Xin Nian Kuai Le! – Happy Chinese New Year

Just starting off, I’m not Chinese… My mum lived in Hong Kong for 8 years during the ’80’s while she worked as a nanny. When I was 12 (god, 10 years ago!) My family visited Hong Kong. Being brought up in a western environment, it was an incredibly touching, cultural experience. We always get the most out of our travels so I felt lucky to have boarded the boats at Kowloon Bay, mastered chopsticks at the food courts darted here, there and everywhere, stood beyond the clouds (mostly smog, unfortunately) at Victoria Peak and payed respects to the Tian Tan Buddha with my nearest and dearest next to me. From this trip, I gained a full whole-hearted appreciation of Chinese culture.

My mum taught me a LOT of traditional and authentic Chinese cooking that she was taught by the house chef while she stayed in Hong Kong.

This Friday is Chinese New Year and with that I’m going to share with you my favourite Chinese recipe.

Chinese Steamed Seabass with Veggies and Jasmine Rice:

Whole Sea Bass
(You can use any white fish- Cod, Haddock and Sea bream work great too. Oh and this also works with pre-prepared fish so don’t worry about getting messy, gutting and descaling a whole fish, you can use slices… or alternatively find an asian mother to help… MUUUUUM!)
Spring Onions (Scallions)
Finely Sliced Ginger
Salt & Pepper
Canola Oil (Vegetable)

Steam some Chinese leafy greens such as bok choy, pak choi, choy sum, Chinese cabbage are perfect for this dish and it’s easy to find at least one type at any supermarket through-out the year. Tender-stem broccoli, sugar snap peas and green beans are also great options that are easy to find at any supermarket.
Just use the ones you like. 🙂

Finish it off / Side Dishes *wink* / Garnishes:
Jasmine White Rice
…more spring onions (the good looking green bits)
Sliced fresh chilli
Light Soy Sauce
Dark Soy Sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Sesame Oil
Coriander (Cilantro)

…What do I do with all this stuff?!

Prepare a steamer (I use a traditional bamboo steamer) with parchment over some boiling water in a wok. Make sure to only fill the base of the wok with water, so it doesn’t touch the food and be sure to keep topping it up with water as you cook (remember, the water will evaporate).

Use half of your sliced spring onions and sliced ginger to make a bed for the bottom side of your fish. Make small slices down the body of the fish on both sides, season with salt and pepper and lay the fish on to your little bed of root, leave some spring onions to garnish at the end and top the fish with the rest of the ginger and spring onions.

At this point, In a rice cooker or separate pot, cook your rice.
2 cups of boiling water to 1 cup of rice on a medium high heat, keep the lid on it,
don’t (you dare) stir it and just let it do its thing.

Leave the fish to steam for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid (careful, the steam will hurt you!) and surround the fish with your veggies, then re-cover, leaving to steam for another 5-10 minutes (until your veggies are lovely and tender).

I don’t necessarily time this as it’s all dependent on the size of the fish. You’ll know it’s cooked by cutting into it carefully and taking a look on the inside. Those slices you made in the skin earlier are handy now aren’t they. The flesh should flake and the colour towards the middle will be completely opaque white.

While it steams, you can prepare the sauce to garnish, in a small bowl, Add one (generous) tablespoon of light soy, two tablespoons of dark soy, a tablespoon of water, a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar. Give it a little stir and set to one side.

Carefully transfer the fish (and all the other bits you’ve steamed with it) to a serving dish, pour your sauce over the top and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil, sliced red chilli, spring onions and cilantro. Serve with your rice.

I hope you give this a shot because it’s absolutely delish!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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