Sunday, February 3, 2013

Steam Fish - Hong Kong Style

I love fish and there are many ways to cook it and today I want to talk about one of the best ways - steam fish.
Europeans usually fry, grill, roast their fish or maybe the Spanish and Italian might bake the fish with salt but steam is almost never, also mostly they will only eat fish with lemon juice or tomato sauce, maybe because there not many fish is fresh enough and they are mostly frozen so they have to use the lemon juice to cover the fish smell? but I think if you can find "fresh fish" the best way to cook it is to steam. It not only gives the best flavor but it is also very healthy.

Here is Hong Kong Style steam fish,  after you learn this, you can try to do it differently, using different ingredients.  So have fun and enjoy!

1 fresh fish (about 500g - 600g),
2 stalks green onion,
1/2 cup finely chopped, thinnest strips ginger,
1 cup thinnest strips scallion,
1/2 cup coriander
2 red chili – thinly sliced
4 tsp sunflower or peanut oil or any veg oil but don't use olive oil.

4 tbsp light soy sauce,
1/2 tsp sugar,
3 tbsp water,
a pinch of white pepper
1 tsp Shaoxing wine to pour on fish prior to steaming (or any cooking wine like dry sherry, but I like to use brandy)

A plate to hold the fish & large pot or wok for steaming.  Big enough to put the plate inside. If you don’t have a steamer insert, take a small bowl and invert to use as a stand.

Preparation :
1. Clean out the fish inside, pat dry. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Take some strips ginger and scallion stuff inside the fish.
Beside strips ginger and scallion, I also like to put inside some small and thinly cut pork belly.

2. Cut scallion into long pieces,  place them on the plate, put the fish on top, then put ginger slices on fish.
Personally, I like to cut up some tofu and place them on the plate instead , the seasoning and fish juice will go to the tofu after cooking and it will give an extra taste to the dish.

3. Soak strips scallion in cold water for 3-5 minutes, drain.

1. Add 6cm of water to your large pot or wok.
Put the fish into the steamer when the water is boiling (if without steamer, put the invert small bowl in the wok or pot and put the fish plate on top,  cover the pot or wok), turn down the heat to medium.
Cooking times:
- Whole fish 500g : check at 12 minutes, add 2 minutes for every 100g
- Fillets 3cm and thicker: check at 10 minutes, add 2 minutes for every 1cm more thickness

Tips: to steam the fish, best to put a dish towel in between the lid and the fish , so the steaming water will not drip back on top of the fish.

2. When the time is up,  check the fish to see if its cooked:

- Check the fish to find its thickest part. This is the part that will finish cooking last, so if this part is done then the rest of the fish is fully cooked.
- Stick the chopstick or fork gently into the thickest part of the fish. The flesh should be easy to separate and almost flaky. Usually after tun off the heat I leave the fish inside the pot with the lid on for extra 2 minutes, while I wait I will:
- heat up 4 tsp of oil in fry a pan
- now 2 minutes is up, take the fish out carefully, put the fish on a serving plate, pour over the fish juice and the seasoning, a dash of wine, the scallions, strips ginger and red chili on top of the fish
- you should see now your oil in the fry pan is smoking hot, add gingers and strips scallion, have a quick fry and pour over oil on top of the fish and you will hear the sound "Sizzzzzzzzz now eat...".

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