June 9, 2018

Salt Marinated Steamed Fish 生死戀蒸魚

Salt Marinated Steamed Fish 生死戀蒸魚

Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚
By Published: 2018-06-09
Wow, oh, wow, this humble dish is a super duper knock out!  We first tried it at a local restaurant, having been assured by the talkative waiter that this simple salted then steamed fish dish was something special and a great favorite with his regulars.  Well...I've heard that one before and then some...so we were skeptical but willing to try it out.  When the fish arrived at the table it looked simple...minimal even, just the fish, a piece of salted fish on top and a wee bit of shredded ginger on the plate, no sauce or slender curls of spring onion.  Could steamed fish finished off so simply without a sauce really work?  Well, it turns out that the answer is a big 'ol YES!   This Salt Marinated Steamed Fish 生死戀蒸魚 is super packed with tasty mulitlayered flavor, its meat oh so tender and luscious, you won' believe how super simple it is to make!

Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚

Naturally, being so impressed with the dish, we wanted to try it ourselves at home.  Time for some food research!  The friendly waiter offered the tip that the only thing added to the fish was salt.  My hubby 老公 recalled his mama 媽媽 tell him that the Hong Kong fisherman's traditional way of preparing fish was to simply slice open, salt and then leave to marinate until the next day when it was steamed and eaten.  Our nice wet market fish monger offered the further tip to keep the salted fish in the fridge overnight without wrapping it so that the meat could dry out.  Okay, enough tips...we were ready to start cooking!

For the fish we chose the Fourfinger Treadfin 馬友魚 (why four fingers?), one of our favorite sea fish that is known for its tender and flavorful white meat.  (See photo above.)  We love this fish!  You can choose any white flesh fish with similar characteristics but it must be super duper fresh or this dish won't work.  Not oily fish, though, I don't think oily fish would work.

Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚

Part of the flavor of this dish comes from the small piece of salted fish 鹹魚 that is placed over it when steamed. (Read more about Chinese Salted Fish here.)  There are all kinds of salted fish made from different kinds of fish.  We chose salted fish made with the same type of fish we used for the steaming, the Fourfinger Treadfinger 馬友魚.  Yummy!  The concentrated flavor umami and salt of the salted fish will infuse the fish as it steams and that is a big part of the reason it's so delicious.

Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚

The fish is gutted and then butterflied, with the bones left in.  (Cooking with bones means more flavor!)  Ask your fish guy to butterfly the fish for you.  Wash and then dry the fish with paper towels.  When quite dry the fish is lightly but thoroughly salted on both side.  Pop into fridge overnight without covering.  This allows the meat to dry out even further.


Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚

The next day flip the fish so that the meat side is down.  Place a small piece of salted fish on top, sprinkle sugar on the piece of salted fish only.  Last touch is finely sliced ginger, again on top of the piece of salted fish only.  Don't place the sugar or ginger anywhere else.  This will keep the fish meat tender and smooth while still allowing the flavors to infuse.

After steaming the fish is tender and oh so amazingly flavorful!  (Shakes head...it's still blows my  mind that this actually works and it's so darn simple!)  There will be a bit of lovely sauce that occurs naturally during the steaming, just enough to dip your fish into.  You will find the flavor of this steamed fish an instant one of a kind and um...shhh, don't tell...but I think I like this steamed fish dish better than the classic Chinese Steamed Fish!

Salt Marinated, Steamed Fish, recipe, fisherman style, chinese,  生死戀, 蒸魚


Salt Marinated Steamed Fish  生死戀蒸魚
Prep time:    Cook time:

Ingredients:
1 white flesh whole fish, bone in, butterflied
1 tbsp salt
1 piece Chinese salted fish 鹹魚
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ginger, shredded

Directions:
Wash fish.  Dry with paper towels until dry.  Sprinkle salt lightly but generously all over both sides of the fish.  Place on a plate without any cover and leave in fridge overnight.  When ready for steaming, place fish skin side up on steaming plate.  Place piece of salted fish centered on top of fish.  Sprinkle sugar, then shredded ginger on top of the piece of salted fish only.  Steam 10 mins and serve hot.  Enjoy!



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