Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hot & Spicy Fish Head

Yesterday I went to the market for groceries and saw a freshly butchered bullhead.  The woman who ordered the fish only wanted the body (she told me she is using it for soup) and I remembered the delicious dish I had in Shanghai not long ago... so I thought to myself, it won't get fresher than this and I probably won't have the heard to order a fish to be killed...  so there you go, I bought the head...

the actual dish I tried in Shanghai
I actually searched in YouTube for a clip a while back on how to make the dish! (see below)  I preferred the green side when I first tried the dish in Shanghai so I didn't prepare the red peppers when I made mine...

Knowing this is probably not a dish everyone will try or eat (probably one of the most exotic things I have eaten) and the ingredients are hard to get if you are not living within a large Chinese population, I am still going to post the translated ingredients and directions below...  Just in case you got a fish head and don't know what to do with it... LOL

1 Bullhead (just the head)

oyster sauce

red peppers (chopped)
ginger (chopped)

pickled green peppers (chopped)
yellow lantern pepper sauce
wild salamanders (chopped)

green onions (chopped)

L-R pickled vegetables / yellow lantern pepper sauce / picked green peppers
The closest substitute will be the pickled peppers from Potbelly

1. Wash and marinate the fish head in beer for 3 minutes.  (The chef said this helps to reduce the fishiness.  I didn't have beer at home - surprise! - so I marinated the fish with regular Chinese cooking wine.  the chef also gently sliced the fish for better flavor soaking but i didn't since my fish is not as big...)  (oh- make sure you ask your fishmonger to clean your fish thoroughly if you are like me - who doesn't know how to - the gills, etc.)

2. Marinate the fish with oyster sauce and sprinkle MSG.  Let it sit for another 3 minutes.  (I also added ginger slice to mine since I didn't prepare the red pepper side and I am really afraid my fish will taste too fishy - what an oxymoron... As shown in picture, I only cooked one side at a time...)

3.  Combine (A) and (B) separately.  Heat oil and pour it evenly into (A) and (B).  Spoon the individual sauce onto one side of the head.

4.  Put fish into the steamer after the water reached the boiling point and steam for 10 minutes (cooking time will vary based on the size of the head - to check if your fish is fully cooked, you can poke it with a chopstick and see if it comes out clean - kinda like baking cake) (I also added some vermicelli 粉絲 on the plate to soak up any sauce)

5.  Sprinkle with green onions and a little hot oil on it.  Ready to serve.  Must eat while hot!


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