Friday, September 7, 2007

Cooking: Steamy Kitchen's Chinese Steamed Fish

Last night's dinner was second to the last continuous meal I'd have to make. I've been highly inspired by Jaden's Steamy Kitchen blog with all the beautiful food porn and detailed instructions for her recipes. Now that's a hardcore foodie! So first of all, I've gotta give her a big thanks for answering my questions and letting me try out her Chinese Steamed Fish recipe. Here's the link if you're interested in trying it out:

I'll begin my story telling with how disappointed I was with the selection of fish at Marina Supermarket. I know this place is ghetto and dirty, but come on. First of all, they didn't even have live rock cod or red snapper. All that was available to me was the dead half frozen kind. I asked Justyn to help me pick out the freshest one which meant the one that had the clearest non-cloudy eyes. I probably picked the best of the worse which isn't saying much. The fish cleaner guy rolled his eyes and instructed me to put the fish on a dirty bloody pan so he could clean it for me. Sorry dude! I'm a n00b when it comes to buying shitty fish. Sheesh. After he cleaned and bagged it, we were outta there. I really do hate this place but, hey, it's cheap. Next time, I'm definitely going to Lyons which is a bit further, but more fresh and clean.

So I took my dead fish home along with the rest of the groceries. I cleaned and prepped my green onions, ginger and cilantro. I also trimmed and washed some gai lan (Chinese Broccoli).
Time to prep the fish and steps A-C according to Jaden's instructions. No problem, it was actually really easy. I like her method of breaking things down so they're fool proof. I made a bed on a shallow plate and stuffed the fish with ginger, cilantro and green onion.
It lay there with head and tail sticking over the edge like you would if you were on too small of a bed. I decided to leave it like that until I tried to stick it in the steamer. It definitely wasn't fitting so I almost cut the fish in half until Justyn came to the rescue and turned the fish upsidedown and curved it. It fit like that, but it wasn't pretty. I already had the water boiling when I set the steamer insert in the pot and turned the heat to medium. It simmered for 15 minutes (1.87 lbs.).
Stupidity on my part time. I couldn't find the damn lid for the steamer so I used a couple pizza pans I had in the cupboard and stacked some graters on top. A lot of steam escaped, but I was defeated. UNTIL I looked for a small pot to heat oil in. I found the lid! Woo! My woes were no more.
As the fish was cooking, I boiled some water to blanch the gai lan for 5 minutes. That was drained and then put onto a plate. I cut it into bite sized pieces with my scissors and then dressed the top with oyster sauce, sesame seed oil and sesame seeds. Easy and refreshing greens for the side!
After the fish was done steaming, I took the entire steamer out and placed it on the counter so I could easily transfer it to the plate. Do you think I was successful? Haha yeah, those that know me knew I wasn't. I quickly but violently dumped the fish onto the plate and broke it's entire head and mouth. Pieces of fish broke off, the skin was torn and I was sad. I tried to reassemble as best I could, but I made things worse.
Bah, it would be covered with aromatics anyway. The only other problem I ran into was heating up the oil to pour over the fish. It didn't get hot enough and I guess I had accidentally splashed some water from the gai lan pot into it. That made the oil spatter all over the kitchen. Next time I'll be more careful though.
I felt like such a n00b in the kitchen, but I can tell you one thing. The fish was delicately flakey, sweet and goooood. I loved the sauce albeit it was a kinda oily. We had to scoop some of the oil out, but that didn't stop the fish from being gellatinously delicious. I nabbed the tail and sucked all the meat off of it. The flavoring agents did their job well and infused the fish with good spicy, oniony, gingery goodness. The seafood soy sauce also did its job more so than regular soy sauce would've. I highly recommend you pick up a bottle of this if you're gonna make this recipe.
So that's it! Enjoy the pictures everyone!


SteamyKitchen said...

YUM! Good job!! Looks absolutely perfect.

tigerfish said...

Yey, good job, lady! Have not tried steaming whole fish(as in, with bones) yet!

The Cooking Ninja said...

It looks great. Couldn't tell that your fish was all broken up if you hadn't told us about it ;) I love steam fish.