Fish Recipe: Steamed Spiced
Steaming has long been a favourite Chinese method for cooking whole fish. In this dish, the Middle East meets the Far East, combining the cooking technique of the latter with the traditional spices of the former.
- 3 lb (1 x 1.5 kg) whole bass, bream or grey mullet, cleaned
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
- 2 inch (5 cm) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
- Spring onion curls, to garnish
- Rinse the fish in cold water, then rub all over with the salt and lots of black pepper. Leave to stand, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture and firm up the flesh.
- Put the grill rack into a roasting pan, and pour in 2.5 cm/1 inch boiling water. Set over a low heat so the liquid is gently simmering.
- Transfer the fish to a heatproof serving plate, discarding any liquid which may have collected around it. Sprinkle on the cumin seeds and ginger, then put the plate on to the rack. Cover the whole roasting pan with foil, pressing it around the edges to form as close a seal as possible, then cook for 15—20 minutes until the fish flakes easily. Test it with the point of a sharp knife near the gills so as not to spoil the appearance of the fish. Take off the heat, remove the foil, and sprinkle over the lemon juice.
- Quickly heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the garlic and coriander seeds and stir-fry over a high heat for about 1 minute, until the aroma of the spices is quite powerful. Pour the sizzling oil over the fish and serve at once, garnished with spring onion curls. #Variations# Whole sole, plaice or mackerel may also be cooked in the same way. The flat fish will need a much shorter cooking time – about 6—8 minutes; mackerel will probably take a bit longer, but not more than 15 minutes unless they are very thick. Allow 1 fish for 1—2 people, depending on the size of the fish.