Saturday, 1 October 2011

Steamed fish, Cantonese style

Some people don't believe I had never made steamed fish - it's easy and it's the Cantonese dish! Well, to tell the truth, though I'm interested in cooking I'm quite scared of heads of animals. I still remember the horror of buying a whole chicken from a local supermarket in Hong Kong, and finding that the head's intact. It's just... grisly. Similarly, I couldn't bring myself to touch a whole fish with skin and scale on - let alone a whole fish with its eyes staring at you. -___-"

So I had never made steamed fish. Until today. We went to a bigger supermarket in the area, and for some reason I wandered off to the fish counter...and decided to get a fish. At first I wanted to get some sardines for grilling, but the assistant said scaling isn't provided for sardines (now that I think about it, for obvious reasons...). So I opted for the fish sitting next to the sardines - trout. Now, I must confess I know very little about different kinds of fish, but my mum's always said we (my dad, my sister and I) are very picky when it comes to fish - in the rare occasion she bought a slightly cheaper kind of fish, it would still be untouched at the end of the meal. My mum wouldn't buy any dead fish for steaming, and she would only buy the more expensive kind of fish. The reason why I'm mentioning it here is that the fish I bought is probably unimaginably cheap (both in quality and monetary terms) in my mum's standards - I could hear (and picture) her sneer already, 'Yee, this kind of fish is no good! Dead fish can't be steamed!' The thing is, Mum, live fish is so hard to come by, I have only come across them in certain Chinese supermarkets here, and they're not cheap. At all. And I was at this supermarket with no live fish counter, so there's little I could do.

I got this fish home. I didn't even want to touch its packaging. When it was time to cook, I asked S to handle the fish - actually there was very little handling to do. I prepared the spring onion, and the ginger, and he did the rest.

Prepare the spring onion (chop finely or into thin strips), and ginger (thin strips, and thin pieces)

The fish @_@. Clean and dry the skin of the fish with kitchen towel. 

It's staring at me...no, YOU. It doesn't look happy. 

Clean the stomach of the fish (should have been done for you by the fishmonger already, but you still have to make sure it is clean). Put the ginger pieces into the stomach. 

Put the fish on a big plate (an oval one ideally, which I don't have), sprinkle the spring onion and ginger on top. Put the dish in a wok, and steam for 12-14 minutes with lid on. Obviously, the amount of time needed depends on how big the fish is. Mine was about 500g. Adjust accordingly. 

Pour away the liquid on the plate after steaming, and set aside the fish. Heat up some oil, and pour the really hot oil on the fish. Then use the remaining heat in the wok to heat up some light soy sauce and sugar. Pour on the fish. DONE! 
Serve with a vegetable dish and steamed jasmine rice. Enjoy! 

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