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Continued: Recipes: Chinese New Year

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  • Last update: January 29, 2014 - 2:09 PM

1 sea bass, about 1 1/2 lb., scaled and cleaned but with head and tail intact

• Salt

1 tbsp. rice cooking wine (see Note)

• 3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

• 4 tbsp. cooking oil


Trim green onions and cut three of them into 2 1/2 inch lengths, then into fine slivers. Wash and peel ginger; keep the thick peel and any knobbly bits for the marinade. Cut peeled part into long, thin slivers.

Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry. Starting at the head, make 3 or 4 parallel diagonal cuts on each side of fish, cutting into thickest part of flesh near backbone. Rub it inside and out with a little salt and the wine. Smack the ginger remnants and one of the remaining green onions with the side of a cleaver or rolling pin to release their fragrances and place in the belly cavity of fish. Let it marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour off any liquid that has emerged from the fish and pat fish dry. Tear the last green onion into 2 or 3 pieces and lay it in the center of a steamer tray. Lay fish over green onion (the onion will raise the fish slightly so steam can move around it.

Steam fish over high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until just cooked. Test it by poking a chopstick into thickest part of flesh, just behind head; flesh should flake away easily from backbone. When fish is nearly done, dilute the soy sauce with 2 tablespoons hot water.

Remove fish from steamer and transfer carefully to serving dish. Remove and discard ginger and green onion from its belly and the cooking juices. Scatter fish with slivered ginger and green onion.

Heat oil in a wok or small pan over high flame. When it starts to smoke slightly, drizzle it over ginger and green onion slivers, which should sizzle dramatically (make sure oil is hot enough by dripping a tiny amount over fish and listening for the sizzle before you pour the rest over it). Pour diluted soy sauce all around fish and serve immediately.

Variation: Fillets of fish can be cooked in exactly the same way, adjusting cooking times and quantities accordingly.

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