Friday, 25 June 2010

Fish Friday

Past couple of weeks I've been a little naughty!  Only in the fact that I've not been at home to cook the evening meal for hubby and me.  Rather than letting hubby fend for himself in the kitchen (although I don't know why not as he had to cook for himself for a couple of years before I came on the scene!)  Instead, I've nipped to the local chippy and got us a fish'n'chip supper!  (Where have I been instead of cooking dinner and being a good wifey I hear you ask?  I have been attending Card-Making Classes that I enjoy at a local craft shop!)

Today, I have carried out my dutiful wife duties and made a home cooked dinner.  We had a chinese-style dinner of steamed jasmine rice, fish fillets in with lemon sauce and stir-fried prawns with flat beans. 

I love sweet and sour dishes and would be happy to eat them more often but my hubby is not a fan.  So I do not indulge very often.  I also don't like deep frying as I hate having to deal with the left-over oil afterwards.  I occasionally shallow fry - but again not too frequent as I don't like clearing the oil splatters around the hob.

I have fried these fish fillets before and served them with sweet chilli sauce.  I was amazed how delicious the fish was!  I was a little dubious as I had never heard or tried the fish before.  The fish is 'responsibly farmed' and comes from Vietnam (not very green-mile friendly given that it must have a 12 hr plane flight to get to the UK!).  It's packaged as River Cobbler (I believe the name is Pangasius hypophthalmus and one supermarket calls it Basa).  It comes as 2 skinless and boneless white fish fillets and has a very delicate taste to it.  First time I ate it, I squeezed the juice of half a lemon on it, sprinkled with white pepper before coating in flour and frying.  It was light and crispy and delicious!

Fried Fish Fillets with Lemon Sauce
265 g (2) fish fillets (I used River Cobbler, but I guess any white fish of your choice will be good)
white pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons of cornflour
a little egg white (I used about 2 teaspoons although have omitted this in the past)

150ml cold water
50ml fresh lemon juice (this was one small lemon)
lemon zest from one lemon
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
3 teaspoons of corn flour mixed with a little cold water

I sliced the fish lengthwise (as it seems to have a natural split down the middle) then cut it into diagonal strips around 2 finger widths wide.  I like it this way as I have a fear that it may not cook properly if too thick and also won't have a crispy coating.
When sliced, I added a shake of white pepper and a light sprinkling of salt before adding a teaspoon of soy sauce (light soy).  I then dribbled some egg white onto the fish (to make it moist so the seasonings would mix more evenly).  I mixed this gently until everything was lightly marinated.
Taking each piece of fish individually, I pressed both sides into a plate of cornflour so it had a light coating, shook off the excess and placed to the side of the plate and continued until all pieces were coated.
I heated some oil (sunflower) in a small frying pan and placed each fish fillet in one at a time until the pan was full.  After a minute or two (when the bottom looked set and crispy - but not brown) I flipped the fish over and cooked for another minute or so.  I let the fish drain on kitchen paper before frying the next batch.

For the sauce, I put the water, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan along with the chicken powder and heated gently.  When hot, I added the sugar (I added 1 tablespoon first and added the rest later after tasting).  Mixing the cornflour liquid to a milky water, I poured half in the pan, stirring all the time until it boiled and thickened.  I tasted the sauce for sweetness.  I eventually added 2 1/2 tablespoons until it was to my palate.  Again, with the cornflour liquid, add as much/little as you like for thickness.

Just before serving, I heated the oil again and quickly re-fried the fish fillets so they would still be hot and crispy.  I drained again on kitchen paper before plating the fish and drizzling with some lemon sauce.

I'm sure this dish would be equally nice with sweet and sour sauce or served with a sweetcorn sauce.

Stir-Fried Prawns with Flat Beans
12 raw king prawns, peeled, de-veined
handful of flat beans (about 8)
1 shallot, sliced
white pepper
soy sauce
oyster sauce
cornflour liquid (1 teaspoon of corn flour mixed with a little cold water - optional)

I washed, top and tailed the beans before slicing into 1inch diamonds.
I heated 1 tablespoon on oil in a wok and when hot, I added the beans and sliced shallot.  I stir-fried these for about 1-2 minutes before adding about 1/4 cup of water to the wok, added a shake of white pepper, splash of soy (1 teaspoon) and a blob of oyster sauce (about 2 teaspoons).  I placed a lid on and let this cook for about 2-3 minutes so the beans would cook. 
I tasted the sauce - mine was a little salty so I added a pinch of sugar before adding the prawns and stir-frying them until they were pink. 
When they have just turned pink on both sides I add a little cornflour liquid (1 teaspoon) to the wok to lightly thicken the sauce. 

When stir-frying prawns, my mum would marinate the prawns first in a little pepper, soy and cornflour before flashing them in a hot wok lightly, then removing them and adding them back to the dish at the end.  I prefer my prawns to be au naturel so I can taste the delicate sweet prawn and I always overcook them if I do it her way and stir fry them first!  Each to their own!

1 comment:

  1. Sure, I'd love to have the fish fillets to go with corn sauce as well. For hot summers, however I would lean toward this sweet, sour lemon sauce. Your pairing it with the classic thin coating is a nice idea.

    Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thought.