Steamed Seabass Hongkong Style

Source: Lai Eng

1 seabass/pomfret
Ginger (thin shreds)
Fish sauce
Spring onion (thin shreds)

1. Place fish on a heat-resistant dish. Place ginger on top of fish. I love ginger, hence the generous amount seen above. Steam for 15 minutes.
2. Remove liquid/sauce from dish. Set aside.
3. Boil oil (amount depends on your taste).
4. Pour oil over entire length of fish (be careful, oil may splatter).
5. Sprinkle some sugar. Add spring onion.
7. Add fish sauce.

When cooked: Saturday 15 December 2006
Which meal: Dinner
Which try: Have cooked this many times
Missing ingredients: Fish Sauce
Exchanged ingredients: Light Soy Sauce
Difficulty Level: 2
Others: Nil

Verdict: Healthy choice. Brian says he prefers my Easy-Peasy Salmon to this but he likes this very much too. Sean prefers this. I love this dish, always have.


Anonymous said...

I like to suggest a steaming-time guide for whole fish, which was handed down to me from my mom...

For fish which has been cleaned & gutted, head intact, steaming time is as follow:--

1 second for every 1 gram of weight.

So a 420g fish needs only 7 minutes. This formula is worked out from experience and the principle behind it is that cooking time is proportional to the thickness of the thickest part, which is in turn proportional to the weight of the fish.

This formula cuts down cooking time dramatically compared to what almost every recipe book suggests.

But it gives you tender, succulent flesh every time, without over-cooking! (in any case, it's better to undercook, which you can salvage, than to overcook, which means a ruined fish).

Steam on high for 1st 30 seconds (this is for the steam to fill up the cooking container), then turn down to low for the rest. [too high a heat makes fish tough].

When time is up, turn off fire and keep cover closed for another 2 minutes. Then take out & serve.

Note: for pomfret, I usually have to add another 1.5 to 2 minutes, because pomfret is thicker than other fishes given the same weight.

For all fishes, before cooking I make oblique cuts through the thickest parts of the fish, down to the bone. The cuts are angled in such a way as to half the thickness of the thick parts.

And I keep the cuts as well as the belly open with whatever other stuff I happen to use (ginger strips, tomato wedges, or even a small fork). This is so that the thick parts can cook as fast as the thin parts, and reduces the chance of having undercooked thick parts.

Also, I rub a few drops of lemon juice into all the surfaces. Lemon juice improves texture and keeps the flesh white.


Lilian said...

This is a really useful tip. I tend to overcook my steamed fish. Always poking to see if the inside is done yet. End up with rather unsightly dish.

Anyway, in Moscow, I don't even cook steamed fish. Can't recognise most of the fish here. Lots of salmon though, but that's better grilled/pan-fried than steamed.

Anonymous said...

hahaha.... talk about not being able to recognize the fishes... I had a lot of trouble with that when I first came to Vancouver.

Yes the varieties of fishes here in Vancouver are also somewhat different from Sgp: lots of tilapia (which is very cheap! Something like $3.5-4.00 for a 500-600g fish), salmon, trout (which I don't know how to cook!!).

We have quite a bit of Pomfret (frozen), and frozen Sea-Bass (which they call 'Giant Seaperch' here) is always available. I always get the names confused... I only realized that 'Giant Seaperch' is the same as the 'Seabass' we have in Sgp after reading the chinese name, which they have on the label in the chinese supermkt.

I've discovered Spanish Mackerel here (ikan tenggiri batang, or grass carp), which I use to make Teochew fish-soup (hawker-center style). I also try to grill mackerel the way they do it in Japanese restaurants, but I think I haven't found exactly the right kind of mackerel to use for this.

My daughter is a great fish-lover, hence my urgency in learning a great deal of fish-dishes, and trying to duplicate the fish dishes we used to eat in Sgp.


Lilian said...

Wow, you have quite a repertoire of fish dishes. My husband doesn't like fish at all, the boys are so-so with fish, so I end up hardly cooking fish.

Lilian said...

Wow, you have quite a repertoire of fish dishes. My husband doesn't like fish at all, the boys are so-so with fish, so I end up hardly cooking fish.