Monday, January 28, 2013

Chinese Style Steamed Fish

While I was in Hong Kong there were many delicious things to eat.  Found out the Chinese food and Dim Sum served right here in my town is very close to what the real stuff is like.  What I wanted though was something I could make at home and enjoy.  We ate several meals at my SILs parents house and they were all so good.  The tools, ingredients, and recipes seemed a bit over my head.  Then one night what they called a Chinese steamed fish was served.  It was so fresh and delicious.  I thought it could really solve my issue of wanting to eat fish once a week, but not finding any recipes that made a store bought fish palatable (dang my dad for being such a good fisherman when I was a kid).
With my SIL translating I told my FIL that the fish was delicious and I'd like to make it when I get home.  Could he tell me how it was made?  He gave me a look "of course I will tell you, but it's really nothing special."  He went into the kitchen and brought out a bottle of Season Soy Sauce for Fish Lee Kum Kee brand.  I recognized the brand immediately as something sold here in the states.  I thought there may be some hope I can duplicate this recipe.  I found the soy sauce, but it's called Season Soy Sauce for Seafood and in parenthesis is says "very good with fish."  The FIL told me to use spring onions, Chinese parsley, and ginger.  Just steam it.
After I got back to the states I thought I'd look for a recipe online and found something even better Lee Kum Kee has made a video of how to make Chinese Style Steamed Fish.  The over dubbing of English is a bit silly sounding at times, but it's very helpful.  What I found out from the video is the fish is steamed right on the plate it's served on. I had no idea.
I went shopping for green onions, cilantro, ginger, Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood and a whole fish of course.  Who would have thought finding a whole fish was going to be the hard part.  I looked at the Chinese Market near me.  Nope.  I went to Whole Foods and they had sardines not what I was looking for.  I went to a fish market near me.  Nope.  Then I thought I'd try my 2 local grocery stores.  Nope.  So, I called my brother as I remembered him saying my SIL occasionally makes steamed fish.  He said his local Chinese market had whole fish.  That they even have them alive in a tank.  Talk about fresh.  Not very convenient for me to pick one up, but it is close to where my husband works for future reference.  Sunday though we were in the area and I said, "Let's pick up a fish."  They only had carp in the live tank and I'm sorry my dad conditioned me to not like carp.  They did have a nice Striped Bass on ice and I bought it.  They cleaned and scaled it for me.
Once home it was time to get started.  I pulled out the Farberware Wok I got as a wedding present 25 years ago and sad to say I've never used it.  I kept it all these years as I've always wanted to use it.  After cleaning it I plugged it in to make sure it worked.  It did we're in business.  I knew I could steam fish on one of my dinner plates as they are oven safe.  Next I began peeling and slicing the ginger.  I sliced green onions for under the fish and chopped some to sprinkle on top.  I then chopped up the cilantro.  I got the fish out rinse, dried it and rubbed it with salt.  I layed it on my bed of green onions.  I placed the slices of ginger on top.  The wok was set up and boiling and I set the fish inside and tried to close the lid.  My fish was a tail too long for the wok.  I didn't want to chop the tail off.  The presentation just wouldn't be what I wanted.  So, not to be detered I folded the tail up with the lid and set the lid down.  So, the tail is a little wonkie.  At least it still had the tail.  I set a time for 10 minutes.  While it was steaming I measured out my Seasoned Soy Sauce and cooking oil.
Once the fish was steamed my plate was filled to the brim with I guess fish broth.  I really didn't know what to do with it, so I tipped the plate over the sink and poured it off.  I didn't remember the plate being full of anything, but soy sauce, oil, green onions and cilantro in Hong Kong.  After removing ginger I sprinkled fish with sliced green onion and chopped cilantro.  I then heated the oil poured it over the fish.  I could hear the fish crackle as I did this.  I warmed the soy sauce and poured it over and it was ready to serve.  I couldn't believe that this fish looked just like what I had in Hong Kong.  As we ate it I was so pleased that it taste equally as good.
This morning my son said he had a dream about my steamed fish.  He said he had a whole fish to himself and ate it leaving only a plate of bones behind.  In the dream when his father asked for some steamed fish he threw the plate of bones at him.  Dreams can be so funny.

I think that it's a great compliment if people are dreaming about something you cooked.  We will definitely be doing this again and again and again.
Chinese Style Steamed Fish
1 1/2 - 2 pounds fresh fish
6 slices fresh ginger
3-6 stalks green onions
3 sprigs of cilantro
3 T cooking oil
6-8 T Season Soy Sauce for Seafood
See video for instructions on how to make you Chinese Style Steamed Fish. 

1 comment:

Jan said...

What a dramatic food presentation.