chinese new year: chinese steamed fish

I have always loved, loved, loved chinese steamed fish.  Whenever we would go out for family dinners, everyone would know that I would want to have steamed fish.  But I always thought that I would never be able to replicate the dish at home until my dad made a steamed rock cod for me after I got back from Uganda. Turns out the secret is… SEAFOOD SOY SAUCE.  I didn’t even know such a thing existed! I always knew the sauce that goes with steamed fish involved some sort of sweetened mix of soy sauce but I always figured I wouldn’t be able to get it to taste exactly the same as in restaurants.  But with this sauce, you can make steamed fish that does taste exactly as good as what you get in restaurants.  After I came back from Vancouver, I tried to figure out where I could buy seafood soy sauce, which is how I stumbled upon Ngo Hoa in Regina.  Anyway, ever since I made steamed fish for Rock, he has become completely obsessed and wants to eat it all the damn time.  While in Vancouver, we would use a whole live rock cod, head, tail and all, which would run you about $65, but we don’t have that option here.  Anyway, fish fillets can still make a solid (and much, much cheaper) substitute.

I don’t have ingredient amounts of any sort for this and I don’t think you really need any, just kinda use whatever.  But here is what I used for last night.

2 whole cod fillets (or whatever other firm-fleshed white fish you can get your hands on.  If you can get a whole live rock cod, I am very jealous.)  /  Amoy brand seafood soy sauce  /  canola oil  / 1 bunch green onions  / 1 large piece of ginger  /  1/2 bunch cilantro

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Peel and slice up about half the ginger into discs and slice the reminder into matchsticks.  Remove the white parts of the green onions and then chop the green onions into roughly 3 inch long pieces.  Rip off the lower stems from the cilantro.  Half-fill a large wok with water and bring to a boil.  Lay the fish in a ~ 9 inch pie plate and scatter on top the discs of ginger and about half the green onion.  Place the pie plate on a steaming rack over the hot water and cover.  How long to steam for totally depends on what kind of fish you end up using and the thickness and all that so just steam until the fish is cooked through.  I just kind of check it every now and again.  When the fish is cooked through, take off the heat and remove the ginger and green onions and discard.  Drain all the steaming liquid that’s in the pie plate.

Next, heat up some canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  I’m not really sure how much as it again depends on how much fish you are cooking and all that but I’d say for the 2 fillets I used maybe ~ 1/4 cup of oil.  To test if the oil is hot enough, I like to touch a chopstick to the bottom of the saucepan and if the oil bubbles up around it, it’s good and hot.  While the oil is heating, scatter the remainder of the ginger, the green onion, and the cilantro over the top of the fish.  Slowly pour the sizzling hot oil all over the aromatics.  Finally, pour over some of the seafood soy sauce (surprise, surprise, however much you like.  I probably used maybe ~1/2 to 3/4 cup or so) and voila!  Eat immediately.

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The ginger, garlic and cilantro aren’t really meant to be eaten but of course you can.  Rock eats it all up.  Also, spoon the sauce over rice to eat with the fish, it’s so good.  Rock says, this fish is ‘always the best hit.’  Even a couple friends who said they don’t like fish like this, so there you have it.

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