Friday, April 17, 2009

A Whole Fish + Microwave = ?

In terms of derring-do, there is probably not a more surprising presentation than fish prepared by dishwasher (the key is to wrap them up tightly in foil packets) which I have never tried myself.

However, yesterday, O and I attempted what not many others would attempt. Preparing Chinese-style steamed fish ... in a microwave. I knew this wasn't an impossibility. My own mother lives and dies by a salmon fillet recipe which steams the fish in the microwave too. Although, domestic salmon is famously fatty and it takes a lot of overcooking to ruin it compared to leaner fishes.

But, when we stopped by the market yesterday and saw the Arctic Char at a good price we rose to the challenge. I didn't know it was called Arctic Char until today when I found out that röding, or loosely translated to the "red one," was char. Arctic Char is somewhere between a salmon and a trout, but this recipe will work on any firm fleshed whole fish.

So, for the impatient and unwilling to do many dishes:

Ginger Soy Steamed Chinese Fish


1 whole fish scaled and cleaned
3- inches of ginger finely julienned
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 a red fresh chili pepper also finely julienned
4 stalks of green onions sliced in 3 inch segments
a glug of rice wine or sherry
salt and pepper to taste

plastic/saran wrap


4 T soy sauce
3 stalks of green onion
2 T sesame oil
3 t sugar
1/2 a red fresh chili pepper finely julienned
2 inches of ginger finely julienned

Make sure the fish is clean, pat it dry, salt and pepper the flesh inside and out. Cut three slashes on each side of the fish.

On a plate you can fit into the microwave, place half of the herbs on the bottom of the place, and half on the herbs inside.

Add a glug of rice wine or sherry or sake if you've got it, and cover with with saran wrap but poke a few holes in the plastic wrap.

Microwave from anywhere between 5-9 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. This is purely a trial by error process, so err on the side of caution because the fish will also steam itself ready in the last two minutes sitting on the counter.

For a 2 lb fish, we approximated 8 minutes on high in the microwave.

While the fish is steaming in the microwave, in a pan heat the soy sauce and sesame oil together with the sugar. When the mixture is hot add the ginger, scallions, and chili.

Pour sauce over the ready fish. There is another step you can do which is heat regular oil over the stove and then blister the top of the steam fished with the hot oil, but I haven't quite mastered it yet. I'll write in an update when I manage to buy another whole fish again.

We enjoyed this dish especially with some stir-fry broccoli and garlic and white rice. The broccoli recipe will have to wait for another entry!

When the whole fish is on the table, the presentation is actually amazingly elegant, and the colors of the green scallions and red chili are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the taste buds. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. yummy....that fish sounds delicious...i wanna try it...all you have to do is step outside for some of the ingredients....right away i'm gonna get the ingredients from and try it...thanks for sharing.