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.

Stir-fried Curly Kale

For a while now, I have been following the exploits of Vegboxboy and his efforts to rid himself of make wonderful meals of all the vegetables he gets in his vegetable box delivery. Now try as I might, I’ve never loved veg, and I get what I have to get in the supermarket at the weekend but for a little while now I’ve been tempted to buy my own box (on a strictly trial one off basis) and seee what I got. So from the lovely people at Bristol’s Better Food Company, I bought a box. For £12 I got: A big bag of kale, a yellow pepper, some carrots and potatoes, two beetroot, some satsumas, russet apples, a couple of chillis, a lettuce, some broccoli and some onions. And a bunch of bananas. The veg that I buy on an everyday basis doesn’t usually have to be organic, so I found this to be more expensive than my actual grocery shop for vegetables. So, thats pretty standard veg shop for us I guess in terms of variety. But until last night, I was a kale virgin. I had a quick scan around the net for ideas and I sort of came up with this. Very delicious it was too.. but I didn’t know the stalks would be so hard, so I would cut them out next time.

kale

  • bag of kale (don’t know what weight, just filled my wok), chopped up
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and then chopped into sort of pasta quill length
  • 1 red chilli, sliced horizontally
  • 2 cloves of garlic , roughly chopped
  • 3 tspb soy sauce
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tbsp ground nut oil

Heat your wok until it is smoking and then add your oil, and then your water. Add the kale straight away and stirfry until starting to wilt in the pan slightly, add the spring onions and continue to fry for a minute or so and then add your chilli and garlic. Stirfry until the chilli and garlic are cooked through and then add they soy souce. Cook until the kale is fully wilted. I had mine with sweet and sour spare ribs – I think it would go really nicely with any plain grilled protein too.

For more cheap and tasty ideas, vist Cheapskate.com, where there are more hints, tips and resources to help you save money.

Aromatic Fried Chicken

This isn’t fried chicken like your standard unlucky-fried-kitten. Theres no batter, for one, and its not deep fried. In fact, I finished it off in the oven because despite following the recipe, my chicken wasn’t cooked through after the time given. Still, apart from that little hiccup it was easy. And it tasted divine. I thought given the ingredients it might be a bit spicy, but it was very mellow. From my point of view anyway. Serves 2/3. I cooked mine for two and had enough for leftovers – its perfect picnic or packed lunch food, or indeed for breakfast (shhhh). This vietnamese dish was adapted from Ken Hom’s Hot Wok. Which is a book I intend to cook from far more often. This has got a fair bit of salt in it, so if you’re watching your salt levels, cut it down a bit.

aromatic fried chicken

  • Mixed pack of free range chicken drumstick and thigh portions
  • 3 tbsp ground nut oil

for the marinade:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garic cloves, crushed
  • 75ml thai fish sauce
  • 75ml white rice wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 2 red or green chillis,  seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • flour for dusting

Stick all the marinade ingredients except the flour into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and put in the chicken portions, rubbing the marinade in well. Leave the chicken to sit in its little spicy bath for at least an hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to gas 7. Drain the chicken of any excess marinade and toss in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a wok or a frying pan over a high heat., and when hot, pour in the oil. Keep heating until the oil is slightly smoking and then turn down to low. Put the chicken in skin side down  and slowly brown over a medium low heat for 10 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for ten minutes. If the joints are not done yet, like mine, finish in a hot oven for another 10-15 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately with some rice.