Edgie’s Chinese Steamed Sea Bass

This is a recipe from my friend, Edge. I’ll leave you to enjoy it, but I feel there are a few references I should explain. BBC in this context, does not mean our favourite broadcaster but rather British Born Chinese. Gweilo means, well, white person. And, as the owner of this blog, I cannot definitively promise that eating sea bass will bring you luck at the poker table, but since that’s where I met him, and he has stacked me often enough, I’ll go along with it. Enjoy.

Steamed fish is a simple, popular, Chinese dish. For the BBC in me, it brings back memories of returning home on a cold evening, to be greeted by the smell fresh fish steaming in a rice cooker. Eating fish this way is very traditional, and known to bring luck to all who consume it, especially if they are of Chinese descent. In this modern age, it is particularly good for Poker players, though modern geeks also like to use statistics and software, as described at Poker Software and Analysis.

Unfortunately, this delight is rarely sampled by the Gweilo, as it is not readily available from takeaways and is expensive in restaurants. However, it can be easily cooked at home with non oily fishes such as trout, lemon sole or sea bass.

  • Fresh whole Sea Bass, Rainbow Trout or Lemon Sole
  • Spring Onion (a small bunch)
  • Ginger (2″ chunk)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Salt

Buy a fresh fish from your local fishmonger. Choose a fish with bright eyes and shiny skin. If it does not meet this criteria then it is not fresh, so don’t buy it.  Ask your fish monger to clean, gut and descale the fish. Be careful of young girls in supermarkets doing this, as they have been known to destroy rather than gut fish efficiently.

Back home, use a knife to gently remove remaining scales. Check the cavity for any remaining blood and guts, removing them by hand under a slow running cold tap. Also remove any loose bones.  Pat the fish dry, and rub a generous amount of salt into the skin and exposed flesh within the cavity.

Cut the ginger into matchstick sizes strips. Cut the spring onion into inch long sections.

Take half of the ginger and spring onion. Put half of it into your cooking implement of choice (e.g. steaming basket, or metallic dish). Place the fish onto this (you may need to cut it in half if the fish is too long). Stuff the fish with a third of the ginger and spring onion. Cover the fish with the rest.

Steam the fish for 12 minute. You can do it in a covered wok, rice cooker, or one of those steaming baskets that you place on top of saucepans. Any steaming device will do. When the fish is cooked, remove it from the steamer and place it on a dish.

Heat a wok up to a very high temperature. Pour some sunflower oil into the wok and let it heat. Then add the remaining ginger and spring onion, tossing it around quickly for about a minute. Then add a generous sprinkling of soy sauce. Remove the heat, and pour this garnish onto the fish. Serve with plain white rice and stir fried vegetables. Make sure you say grace and pray to the Poker gods beforehand.

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Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder in Thyme, Ginger and Garlic Marinade

I think plain roasted meat is all very well, but at this time of year when memories of overeating rich festive meals are not a totally dim and distant memory, I think it pays to flavour up your meals a touch, and ring the changes. I also know I’m going to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, so I want something that is going to taste good in a salad. When I found myself chopping the garlic and thyme, I just wanted another dimension, so I decided to add fresh ginger. Do ginger and thyme get on? They get on like a house on fire!

For the marinade:
Juice of one lemon
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Tsp thyme leaves
Glop of Olive Oil
1 square inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Either, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothish. OR, put all the dry ingredients into a pestle and mortar until you have a sort of paste and then mix in the lemon juice and olive oil.

Preheat the oven, gas 2 or so, and take your lamb shoulder. Stab it several times all over and then pour over your marinade, massaging in all over with your hands. Leave to sit in a non metallic dish for a while. Put the lamb in a large casserole or roasting tin big enough to hold it. If you don’t have a lid that fits, covering completely with foil is ok. Depending on the size of your shoulder, you will want to cook it slowly for between 2 and 4 hours. About halfway through your estimated cooking time, uncover, and baste with the juices and cook for the remainder of the time without a lid. When its cooked, by which I mean by falling off the bone, leave it covered in a warm place for 20 – 30 mins. I’m having mine with quinoa, grilled halloumi and sautéed courgettes, but roasties, broccoli and a gravy made from the juices would be just as perfect. Apologies for the blurry pics, steamy kitchen and camera still not fixed!

Oven-fried Spicy Chicken

This is one of my favourite dishes evah, inspired from Anjum Anand’s brilliant Indian Cooking Made Easy. It’s probably not for you if you’re on a strict, reduced fat diet, but served with a light salad this is probably not too much of a biggie.Drain off any excess oil on kitchen towel before serving. In any case its healthier than KFC in terms of nutrition and karma…

ovenfriedspicychicken

You can do the marinating up to 24 hours in advance, if you want to, and do the crumbing anything from 2 hours to 5 minutes in advance of cooking, which makes it very flexible. You might think from the marinade ingredients this is very hot, I promise its not. Serves 2-3. Three of ate this with salad but found we would have welcomed another piece of chicken each. We are fairly greedy people though!

For the marinade:

  • 4 chillies, red, green or mix, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • thumbsized lump of ginger, roughly chopped
  • heap teaspoon garam masala
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper (don’t be shy with this)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Chicken:

  • 6-8 free range chicken pieces, skin removed
  • breadcrumbs made with 6 slices stale white bread, mixed with a teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground black pepper and a sprinkle of salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Firstly, make your marinade. Either with a handblender (easy) put in your marinade ingredients and whiz to a paste or (a bit more elbow grease required) put the dry ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind down, and then add your liquid and mix to a paste. With a fork or small sharp knife puncture holes into your chicken pieces all over and then massage in the paste. Cover and keep in a cool place until about an hour before you’re ready to bread it.

Preheat your oven to Gas 6. Place your beaten eggs on one large deep plate, and on another, put your spicy breadcrumbs. Submerge a chicken piece in the beaten egg until covered and then dip the eggy chicken into the breadcrumbs and turn and coat, turn and coat a few times until the chicken is lightly covered in breadcrumbs. Repeat for each piece of chicken. Pour around 4 tablespoons of groundnut oil in a large roasting tin and put in the hot oven for five or ten minutes. When the oil is nice and hot, slightly smoking, put in your chicken pieces . There should be a satisfying sizzle. Put the chicken in the oven for half an hour- 40 minutes until the chicken pulls away from the bone easily, but turn the chicken halfway through, so it has a chance to brown and crispen on each side. When cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes whilst you make your salad and serve with lemon wedges. Scoff.