Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

* Mohinga

Posted on July 5th, 2014 by Linda. Filed under Belachan, Boil, Burmese, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Fish, Seasoning, Street Foods.


This is Myanmar’s national dish!  Mostly eaten at breakfast, you can have it across the entire day.  There are stalls dotted all over Yangon serving mohinga!  A bowl of mohinga is the ultimate Burmese comfort food.  On our last night in Yangon, Hsiu-yi and I just had to venture out to the closet street stall next to our hotel to have our last bowl of mohinga and of course, Myanmar beer.

Burmese cuisine is truly a a confluence of the cuisines of India, Thai, Indochinese, Chinese and South East Asia.  Because it is mostly undiscovered to the rest of the world, one may say it has influences from all these countries, but perhaps, it may be the reversed!  Mohinga reminds me of Penang Assam Laksa, a bit Tom Yum like, a bit Sambar like.    Noodles in a spicy fish broth.

Mohinga

7 cups water
1 teaspoon ngapi
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into half lengthwise then lightly smashed
3 slices galangal
3 garlic cloves, whole, lightly smashed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 lbs catfish or tilapia, deboned

 

Spice Paste
6 dried chilies or 3 fresh red jalapeno
1 pieces lemongrass, finely sliced
2 rounds galangal
4 shallots
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 Tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon roasted ngapi

1/4 cup rice bran oil

1 cup banana stems, soaked, then drained
1 cup pearl onions
Fish sauce

2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
2 Tablespoons rice flour

2 lbs fresh rice noodles

Crispy shallots
3 soft boiled eggs, cut into wedges
Cilantro leaves
Preparing the fish
Bring water to boil. Then add ngapi, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, turmeric and salt and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fish, bring to boil, and remove from heat. Let stand a few minutes until fish is cooked through. Remove fish, and strain broth. When fish is cooled, flake it.

Preparing the spice paste
Grind together spice paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Preparing the soup base
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until just hot. Stir in spice paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the red oil separates from the spice paste about 8 to 10 minutes.   Add banana stems and pearl onions.   Lower the heat, slowly add fish stock and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for at 20-30 minutes. Add fish sauce to taste.

In the meantime, dry toast the chickpea flour and rice flour until golden. Add a little bit of water to the flour to make a slurry and add to the soup to thicken.

 

Preparing the eggs
Bring a steamer over a pot of water to boil. When the water boils, place fridge-cold eggs on the steamer and steam 7 minutes. Remove and immediately plunge into an ice bath. Peel eggs and cut eggs into wedges.


To make the crispy shallots:
Sliced shallots thinly. Heat oil with shallots in a small pot. Fry shallots till golden brown. When it starts to be golden, remove from heat as it turns black very quickly at this stage. Remove crispy shallots.   Reserve oil.

Assemble the noodles:
Blanch noodles, drain. Place noodles in a bowl, then ladle in a cup of soup with some banana stems and onions. Top with some flaked fish, crispy shallots, egg wedges and cilantro.   Drizzle a teaspoon of shallot oil over.

Serves: 6

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* Fish Otak-Otak

Posted on February 16th, 2014 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Fish, Grill, Kaffir lime leaves, Malaysian, Nyonya, Snack, Steam, Street Foods, Tumeric.


I got this recipe from my grandmother, whom I only recently found out is part Indonesian.   That’s the grandmother who made curry powder as a trade.  My grandfather’s mother, Ah Chor, used to wear sarong kebayas, and cooked great curries.  I don’t have ancestry proof for sure, but I can swear my family is probably part Nyonya.  My grandmother’s recipe was from the 1970’s and it was written in the economies of those days.  Instead of oz ad grams, it was 10 cents of this, 5 cents of that.

Chef’s tip: Daun Kadok (wild betelnut leaves) grows wild in Malaysia.  It is getting harder and harder to find them.  When we were growing up, we would stop the car mid traffic if we spotted a bunch of daun kadok and jump out of the car to pick them.  I guess that’s what you call “foraging”? It gives a minty, distinctively otak-otak flavor to the dish.

 

6 pieces banana leaves, spine removed, blanched, 5 X 8 inches, long edge along the grain
Sharp toothpicks or staple

Spice paste:

3 dried long Asian chilies, rehydrated in water or fresh Fresno chilies, seeded
1 stalk lemon grass, white parts only, sliced thinly
3 slices fresh galangal, peeled
4 medium shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 piece fresh turmeric, about 1 Tablespoon
3 candlenuts
1 Tablespoon belachan

Custard:

1/4 cup coconut milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

1 lb white fish fillet (turbot, mackerel, cod..)
3 pieces of kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade

2 cups wild betel leaves (daun kadok, la lot), optional

 

Prepare the banana leaves: Bring a big pot of water to boil, with steamer rack.  Removed spine of banana leaves.  Blanched leaves in hot water.  Pat dry.  Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, grind chilies, lemongrass and galangal till fine.  Add remaining spice paste ingredients and process till smooth.   Next add custard ingredients and pulse to mix.

Filet fish and give it a few rough chops to cut into small pieces, transfer to a bowl.  Pour in the spice mix, kaffir and betelnut leaves and toss to combine.  On a work surface, place a sheet of banana leaf.   Place 3 Tablespoons of the fish mixture along the middle part of the leave, leaving about 1.5 inch on the left and right edge.  Fold the two long edge of the leave over the fish mixture and secure edge with a toothpick.

Heat a grill pan and grill for 15 mins, or place in 450F oven and  bake 10-12  mins.  You can also steam 10 minutes over medium boiling water.

Serves: 8

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* Thai-Style Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Aioli and Cucumber Pineapple Achar

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Cuisine, Kaffir lime leaves, Rau Ram, Salmon, Snack, Thai.


This salmon cake is made the way one makes a succulent crabcake, but uses Thai flavors.  Poaching the salmon in wine eliminates the fishiness, and the cream adds moisture to the otherwise leaner, but more flavorful sockeye salmon.

Chef’s tip: To remove the skin off the salmon, lay a half fillet of salmon on a cutting board.  From the tail end, about 2 inches from the end, cut halfway into the fish, making sure not to cut all the way to the skin.  Next grab the small end with your left hand, and holding the knife with your right, position knife at a 45 degree angle to the skin and start pulling the fish with your left hand while the knife slices through the fish between the flesh and skin.  To remove any bones, turn a stainless steel bowl upside down and place the fish fillet over the top of the inverted bowl skin down.  Run your finger along the middle of the fish to feel any bones and remove with a fish pin.

Salmon cakes:6 cups water

3 inches galangal, sliced into rounds
6 pieces kaffir leaves, torn
1 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 lbs boneless skinless sockeye salmon filet, bones removed

2 Tablespoons canola / grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
1 red chili, deseeded, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai red curry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

3 cups panko breadcrumbs (more if needed)
1 Tablespoon rau ram leaves, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juice
Zest from 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten

2 cups bread crumb for breading
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Canola oil for frying

1.     Combine water and galangal and torn kaffir, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove galangal and kaffir.  Add wine and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add salmon, cover and remove from heat. Let salmon poach in the hot liquid for 10 minutes. Using a metal perforated spatula, transfer salmon to baking sheet and let cool.
2.     Break salmon into small pieces, ensure any removing bones are removed, and transfer pieces in a large bowl.  Chill.
3.     In a small saute pan, heat olive oil and sweat the onions till translucent, about 10 minutes.  Stir in chili, curry paste and salt and pepper. Add cream and cook till mixture is thick. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
4.     Stir together onion mixture with salmon.  Add breadcrumbs,, rauram, cilantro, green onions, fish sauce, lime juice, zest and eggs.  You may need additional breadcrumbs in order to create a mix that isn’t too wet and will hold together in a cake form. Stir ingredients until just combined and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.  Test for seasoning.
5.     Place additional bread crumbs and salt on a breading pan. Using a large ice cream scoop to scoop, gently pack salmon into golf size balls.  Roll each ball gently in the bread crumbs.  Transfer into a round 2.5 inch pastry cutter and gently flatten to make a thick patty.  Remove from cuter.  Transfer patty to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
6.     Coat a non stick frying pan with oil over medium heat.   Gently add the salmon cakes, fry until golden, flipping once with a spatula, until golden brown. Transfer cakes to a cookie sheet.  When ready to serve, bake 5 minutes at 350F until hot throughout.
7.     Serve with kaffir aioli and cucumber pineapple achar.

Makes 40 pieces

Kaffir Aoili

2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
2 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 Tablespoon kaffir leaves, veins removed, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
2 Tablespoons coriander leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons warm water

To make the Kaffir Aioli

8.     In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, mustard and 1 Tablespoon olive oil together until an emulsion is formed.
9.     Combine the olive oil and the canola oil in a measuring cup with a pouring spout.  While whisking the egg emulsion, add the oil mixture in a steady, THIN stream, almost to the point of droplets.  Make sure not to add the oil too quickly – add enough to the emulsion and make sure it is blended smoothly before adding more oil.  Continue to add the oil in a steady stream, whisking, until all of the oil has been added.
10.  Add finely mashed garlic and lime juice and salt.  Stir in the chopped kaffir, and coriander,.
11.  Add enough warm water to the aioli until a smooth, ketchup-like consistency is formed.

Makes 1 cup

 

Cucumber Pineapple Achar:

3 Japanese / Persian cucumbers, halved then thinly slice
1 cup pineapple cubes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 red chili, seeded very thinly sliced, to taste (use Thai birds eye chili, if preferred)
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled, thinly julienned
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

 

To make the Cucumber Pineapple Archar

12.  Toss together the cucumber, pineapples, shallot, chile and ginger in a non reactive glass bowl
13.  In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and fish sauce and heat till the sugar is dissolved.
14.  Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber pineapple mixture and toss to coat.  Let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to come together.
15.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.

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