Whenever I make this fish, everybody likes it. I made this fish once or twice for Al the Pal before and then heard him said to his pals “have you tried the Aiwee’s fish?”…
Some say it’s a “hokkien” dish but I like to call it the Aiwee’s fish.
We have this dish since young, from my grandmother to my mother. Because I like it so much, I needed to know how to cook it for myself having to leave the comfort of my mother’s cooking at 18.
The Maastricht market opens every Wednesday and Friday, there are stalls selling clothes, textile, cheese, snacks, plants, flowers, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. It’s a bit like our “pasar malam”. Often tourists come to see the market, as their guide book recommends so. I have seen some Chinese tourists here frantically taking photos of the cheese stall.
I go to the market every week, I need fish. Being not the early bird, I keep missing the other fish stalls and had to buy from this fish monger whom Willem does not like. Some times, I also buy some vegetables and fruits from the other stalls fighting my conscience of not giving the day’s business to my favourite Turkish groenteman (vegetable-man, groenteman is my current 2nd favourite Dutch word, Alsjeblief is No.1) at the supermarket. I have got to write about the Turkish man and his wife and their delicious food one day.
The ingredients for this dish if I were to put it in Dutch would be “dat kun je op je vingers natellen” it means it’s so easy you can count with your fingers.
- Fish – whole or steak or fillet, up to you. Personally I like red snapper with this dish. If you live in Asia, you are lucky because your fishmonger probably would have removed the scales on the fish, gutted the fish for you or even fillet them. If they don’t and you need to know how to gut your fish, google it, not too difficult)
- Ginger – cut finely, in strips or cubes but as fine as possible
- Cooking oil
- Salt – To rub on the fish before frying
- Flour – coat the fish with thin layer of flour after the salt.
- Light soy sauce
Clean the fish, dry it with kitchen paper, rub some salt all over the fish and coat it with a thin layer of flour. Heat the frying pan/wok, the pan/wok should be big enough to fit the fish and the oil should be covering atleast half the side of the fish. Ideally you want to deep fry it.
Make sure the oil is very hot before putting in the fish. To check, when oil is really hot, you see smokes, you can also place your hand above the oil and feel the intense heat. If you put your fish in half heated oil, you will find the fish sticking to the pan/wok and makes it difficult to flip when you need to.
Depending on the size of your fish, give a good 3-5 minutes before turning to fry the other side. Your fish should look golden brown on both sides. Take the fish out, leave it on the serving plate.
Remove the frying oil, leave just a small amount to fry the ginger. I find frying ginger takes a little time to get the fragrance out, so be patient. Keep stirring the ginger and you will slowly see them getting brown, don’t worry if you over fried them. Reduce the heat, pour in some light soy sauce and then quickly follow by some water (to dilute the saltiness, usually the soys sauce and water portion is 60-40). Add half a teaspoon of sugar into the sauce before taking it out of the pan. Taste the sauce before serving. You don’t want it too salty or too bland, you can always add bit of water or more soy sauce to adjust the taste.
Pour the sauce over the fish – wala, you got yourself a tasty fish!
*Photos credit from Har Wijnen 🙂