Oriental Steamed Fish

We went to the market to buy seafood a day before the big day. We bought prawns, crabs and lapu-lapu (grouper). I would have enjoyed taking photographs because of the wide variety of fresh foods but I would need both of my hands to carry everything else. So I decided not to bring my camera or cellphone. Maybe in the future, I will get my chance to showcase the abundant treasures the wet market has to offer.

As part of the Christmas feast, we added this dish. Everyone loves how I make it and I decided to share the recipe with you. It is simple and easy to do. The important tip can share with you is that the fish should be at its most freshest state. If you could get live ones, the dish would taste alot better. The meat would be tender and succulent. This is making me hungry for another bite... :)

The Ingredients:

800 grams - 1 kilo whole fish, cleaned, slit both sides with 2 diagonal slits, patted dry
1/4 teaspoon rock salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and sliced into disks
1/2 - 3/4 inch ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin strips
5-8 stalks of green onions, sliced to 2 inch strips
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup corn or canola oil
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2-3 tablespoon soy sauce

Cooking Procedure:

Place water in a steamer and bring to a boil. Insert ginger disks into the cavity and slits of the fish; let the ginger marinate into the fish to remove the "fishy" smell and taste. Lay the fish on top of the oiled steamer rack. The oiled layer helps the fish from sticking.

If there is no steamer available, take a large wide pan with a lid, add water and place a heat resistant bowl on the center with a heat resistant oiled platter on top. Make sure that when you place the fish, it will fit onto the platter and the pan can be covered well so that the steam would not escape. If the fish happens to be to large, you may slice it into too.

Once the water starts to boil, place the steam rack on top and allow the fish to cook for 25-30 minutes. To know if the fish is done, the juices should run clear and when pierced, the meat is flaky. Try not to overcook else the meat becomes dry.

Once the fish is done, transfer onto the serving dish. Remove the excess liquid from the serving dish; discard the ginger disks then sprinkle with salt and sugar. Heat the corn or canola oil. Arrange the remaining sliced ginger, onions and green onions on the fish. Pour over the soy sauce over the fish. When you see wisps of smoke, add the sesame oil then pour over the fish. This gives a shiny finished look and emits an aromatic scent as the oil cooks the ginger and onions. Just be careful that you do not splatter the oil onto your skin. Serve hot.

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