Fish is a must for Chinese New Year as the Chinese word for fish (鱼 Yú/yoo) sounds like the word for surplus/abundance (余). That is why during Chinese New Year, we will always wish each other “年年有余” (Niánnián yǒu yú /nyen-nyen yo yoo/) which means having abundance every year.
Families who are particular with culinary symbolism will purchase and cook two fish. One will be eaten on the eve and the other was saved for New Year’s Day. It is important not to finish the fish completely, and to have leftovers which signifies abundance.
If you are preparing Reunion dinner at home and are hard press for time or running out of ideas, why not try cooking this Cantonese Steamed Fish. It is one of the simplest dish to prepare and it taste like those served in a restaurant.
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Wok with cover
600g to 700g whole sea bass /garoupa or any fish of your liking
10g ginger (thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 clove garlic
Steamed Fish Soy Sauce Mixture:
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 tablespoon rock sugar (grinded into powder form) or to taste
15g ginger (julienned)
4 stalks spring onion (julienned)
1 red chilli (julienned)
Some cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)
- Clean the fish properly (Remove scales, guts, gills, etc.)
- Cut along the spine, from head to tail and loosen the fillet on each side of the fish. (The fishmonger has helped me with steps 1 & 2).
- Put two wooden chopsticks on the plate and place the fish on top.
- Put a clove of garlic into the mouth of the fish so that the mouth will remain opened after steaming.
- Put the sliced ginger on top of the fish.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine on top of the fish.
- Heat up a wok with enough water for steaming.
- As soon as water boils, place the fish inside the wok and cover wok tightly and steam it for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce mixture in a small bowl and set aside.
- As soon as the fish is done steaming, transfer it out from the wok.
- Discard the fish water and ginger slices.
- Put the julienned ginger on top of the steamed fish.
- Heat up a pan over high heat and add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil until it is hot.
- Pour the hot oil over the steamed fish.
- Put the pan back on the stove and add the soy sauce mixture and stir well.
- As soon as the sauce bubbles up and boils, pour the soy sauce mixture over the steamed fish.
- Top with the julienned spring onions, julienned chilli and chopped cilantro leaves and serve with white rice.
Happy cooking! 🙂