Friday, September 17, 2010

Simply Steamed Barramundi

I love fish. The kids love fish too, especially the kind that is deep fried in crispy beer batter and served with a mountain of chicken-salt-laden potato chips. Fortunately, I don't have to recreate that at home in order to give them their weekly supply of brain food. They also love to eat their rice, and when served with a steamed flaky white fish like barramundi, they gobble it down so quickly and ravenously that it brings me close to tears (of joy) instead of tearing my hair out trying to feed them.

There is nothing complicated or extraordinary about this dish, but I thought I would just share it here. I was inspired to make it after watching what looked like a low budget production of Kylie Kwong's Simply Magic, with the bad lighting and awkward camera angles. That aside, this is a really simple dish that can be ready in less than 10 minutes. All I had to do was steam the fillets with Shaoxing wine and some shredded ginger for 5 minutes. Then pour some light soy sauce and sprinkle some sugar over the top, garnish with spring onions, pour hot peanut oil over the fish and hear it ssssizzle....and it's ready! I might consider cooking this every week since the kids love it so much!
Steamed Fish Fillets
Adapted from Kylie Kwong: Simply Magic
400g firm white-fleshed fish fillets like barramundi or snapper
1-2 tbsp water
2 tbsp shao hsing wine
2 tbsp julienned ginger
½ tsp white sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp sesame oil
½ cup julienned spring onions/scallions
1½ tbsp peanut oil (or substitute with vegetable oil)
White pepper
  1. Place fish in a shallow heatproof dish that will fit inside a steamer basket or in a wok over boiling water. 
  2. Pour water and wine over fish, then sprinkle with the ginger.
  3. Place bowl inside steamer and position over a deep saucepan or wok of boiling water and steam, covered, for 7-9 minutes, until fish is just cooked through. The flesh should be white; if it is still translucent, cook for another minute or so.
  4. In the meantime, heat peanut oil in a small pan until hot.
  5. Remove the dish from the steamer. Sprinkle the sugar and pepper over the fish and drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil.  Garnish with the spring onions.
  6. Carefully pour the hot peanut oil over fish and listen to it sizzle! Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice. 
Note: If you don't have a steamer, alternatively, you could bake them in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes or until just cooked.