The fish mongers here in Maastricht don’t scale and gut the fish for us. Therefore buying a whole fish means a little messy work at home scaling the fish with knife. When I was back in Malaysia, I went for some “useful tools” shopping. I brought with me 2 chops and a “fish scales remover”. The two chops costs a quarter of what they selling in the Asian supermarket and are better in quality. The fish scales remover is just something I don’t see here – a simple moulded plastic with some nails on it (see picture). It makes scaling the fish so much easier and faster!
I found cod fish selling for Euro13.50 per kilo which was very reasonable and they had removed the head and gutted the fish therefore I don’t pay for the parts I don’t need. So I bought whole fish (2.5kg) and have them cut into steak of about 1 inch thickness each piece.
Cod fish is so tasty. The meat structure is very firm and smooth. Asians love it and willing to pay quite some money for the dish. I was told they even sell steamed cod fish head for Euro15 per head. The cod fish heads are available at the fish market for Euro1 each head. I guess they will not look appealing on the European dining table. If you can stomach the look of the fish head on your dining table, you can save a lot of money getting the heads.
So, with wanting to eat healthier and with less oil, we steam fish more often than deep frying them. Steamed fish is one of the most quick and easy dish and yet so tasty dish. I have tried several different recipes of Chinese steamed fish and found this one my favourite.
- 2 pieces of cod fish about 330gram each
- Big piece of ginger – julienned (cut into long thin stripes)
- 2 stalks of scallions (or spring onions) – jullienned. Seriously I cannot tell the difference between scallions or spring onions apart from the appearance, anybody?
- 1 red chili – deseeded and cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shao Xing (chinese rice wine) – if you do not have shao xing, you can increase the amount of light soy and water. However, I personally like the taste of shao xing in the dish, it adds more depth to the sauce
- 3 drops of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon water
Get a plate with some depth (or a wide bowl), place half of the ginger and spring onions at the bottom. Put the two pieces of fish over the gingers and scallions (or spring onions) and place the rest of the ginger and scallions over the fish, top of the cut chilis.
Pour the light soy sauce, water, sesame oil and shao xing over the fish. Put the plate in your steamer with hot boiling water and leave it on high steam for 10 minutes. Remove from the steamer and you got your steamed cod fish!
In the picture above, we had some ginger fried separately to garnish the dish. It does not change the taste of the dish.
You may adjust the soy sauce, shao xing, sesame oil and water ratio as you like. Note that cod fish does produce more “juice” to the sauce after steaming.