Steamed fish delicacies are common in Asia, specially in China. There are in fact multiple variants of the same dish cooked across different locations. Sometimes, the derived ones are better than the authentic ones! Cooking steaming fish is usually quick but can be proven to be delicate as fish is usually softer and it breaks easily. Also, some of the steamed fish recipes are cooked with fish fillets but some are cooked with whole fish. Personally, I feel more inclined towards whole fish recipes, probably due to their gorgeous looks that has enough potential to start a new converstation.
Steamed whole fish is cooked in both Cantonese style as well as Sichuan style. Cantonese style is usually lighter with mild flavor. But Sichuan style is comparatively more spicy. Where millions of steamed fish recipes are floating over internet and restaurants, I wanted to cook something different as usual – something probably never been cooked before! I don’t know whether this recipe is really that unique, but it is a common one with a very unusual twist in it. Plan for it to have a great lunch on weekend! This is not a busy day recipe.
Prepare the Fish
Take a whole barramundi or sea bass or snapper of approximately 450 gm and clean it. Clean the belly and remove all the unnecessary parts. Keep aside to dry well.
Prepare the Sauce
Take a bowl and add 3 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp of Shaoxing wine, 1.5 tbsp of chilli bean paste, 3 tbsp of finely chopped garlic cloves, 2 tbsp of thinly grated ginger and 1 tsp of sesame oil. Whisk to mix all well and keep aside.
Marinate the Fish
Take an oval or rectangular plate and place the fish on it. Then pour the whisked sauce over the whole fish to cover every part of it, only one side. Use your hand to coat the whole fish with the sauce. Keep it aside for 15 minutes. Then turn over the fish and coat the other side also with the sauce. Keep aside for another 15 minutes.
Steam the Fish
Place the plate with the marinated fish on it inside the steamer. Steam it for around 10 minutes. The fish would be cooked easily and quickly. Once cooked, remove the plate from the steamer and keep aside.
Prepare the Dressing
Heat up 2 tbsp of refined oil in a wok. Add a bunch of spring onion (white part) cut into around 3 inches long each piece. Then add half of a big sized red bell pepper cut into thin long juliennes followed by a handful of coriander leaves and seasoning. Stir fry for couple of minutes and remove from heat.
Prepare the Serving
Take a fresh serving plate preferably rectangular or oval with length enough to accommodate the whole fish. Place the fish on this plate. Pour all the steamed residuals (i.e. ginger, garlic, sauce etc.) all over the fish from the previous plate. Depending on the size, shape and overall presentability, the plate used in steaming can be used to serve as well. In tgat case, transfer from.one plate to another would not be required. Now take 2 tbsp of honey and pour over the fish in continuous and zigzag fashion. Then take the stir fried vegetables from the wok and decorate the fish putting those all over it. Also pour the residual oil over the fish.
Garnish & Serve
Garnish with more fresh spring onion (same cut as mentioned above) and coriander leaves. Serve hot immediately with steamed rice or any mild flavored fried rice. Star Fried Rice with a very mild but distinguished flavor would go great as a side with this dish.