Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with Ginger & Scallions
It’s been awhile! Senior year is starting without any downtime and I’m hitting the ground running, only now two weeks into the fall semester. It’s exciting just as it is a little sad that this is my last year on campus. I’ll miss the college days of hanging out with friends and doing things with a carefree air. But I am definitely looking forward to having my own, well-equiped kitchen after graduation! The kitchen I have this semester is rather inadequate which has contributed to the delay of updating the blog. I’ll try to be more frequent with entries but with the semester starting, it’s really up in the air how often I’ll have time to not only cook but write about cooking!
Despite the lack of updates though, I have been keeping up with the food blogging world with daily visits to the aggregate food blog sites! So much inspiration, creativity and ideas for recipes! I admit that one of the more difficult things about cooking as a college student on campus is the lack of ideas for recipes and meals. It’s great to log on and see who’s cooking what and get ideas that way.
I’m always on the lookout for some familiar recipes that I can reproduce away for home, which often means any Vietnamese recipe I happen to come across. Living in a college town, as I’ve lamented before, limits the ingredients and availability of more ethnic foods, so I try my best to make my own. When I saw this recipe from Wandering Chopsticks, I knew that I had try it out.
When my mother makes this recipe at home, she usually uses either a whole fish or a bone-in and skin-attached fillet, whereas I opted for a simple fillet of pure, white meat (I never really enjoyed the fish skin anyways). The delicate combination of soy sauce and fish sauce, salty and sweet, combined with the oniony flavor of the scallions and spicy ginger makes such a subtly complex steaming liquid that is light but packs a whole lot of flavor.
Once steamed to perfection, the flakiness of the fish, swathed in the delicate flavors of the broth, is a gentle game of salty, sweet, and spicy on your tongue. Not to mention the striking contrast of green scallions, red thai chili, and golden ginger resting on top of a moist filet of chilean sea bass, swimming in the dark and flavorful broth that is both striking to the eye, and more importantly, to your taste buds.
Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with Ginger & Scallions, adapted from Wandering Chopsticks
1/2 pound of any white fish (bass, cod, halibut, etc.) fillet
1 whole scallion
1-inch knob of ginger
1 red thai chili
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Line a steaming basket with foil, leaving room on the sides for steam to come up through the holes.
2. Thinly slice the scallion, ginger, and thai chili pepper, placing half on the bottom of the foil-lined steaming basket.
3. Clean then season the fish fillet with salt and pepper, place in steaming basket on top of half the scallions, ginger, and thai chili slices. Place the remaining slices on top of the fish fillet.
4. Drizzle fish fillet with soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Cover steaming basket with lid and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until fish is cooked through and no longer opaque. Enjoy with steamed Jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers.
When I saw this recipe on a blog, I knew I had to make it. It is one of my favorite ways to eat fish. The recipe is simple yet packs a whole bunch of robust flavors. The sauce is great for drizzling over white rice and for dipping cucumbers. When I made this, I just used the steaming basket that came with my rice cooker and made rice at the same time as steaming the fish. I used a half-pound of chilean sea bass fillet, the flakiness of the fish goes wonderfully with the delicate sauce. You can also toss in some shiitake mushrooms (dried or fresh) during steaming for a more earthy flavor to the broth!