Monday, 25 April 2011

Chinese Steamed Sea Bass and Egg-Fried Rice

After a long but quite fun drive up to Edinburgh, we had a cup of tea, a stroll and then made this light and delicious meal for four - my sisters had yet to arrive. Originally there was an official recipe in an official book, but  that has disappeared into the mists of time, and now this is an improvisational recipe doable with whatever springs to hand. I've done this with red mullet, flavoured with spring onions, shavings of root ginger and coriander stems. Tonight we go for something a little deeper-flavoured, as the weather up here is about 15 C cooler than the Southern heatwave!

For the fish:
  • 4 fresh sea bass or bream
  • a few tbsp of fermented black beans
  • 3 balls of stem ginger in syrup
For the rice:
  • 300g white (basmati) rice
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • a cup of frozen peas
  • soy sauce
For the vegetables:
  • any good stir-friable vegetables, like baby sweetcorn, sugarsnap peas, red or yellow peppers, chinese leaf, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, mushrooms, etc
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 50 ml cold water
  • 2 tbsp cornflour

Gut, scale and clean the fish, and slash two or three times across the fattest part of the meat. Finely dice the ginger and stuff the fish with it and the black beans. Wrap in foil and bake at 180C for 30 minutes, or put in a steamer and steam for 20 minutes.

If you like, clean the rice with a few rinses of cold water -- I don't, but my dad does! Simmer in twice as much water until cooked through, and drain if necessary. Leave aside to cool a little. Heat a deep frying pan with peanut or refined sesame oil, and once shimmering, add the rice and toss about to fry. Roughly chop the spring onions, move the rice aside and add them to the pan, with a little more oil if necessary. Once they are cooked, move them aside and pour in the eggs, again with a little more oil if needed. Allow to cook through on the bottom, then flip over and fry the other side. When it is nearly cooked through, break it up with a spatula. Add the cup of peas and combine all the ingredients together. Splash over a little soy sauce and serve immediately.

For the vegetables, stir fry them in order of decreasing cooking time, cooking things like carrots and peppers at the beginning, and soft things like beanspouts and greens just at the end. Each time, add your vegetable selection, toss about at a high heat, then add a few tbsp of chicken stock and cover to steam-cook. Mix the cornflour into the cold water, and when you run out of stock and vegetables, add this, bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce to a light sauce. Taste and season with fish and soy sauce if needed.

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