This post comes to us courtesy of cookbook author and television personality Ching He Huang.
Steamed Cantonese Wined Sea Bass
I choose dishes like steamed sea bass, where the mandarin word for fish, “yu” is also a homonym used in the popular Chinese greeting at New Year “Nian nian you yu” – which translates as every year wish you an abundance of everything! And the steamed sea bass is served whole at the table for everyone to share (most animal dishes are served whole as a symbol of unity and completeness).
1 whole sea bass, about 1 lb. (400g), head on, descaled and gutted
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2-inch (5cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 lb. (100g) roast ham, sliced (optional)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained, stems removed and caps sliced
4 Tbs. Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tbs. light soy sauce, plus more for serving
2 spring onions, sliced lengthwise into 3-inch (7.5cm) strips
Finely sliced fresh ginger (cut into matchsticks) for serving
Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a heatproof plate (make sure the plate and fish will fit inside a large bamboo steamer). Cut some slits into the skin on both sides of the fish and season with salt and white pepper. Stuff the ginger, ham and mushrooms into the slits and inside the fish. Season with the rice wine and the 1 Tbs. light soy sauce.
Place the plate with the fish inside the bamboo steamer and cover with the lid. Heat a wok over high heat, fill three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Place the steamer on top, making sure the water does not touch the base of the steamer, and steam until the fish is cooked and the flesh flakes when poked with a knife, 8 to 9 minutes.
Lay the spring onions on top of the fish, remove the steamer and keep the lid on until ready to serve. Serve with a small dipping bowl of light soy sauce and ginger matchsticks. Serves 4.
To find out more about Ching, her great tasting recipes and her books, visit www.chinghehuang.com.
To learn more about her US television shows, visit the Cooking Channel.
About the author: The face of Chinese cooking on British TV, Ching-He Huang’s dynamic approach to modern Chinese food led to a television presence in Great Britain before coming to America with her popular shows Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco on the Cooking Channel. Ching is also the author of four cookbooks, the bestselling Ching’s Chinese Food in Minutes, Chinese Food Made Easy and China Modern. Ching’s latest book, Ching’s Fast Food, is published by Harper Collins and is available on her website. http://www.chinghehuang.com