Archive for Fish Project

Hot smoked salmon with chai tea

Thanks to some encouragement from Marcus at I hot smoked salmon with darjeeling tea and spices.

The equipment: A wok, 10″ bamboo steamer with lid, parchment paper, tin foil
1. dehydrated the salmon in a coating of salt and dark brown sugar for 8 hours in the fridge.
2. washed the salmon and prepped the wok for smoking; added tin foil to wok, then wild rice, darjeeling tea leaves, demerara sugar, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, star anise, clove, fenugreek (smells like maple syrup)
-placed bamboo steamer on top with two salmon fillets (skin side down) on parchment paper on the steamer floor
3. Smoked the fish: added the lid and let heat on high for several minutes until I saw smoke escaping from the basket. I turned down heat to low and let smoke for 10 minutes. Then I turned off heat and let smoke for 10 minutes.

The final product was salty first, then hints of molasses, spices and tea followed. The texture was surprisingly moist and tender AND flaky. Because of the saltiness, I’ll have to use it in a dish that highlights its flavor while toning down the salt. Worth the experiment and more trials to come. Thanks Marcus!

Kosher salt and dark brown sugar cure

Clockwise: star anise, cardamom, clove, cinnamon

Rice, sugar, tea, spice smoke mix

Pre-smoke prep

Post smoke fish. Tasty!

Smoked salmon with olives on spanish tortilla with lemon juice! Yummy.


Official member of the fish steaming club

For a whole fish, forget roasting or whatever you were going to do with it, steam it! I used a wok and bamboo baskets but steel steamers should work as well. The fish on the bone is intensely flavorful, flaky tender and moist. And just like chicken, you can make stock out of the head and bones! I dropped the fish bones, carrots, celery, onion, and fennel in butter/oil, then white wine, then water pressure cooker for 30 minutes. I may make a soup, sauce, paella…TBD.

AND, I tried one of the eye balls, yes, I did. I actually liked it…kinda weird, but I liked the rich fluid… I also scooped out the fish cheeks and enjoyed that little morsel as well. A whole steamed fish is an adventure I fully recommend for all food lovers.

My seasonings:
-green onions
-spice-infused soy sauce
-sesame oil
I cut off the tail and fins, made slits in the sides and stuffed seasoning in them and all over. I made a little foil basket to collect the juices and let it steam for 12 minutes. SIMPLE. and delicious.

hi yellow-eye snapper

Happy fish post steaming

Is this persuasive enough? Go buy a whole fish!

First fish purchase at the wet market!

I did it. I pointed to a whole live fish at the wet market and they filleted it up for me on the spot. It was black and the fish mongerette mentioned the name in chinese…no idea what kind it actually was. No matter, I was the proud owner of two fresh fish fillets. During the butchering process, the woman held up the head and backbone of the fish and gestured, ‘would you like this as well?’ I nodded ‘no, thank you’ and immediately felt the disdain in her look (or perhaps judged myself) on the wastefulness of leaving the bones behind. A fish stock would be only 30-45 minutes away…but, alas, for next time.

Now for steaming. I hadn’t thought much of steaming anything in my dishes, let alone meats. But I have noticed here that ovens are rare and the main cooking techniques are by wok or steaming. By the good reason that steaming would keep fish more moist, I decided that my fresh fish would have to go this route. I bought a bamboo steamer to place in the wok for 1USD. I seasoned the fish with garlic, dill, lemon, olive oil and salt/pepper. After 10 minutes of steaming, which may have been too long for fillets versus a whole fish, I had delicious meat morsels! I am a steaming of fish convert.

Tender and flaky.

First nibble of Hong Kong fish: Argyrosomus japonicus

I picked up two fish steaks from the local grocery store. The fish monger suggested the Japanese Meagre and I said ‘sure’. Despite having just read a fish mongering apprentice book, I still am a novice around seafood. When I got home, apparently the Japanese Meagre is not part of any fish family mentioned in the book. Instead, it is part of the drum fish family and not surprisingly, it is fished off the coasts of Asia. According to some official looking websites, i.e. wikipedia, they’re called drum fish because of the sound they make when trying to pick up hot female fish.

Of the few recipe boards I could find on drum fish, they suggested it may taste like veal and also is good with bbq sauce. From this lead, I decided to marinate the fish in hoisen sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic. After frying the steaks, I added more hoisen bbq sauce to the top and found it delicious!

Japanese Meagre

Simple shrimp with lots of butter

I would have a picture for you…but, we ate the shrimp too quickly. Shrimp and butter are made for each other. Upon the recommendation of a Whole Foods fish guy, I covered the raw shrimp (leave shell on for cooking) in melted butter rather than olive oil before grilling. Best part of the dish, the dipping sauce: microwave unsalted butter, crushed garlic and salt for 45 seconds. Then add the juice of 1 lime to the melted butter and stir. So easy and SO good.