Friday, February 12, 2010

Fish Steamed Chinese-Style

Steaming is such a healthy and fast way to cook.  This delicate fish was flavored by ginger, scallions, and soy sauce.  I've lagged on posting so much I don't even remember what kind of a fish this was. My guess is some kind of snapper or bass, but I do remember it was delicious, just like Mom used to make. Although I haven't been posting, I haven't been idle either!

I baked these to make up for the lost linzer cookies around December.  I know I said I bake them only once a year, but Sis never got them for our birthday/Christmas.  So now they're Valentine's cookies!

I also cooked up a sauce from San Marzano tomatoes and discovered why they cost about $5 a can.  The taste really is complex and sweet, but at that price I soon went back to ho-hum tomatoes.

And I made pizza topped with eggplant and sundried tomatoes.  Okay, so maybe Joe did all the work, but I cooked and assembled my own topping.  And got stuck with kitchen cleanup.  But back to the fish...

HELLO!!!  Don't be afraid because he still has a head.  If that turns you off, don't go shopping with my mom.  She once asked if I wanted fish for dinner, then took me to the corner market and bought one from the tank.  I knew what was going to happen, but the sight of the fish flopping around while the man decapitated it almost ruined my appetite.  Do make sure it's been scaled and gutted.

So here's how you steam.  You can use one of the short, metal racks to elevate your heatproof plate in the wok or saucepan.  But the traditional way is to crisscross a pair of wooden chopsticks above steaming water.

Place some sliced ginger (about 1 inch) and scallions (about 4) in the cavity of the fish.  I don't think it's possible to overdo the scallions and ginger, which are only used as flavoring and will be discarded.  Place your fish on a plate, and position the plate on the chopsticks.  Cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, checking to ensure the water doesn't dry out.  Then drain the steaming water from the dish, and sprinkle some fresh scallions and ginger on top, which won't have turned limp and discolored from cooking.  Pour 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil on top.

Mom never did this part, not wanting to add unnecessary fat to food, but it's common to heat a few tablespoons of oil until it's crackling hot.  The effect is supposed to crisp the skin and brighten the vegetables, but I think you need a lot more oil for crispy skin.  Still, it's a nice sizzle.

1 comment:

  1. hey lady,

    i usually steam the fish for 7 to 11 minutes, depending on the size. i typically use tilapia, and i fry the oil ;) well i used to, before the diet. ha. i should try your way though (sans fried oil).

    i've never heard of the crisscrossing the wooden chopsticks method, but that is a good tip. i use my metal rack.

    also to test if the fish is ready, i stick a chopstick through. if there is resistance, then it is not ready. but if it goes through, it's time to take it out.




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