Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Steamed Fish with Shiitake Mushroom and Chillies


When I was in Singapore, I rarely had to buy fish; it was my Dad's 'duty', either to buy it or fish it. So you can say our family grew up with eating lotsa of fish, which was quite different for Johan's family. Here in Sweden, fresh fish are generally quite expensive (even more than beef at times) and it's more common to buy frozen salmon fillets or cod fillets, which comes without the skin. So you can imagine it won't be very nice steaming them.

Recently, however, I started to pay more attention to fresh fish and I was delighted when they had fresh sea bass on sale (about 20SGD per kg), which makes it quite 'affordable'. So I got about 3 of them and the first dish I made was steamed fish, following Fushia Dunlop's recipe but omitting the ham part and adding a dash of soy sauce, as my family would do it.
Called Havsaborre, or sea bass or Kim Mak Lou

Told my Dad I 'caught' a fish from the supermarket

I didn't use the whole fish, but the tail part of it (which I really like), so you can adjust the seasonings accordingly but it's all very simple ingredients. If you get the fish from the fish monger, remember to check that it is descaled because it's quite messy to do it at home otherwise. The key is not to overcook the fish and of course to eat it immediately after steaming. Which is why it's always the last thing to be cooked and has to be timed exactly by my Dad to the last minute when the final family member arrives for dinner.

Ingredients (for the tail part - about half of a 600g sea bass)
2 dried medium size shiitake mushroom
Half a sea bass (about 300g)
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
10g fresh ginger
1 fresh chilli
1 small spring onion, green and white sections separated
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water in a small bowl for about 30 minutes before you begin cooking.
  2. Make a few diagonal slashes into the thickest part of the fish on each side and splash the fish inside and out with the Shaoxing wine and rub on a little salt and set it aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Discard the seeds of the chili and cut into thin slices. Drain the mushroom and cut into silvers like the chili. Peel the ginger and cut into silvers too. Mix all these with a pinch of salt.
  4. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry. Place onto a metal plate that will fit your steamer.
  5. Smash the white part of the spring onions with the back of a knife and place into the cavity of the fish. Strew over the combined ginger, chili and mushroom, placing some in the cavity of the fish too. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of cooking oil.

  6. Steam over high heat for about 8 minutes, until a chopstick slides easily into the fleshy part of the fish. Shortly before the fish is done, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over high heat until really hot and sliced the spring onion greens thinly.
  7. Remove the plate from the steamer when ready, scatter the spring onion greens over the fish and drizzle with the hot oil and light soy sauce.


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