This is the same steamed fish you always get to taste when attending wedding Chinese banquet dinner. Some called it Hong Kong Style, whilst others called this steamed in light soy sauce… There were even more names in Chinese menus.. Whatever name to be called as desired, I knew this would be so well liked by anyone, both the adults and children. :)
Why steamed fish for festival?
Sure thing, this is a festive dish. That must be the reason why this was seen so often in the Chinese festive occasions. Of course, you wouldn’t omit those auspicious garnishing and sides in the plate, too.. Let me explain.
Fish on the table, symbolizing an excess of wealth you are having (年年有余); Steaming, symbolizing your life and business are rising for good everyday (蒸蒸日上); Spring onion (garnishing), symbolizing intelligence (蔥(聰)明); Chinese lettuce, symbolizing the churning of wealth (生菜(財)), or to represent lively energy and environment (生气勃勃).. Remember to leave out the head and tail when eating fish during the Chinese festive in order to endorse the element of ‘excess’! :D
1 large white Pomfret fish (白鲳鱼)
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
Red Chili (optional)
(1) Clean pomfret and pat dry. Cut 2 slits on each side of the fish. Place ginger underneath Pomfret on a large steaming dish. Steam for 15 minutes.
(2) Discard ginger slices and excessive steamed water in the serving dish. Transfer steamed fish over to a large serving dish lined with Chinese lettuce leafs. Set aside.
(3) Heat oil in wok over low fire. Brown shallot. Heat off. Add sugar into light soy sauce in a bowl first. Then, drizzle over heated oil to create sizzling effect. Pour sizzling sauce including the browned shallot over steamed Pomfret immediately. Garnish and serve hot.
How to choose fresh Pomfret:
Pomfret for steaming must be fresh enough to avoid any smell of fishiness as well as keeping tenderness of the fish meat after steamed. Really fresh Pomfret doesn’t require any seasoning prior to steaming.
How to determine its freshness? First, check the eyes of the fish. Its eyes must be bright and clear, not cloudy. Then, make sure the fish body is firm smd not too soft when gently pressed. If possible, check also the gill to ensure it’s bright red in colour. As the opening of its gill is smaller than other fishes, so be gentle when lift opened. Some fish mongers might not even allow you to do so. Be nonchalant about it. :)
Tips: Be careful of the hot sizzle when pouring in soy sauce to the heated oil in wok. Don’t get scalded.