are encouraged to try it on Salmon fish head too and I can report that it was equally delectable!

 An exact quantity of each of the ingredients below has not been given. This is deliberate so that it can be adjusted to suit any size of fish. As a guide, the smaller quantity has been used on a one-pounder (500 grams).

 One whole fish of any of the varieties listed above.

 Marinade:

½ to ¾ teaspoonful of Salt

¼ to ½ teaspoonful of Pepper

¼ to ½ teaspoonful of Sugar (optional)

1 to 1 ½  Tablespoonful of cooking oil

½  to ¾ Tablespoonful of dark soy sauce, preferably with the mushroom-flavoured dark soy

1 to 2” (2.5 cm) of Ginger, finely slivered

1 to 2 Spring Onion, cut into 2” (2.5 cm) segments

 

Garnishing:

1 Spring onion, shredded lengthwise

Coriander Leaves (Optional)

Fresh red chillies (Optional), finely shredded

2 to 3 Tablespoonful of oil

2 to 3 drops of sesame oil (Optional)

 

bulletRemove all the scale including the head area if it is to be consumed as well.
bulletDiscard any innards. If the stomach area has black stain, rub it with salt and rinse off.
bulletScore both sides of the skin with a sharp knife. This allows the seasoning and marinade to penetrate.
bulletSprinkle the stomach cavity with salt and white pepper. Stuff with half the quantity of thin slivers of ginger and shredded spring onions.
bulletPlace the fish in a deep oval dish. (Tip: Use one that can double up as serving dish. It saves transferring the cooked fish to another dish and cut down on washing up!)
bulletSprinkle the rest of the salt, pepper and sugar (if used) all over the fish, followed by the oil and soy. Then the rest of the slivered ginger. Cover and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
bulletRemove fish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before steaming.
bulletPlace it on a steamer over boiling water and steam for 8 to 10 minutes (the duration is dependent on the size of the fish). To test if it is done, skewer it with a chopstick. If it can easily pierce through, then it is done. Alternatively, if the eye has turned opaque and “popped”, then it is done.
bulletLift it out of the steamer. Place the shredded spring onions and shredded red chillies (if used) on top.
bulletIn a separate small saucepan, heat the oil together with the sesame oil to smoking point, pour over the shredded spring onion and garnish with the coriander leaves.
bulletServe immediately.

 

Variations on this recipe: 

  1. Substitute the dark soy with light soy to produce a Cantonese version. People from Hokkien tend to use dark soy while the Cantonese tend to favour the light soy.
  2. Omit the soy altogether and increase the quantity of salt slightly and hey presto, you get another famous dish called the “White Steamed Fish”.
  3. Soak 1 Tablespoonful of dried soy bean in hot water for 5 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to mash some of it. Finely chop one garlic clove, a red chilli (optional) and the ginger (instead of slivered). Fry all four ingredients in a little oil and add them to the fish before steaming.