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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Steamed Red Snapper with Ginger, Scallions & Shiitake Mushrooms

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~Julia Child

i recently had two chances to face one of my biggest fears in the kitchen: cooking fish. opening a can of whoop ass tuna does not count. i've made Cá Kho Tộ before but it was with a fish fillet, not a whole fish. doesn't count. however, during a recent grocery jaunt, i told nuria to go ahead and pick up whatever fish was on sale that day and we'd make a go at cooking it. she came back with two lovely red snappers, already beheaded, gutted and cleaned. for one, i roasted with a bunch of veggies, a recipe i had spotted in a saveur magazine some time ago. unfortunately, the pictures did not turn out as well as the fish tasted. a few weeks later, i remembered that we had another snapper in the freezer and i decided to steam it, like how wandering chopstick did. my steps are a little bit different and i added shiitake mushrooms. my only regret is, again, the pictures are still not that great. next time i make this, i'll keep the heads. scary but i think it makes for better presentation.


Steamed Red Snapper with Ginger, Scallions and Shiitake Mushrooms
(Ca Hap Gung Hanh)

inspired and adapted from Wandering Chopstick

again, i don't have exact measurements. it's all dependent upon taste and size of the fish.

1 red snapper (or any white fish that'll hold up to being steamed), cleaned & gutted
2 Tbls worth of julienned ginger, divided use
2 stalks of scallions (green onions), one cut in 1" pieces and the other diced
soy sauce
fish sauce
shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2-3 Tbl light oil, like veggie or canola (not olive oil which would be too fruity)
sesame oil, just to drizzle at the end for some awesome asian aroma (optional)

with the fish already cleaned, i stuffed it with some ginger and the 1" scallion pieces. i also seasoned inside and out with salt & pepper. then, i loosely wrapped it in foil, creating basically a tent. also, add in a handful of the mushrooms. i don't have steamer so i used my wok, adding about an inch or so of water. then i put in my colander, the water should not reach beyond the bottom holes. bring water to a simmer. put in the foiled fish with a lid on top and allow to steam for about 25-30 minutes (depending on size... just until the the flesh loses it's translucent color and is flaky.)

meanwhile, in a sauce pan add in the oil, diced scallions, the rest of the ginger, soy sauce and fish sauce. heat the sauce thru.

when the fish is cooked, carefully open the foil tent, the steam inside is hot. put fish on plate. arrange the cooked mushrooms and raw mushrooms around fish. slowly pour the hot oil sauce over the fish. finish with a light drizzle of the sesame oil. serve with hot steamed rice.


Today's Song: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Walk On the Ocean


  1. This looks great! We love to make this dish,using a very light soy sauce made for steaming fish.

  2. Why is it that fish look so weird without their heads? And yet, some people don't like looking at beady eyes either? I love mushrooms. Will have to try adding that next time I steam fish. Haha. Would that then be an adaptation of your adaptation? We could go in circles!

  3. I love steamed fish with lots of green onions! This dish looks fantastic!

  4. I am always looking for new ways to cook fish - this is a great dish!

  5. mmm.. looks so good!! i love Toad the Wet Sprocket! was just listening to them this morning and thought to myself if anyone else knew of them.. my fave is still "All I Want" and "Pray Your Gods"

  6. Ravenous couple, i am going to have to get this light soy sauce. nevermind that i have about 3 different kinds in my cupboard already! :)

    Chi WC, i swear, i'm gonna be like you one day and clean/gut my own fish.. until then, i will just adapt from your recipe! :) next challenge will be facing the entire head of the fish.

    Cookie, thank you. it made me feel quite healthy and... so very asian!

    Tracy, it is so easy to make this dish and the effort put into it is minimal. i hope you try it soon!

    Mel, ME TOO! i love Toad the wet sprocket, all i want is my fave of theirs.

  7. hi there,
    i actually add some dissolved rock sugar and premium mushroom sauce into rhe dish...
    bring some delicacdy hint and aromas...