In the weekly family meals that I made over the years, I would always include fish at least 3 times a week. I used the simplest method to cook it, trying hard to retain the unspoiled freshness and flavour of the fish.
I have admitted before that, other than helping out with washing the dishes after dinner, I never like spending time in the kitchen when I was at home.
But whenever my mum was feeling unwell or taking ill, I was happy to carry the basket and go to the wet market near our house, spending a long time buying and then cooking dinner for my family. And each meal would definitely has a fish amongst other dishes.
My parents wanted to encourage and praise my efforts, so they would always tell me the meal was cooked deliciously; it always made me feel happy and proud.
One day, my aunt was coming over for dinner. For a change, I offered to do the steamed fish. When it was cooked, my mum quickly took it out from the steamer and carefully poured the water away from the plate! I was so shocked! I cried out loud," Mum, what are you doing? The fish won't taste as good now that you got rid of the sauce!" My mum just carried on, putting some oil in the pan. She smiled and said to me," The water produced during the steaming time with the fish always taste fishy, if it's mixed with the hot oil and soy sauce that's poured over the spring onions, not only will it spoil the flavour, it will make the colour of the sauce murky too."
I felt quite embarrassed during the meal that day. Knowing all along my parents didn't correct me because they loved me and didn't want to hurt my feelings.
When I became a parent, I was determined my children should not be making similar mistakes. Very often, I would pass on to them my wisdom and experiences in life. But young people have their own minds to make. Rightly or wrongly, they needed to go through it and learned it themselves.
雖然我喜歡只用薑葱簡單蒸出鮮美的魚。但老公是客家人，自小他便吃慣蒸熟的魚上鋪滿了各種不同的材料；如蒜頭豆豉、鹹檸檬、金針雲耳、木耳紅棗、冬菇瘦肉、各式的鹹菜如冬菜、沖菜、大頭菜 ... 等等。
Although I prefer steaming fish with just ginger and spring onions, my husband is used to recipes from his own village. There, they always put a lot of other ingredients on top to steam the fish together with like garlic and black beans, salted lemon, black fungus and red dates, shiitake mushrooms and pork, and all different types of salted vegetables etc.
That's why he has always asked me if I could cook the fish this way or that. One must practice as one preaches; as I always encourage my children to be open minded, so I must lead by example.
- 魚 2 條，每條約 1 lb 重 ( 我用的這两條是鱸魚，但可用任何魚 )
- 冬菇 6 隻洗淨用 10 oz 熱水浸 30 分鐘至軟切幼絲
- 薑絲 2 湯匙
- 小紅辣椒 1 隻去籽切絲
- 葱 2 條切絲，葱白與葱綠分開
- 蒜頭 1 粒剁蓉
- 蠔油 2 湯匙
- 生抽 1 湯匙
- 糖 1 茶匙
- 麻油 1 茶匙
- 生粉少許開水作勾芡 ( 埋獻) 用
- 魚去鱗劏洗乾淨，放菜板上用利刀每邊輕劃 3 刀，但不要割到近骨。把魚放在碟上。
- 蒸籠內注水，水滾後把魚放進，大火蒸 10 - 12 分鐘或至熟。用筷子挑起魚肉時能與脊骨分離便行。
- 蒸魚期間，把蠔油 ，生抽，麻油，白胡椒粉，糖和浸冬菇水同放大碗內拌勻成汁料備用。燒紅鍋下油 1 湯匙，轉中火下薑絲、葱白絲、蒜蓉、冬菇絲和一半的紅椒絲爆至香軟；加進汁料煮滾，然後轉小火再煮 2-3 分鐘，下鹽調味。
- 魚蒸好後，小心把碟中水份傾去 ( 或小心把魚盛進另一乾淨的熱碟上)。將煮滾了的燴汁勾薄芡 ( 埋薄獻) 後淋在魚上，灑下葱綠絲、和餘下的椒絲或莞茜上桌。
Steamed Fish in Braised Shiitake Mushrooms Sauce
- 2 fish about 1lb each ( I used sea bass here, but you can use any fish )
- 6 shiitake mushrooms, washed thoroughly then soaked in hot water for 30 minutes then julienned
- 2 tbsp julienned ginger
- 1 red chilli, seeded and julienned
- 2 spring onions, julienned and the white and green part separated
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp fine white pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp potato starch, mix with a little water for thickening the sauce
- salt to season
- Coriander to decorate
- Scale, clean and wash the fish and lay them flat on a cutting board. Make 3 diagonal slices on each side, making sure not to cut right through to the bone. Place the fish on a plate.
- Fill the base of the steamer with water and bring to the boil, put the plate of fish in and steam for 10-12 minutes or until the fish are cooked, when you can separate the flesh from the bone with a pair of chopsticks, they are ready.
- Meanwhile, in a big bowl, mix well together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, the water from soaking the mushrooms in and sugar as the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan, add the ginger, the white part of spring onions, garlic, mushrooms and half of the chilli to fry till soft; add the sauce and bring to the boil, then simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes, season with salt.
- Pour away the water from the cooked fish or transfer the fish to a hot and clean plate. Heat up the sauce and add a little potato flour to thicken. Pour the sauce over the fish, scatter with the chilli and spring onions, garnish with coriander and serve.
This braised sauce, with the hint of ginger, garlic, chilli, mushroom and oyster sauce; what it lacks of a sophisticated appearance, it makes up for by offering a lingering aroma of a family meal in the air.