Sunday, 12 February 2017

My Oven Baked Aquarium 我的烘烤水族馆

I was cooking whole fish again. However, not the typical Asian style. My Oven Baked Aquarium 我的烘烤水族馆 is somewhat identical to the Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼 that I posted in 2015. Whilst that dish was more westernised, I would take a more fusion approach this time, being more generous with garlic, onions, ginger and mirin but not using soy sauce. To me, this is a fusion of east meets west.

Unlike deep frying, the success of a steamed or baked fish dish is very much dependent on the freshness of the fish/fishes. I was serving a table for 4 adults today. I would prefer to use Sea Bass or Barramundi (金目鲈). From my past experiences, Barramundi could be cooked perfectly or almost to perfection in an oven. As I could only find one medium sized Barramundi, I had to substitute the second fish with a golden pomfret (金鲳鱼), the only other whole fish I had in my refrigerator. 

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :

  • 1 or 2 whole fish of your choice (I prefer Sea Bass/Barramundi)
  • 1 carrot (thinly sliced and cut to flower shapes by cookie cutter)
  • 300 gm broccoli (stir fry separately with 1 clove of garlic)
  • 4 small sprigs of rosemary (leave 2 sprigs for garnishing)
  • 1 lime (deseed)
  • 7 cloves garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)(use 1 clove to stir fry broccoli)
  • 2 medium sized onions (peeled and sliced)
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 1/2 cup mirin (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (to taste)
  • 1-2 cups water (subject to size of your roaster/baking pan)
  • 2 tbsp pre-cooked cooking oil

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip 1 : Fish must be fresh.
Tip 2 : Blend 50% of aromatic ingredients for a more intense flavour.

Method : 
  1. Clean, descale and cut the fish/fishes in butterfly style so that it/they could stand on the stomach.
  2. Rub a little sea salt on the body of the fish/fishes if you prefer. This step is optional.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celsius or 338 degrees fahrenheit.
  4. Add 50% of onions, garlic, ginger, rosemary leaves into blender.
  5. Add deseeded lime, 1-2 cups water, 1/4 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp fish sauce into blender.
  6. Blend all ingredients and set aside.
  7. Toss in chopped carrots and the other 50% of chopped onions, garlic, ginger into roaster/roasting pan.
  8. Line fish/fishes onto roaster/roasting pan.
  9. Slowly pour the blended mixture over the fish/fishes.
  10. Slowly pour 1/2 cup mirin over the fish/fishes.
  11. Use a spoon to drizzle 2 tbsp pre-cooked oil onto the fish/fishes. This process would help to marry all flavours together when the dish is cooked.
  12. Cover lid or with a piece of foil over the top of roaster/roasting pan.
  13. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (take note that bake time is dependent on size of fish/fishes)
  14. Stir fry broccoli with a little chopped garlic and salt separately. Put aside when cooked.
  15. Remove fish/fishes from oven when time's up. 
  16. Pierce a bamboo skewer into fish to test if the meat is fully cooked. If the bamboo skewer comes out clean, the fish is fully cooked. Otherwise, bake for another few minutes. Check constantly to ensure fish is not overcooked.
  17. Assemble broccoli into the roaster/roasting pan if you are satisfied with the readiness of the fish/fishes.
  18. Garnish and serve whilst hot.

(scroll to bottom of page, click on "Print" or "PDF" icon for printer friendly recipe)

As expected, the Barramundi turned out to be a lot more tender than the golden pomfret. Everyone loved the Barramundi. It had an almost melt-in-the-mouth kind of tender texture and  infused in natural flavours. The sauce was a balance between savoury and natural sweetness. We loved the sweet freshness from the fish, the onions and the carrot. My Oven Baked Aquarium 我的烘烤水族馆 certainly hit a home run with my family. I only wished I had more than one Barramundi!


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