Tim’s dad caught a bunch of flounder and one huge bass (don’t know exactly which, but it was nice and meaty)! The bass that he caught must have been massive, because we only got a chunk of it, but it weigh somewhere around 3 pounds. We got 6 or 7 fish in total, and they lasted us through all of August and then some.
One of my favorite Chinese banquet dishes is the steamed fish that they serve towards the end of the meal. It’s a good thing it’s actually not too difficult to make at home! My mom taught me how to make this preparation of steamed fish a long, long time ago. The fish is steamed first, then you pour a yummy sauce over it, and you heat oil and pour it on to semi-sear the aromatics and become part of the sauce.
Chinese Steamed Fish
One whole fish, such as bass or tilapia, about 2 pounds, cleaned
1 Tbsp rice wine (optional)
Two thin slices of ginger 1/4″ thick + one 1″ slice of ginger
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp oil
2 scallion stalks, thinly sliced into 2 inch segments
4-5 sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
1) Make a few shallow, diagonal slits on each side of the fish. Don’t go too deep! Just an 1/8 or 1/4 inch deep. If you know that the fish was fresh (or freshly caught then frozen immediately), no need to add wine. If you’re not sure about the freshness, sprinkle wine on both sides of the fish.
2) Cut the thin ginger slices into slivers, then lay some in the cavity of the fish, as well as on top.
3) Steam the fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish; I steamed mine for close to 20 minutes because it was nearly 2 inches thick. Adjust the heat on your stove so that the water is always bubbling; after all, without boiling water, there can be no steam!
4) In the meantime, prepare your sauce and garnishes. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sugar and white pepper. Cut your scallions and cilantro (or not, if your husband doesn’t like it ;( ) and set aside. Grate the thick piece of ginger finely, and squeeze out the juice. This should yield about 2 tsp of yellow ginger juice; if not, grate more ginger and squeeze! It’s okay to have small bits of ginger in your juice, but try to retain just the juice.
|You can press the ginger pieces on the side of the cup|
5) When the fish is 1 minute from being done, heat your oil in a small saucepan until it is shimmering and low in viscosity.
6) Take the fish out from the steamer, then pick off the steamed ginger slices. Lay the scallions and cilantro (if you are using them) on top of the fish. Pour the ginger juice and soy sauce mixture over the fish. Lastly, pour the hot oil over everything.
-If you really don’t have the time to press your ginger juice, you can just julienne fresh ginger slices and add those to your cilantro and scallions…but my mom always says ginger juice is better! I prefer not to bite into chunks of ginger.
-You can also use fish filets instead of whole fish, and adjust the cooking time.