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Category / Seafood

Welp, it’s been almost three years since I last have an entry on cooking, I guess it’s not better time than now to put in one of my favorite dishes mom used to cook when I was a boy – Nyonya seafood curry with salted fish bone. This really came about because I managed to get some really big whole salted fish from the Filipino market in Kota Kinabalu.

ingredients for seafood curry pot
ingredients for seafood curry pot

As the name of the dish suggests, this is a classic Penang style Nyonya dish. Unlike normal curry dish, the presence of salted fish bone gives it a better taste character that’s much better than salt ever would. It is also a dish that has pretty much everything in it – vegetable, seafood, santan, and with steamed rice, makes a whole meal.

blending onion, ginger, garlic
blending onion, ginger, garlic

Anyway, here’s the ingredient list of the version mom makes:

  • 1 KG prawns and/or other seafood (mussels for example)
  • 2-3 pieces of salted fish bone (kurau fish preferred)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 onion
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 dozen cili padi
  • spring onion
  • curry paste (best if you can get them from morning market)
  • 1 tomato, 1/2 dozen lady’s fingers, 1 brinjal
  • 2 packets of coconut milk
  • 3-4 spoon cooking oil

"tumis" chili paste with oil, and then add seafood
“tumis” chili paste with oil, and then add seafood

Cooking instructions:

  • clean and soak salted fish bone for 10-15 mins
  • grind up onion, ginger, garlic, and cili padi to a paste
  • heat up oil and fry the paste for a minute
  • add curry paste to the mix, stir for another minute
  • add salted fish, seafood and stir until slightly fragrant, perhaps a minute or so
  • add vegetables, stir for another minute
  • add santan, bring to boil for a couple minutes
  • cut up spring onion and add to the mix (for looks only lah)

add vege and santan next
add vege and santan next

Remember to serve this with a nice plate of steamed rice, low carb diet be damned.

viola, it's all done, seafood curry with salted fish bone
viola, it’s all done, seafood curry with salted fish bone

I promise to not let another 3 years passed before putting up another recipe on this blog, and this is in fact, the 100th. You can find more of my simple recipes here.

A week ago we bought three garupa fish for something like RM 25 from the Meru Pasar Malam nearby, and since we’re going to have to eat the same fish on three different occasions, it was an opportunity to try out different recipes.

I vaguely remember that we bought some fermented beans (tauchu) over CNY cos my brother had used it as a “secret ingredient” in his version of jiu hu char, so it was time to experiment on a version of garupa with tauchu dish.

raw ingredients - fish, tauchu, onion, garlic, ginger, chili padi
raw ingredients – fish, tauchu, onion, garlic, ginger, chili padi

Thankfully, the version I ended up cooking based on what we had in the pantry and fridge ended up rather delicious, so I’m penning it here for my own future reference. As always, you’re more than welcome to try it out yourself, and if you do, let me know how it turns out.

Ingredients:

  • one medium size garupa fish (siakap/barramundi should work too)
  • a couple of onions (sliced)
  • half a clove garlic (chopped)
  • an inch of ginger (strips)
  • 2 tablespoon of tauchu
  • 2-3 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • half a dozen chili padi, green or red

sautee everything minus the fish
sautee everything minus the fish

Cooking Instructions:

  • heat up cooking oil and then stir fry everything except the fish
  • once fragrant, add 1.5 cups of water
  • bring water to boil, then add fish
  • lower the heat, let simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness of fish)
  • serve while hot

simmer & steam for 10 minutes and you're done
simmer & steam for 10 minutes and you’re done

As fermented bean is already quite a salty product, salt is not needed in this cooking method. The result is a simple fish dish that brings out the natural taste of seafood while having a sauce base that’s flavorful with a bit of a kick. Goes really well with rice. Will not hesitate to use this recipe again.

While fusion food has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years from many restaurants that came up with dishes that were neither here nor there, I still always applaud those who dare to imagine and come up with something different from the ordinary. Sometimes it is done by mixing ingredients from different parts of the world, other times by turning traditional recipes upside down. Either way, it is one way to ensure that culinary art does not stay stagnant and only look backwards.

glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup
glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup

Several days ago I received some fresh ingredients courtesy of the Zealand Trade Enterprises, and as part of the challenge, we were supposed to use them and come up with dishes worthy of sharing. Since cooking is one of my many hobbies, here goes!

For dinner last Friday, I decided to make grilled hake (or any cod, really)  with miso marinate & vege, while the wife came up with spicy mussle soup as a companion dish. Both seafood ingredients were New Zealand products.

Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient
Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient

I will be sharing the hake steak recipe here:

Ingredients:

  • Hake steak (or any white fish, such as cod) 250-300 gram per pax
  • asparagus & mushroom (sliced)
  • a few gloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

Ingredients for marinate:

  • 2 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

asparagus and mushroom as sides
asparagus and mushroom as sides

Cooking instructions (fish):

  • mix marinate in a bowl and apply generously on fish, let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes
  • heat up the oven to 175 C
  • pan fry the fish for 2-3 minutes
  • bake fish in oven for 10 minutes

fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed
fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed

Cooking instructions (vegetable):

  • heat up frying pan with cooking oil
  • fry garlic till fragrant
  • add mushroom & asparagus and saute for 2 minutes
  • add leftover marinate to the vege and continue to saute for another 2 minutes

Time your cooking of vegetable to coincide with the fish so that they’re both served hot. Enjoy!

spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long
spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long

Since we lack tomato puree or white wine, the spicy mussel soup involved the use of sake, ketchup, New Zealand mussels, and black magic. My wife made it, so I don’t think I’m qualified to know enough of the recipe to share it here.

Happy cooking! #

I remember one of the dishes I really like as a kid involving squid is the one with some sort of thick dark sauce mom made, so naturally when I discovered that we still had some squid in the fridge, I tried to replicate the dish at home. After a bit of exploring on the web, I think I finally nailed down a version that came up pretty good.

squid with dark soya sauce
squid with dark soya sauce

Here’s the simple stir fry squid with dark soya sauce recipe, give it a try if you love squid like most of us do!

To be honest, the recipe uses more than just dark soya sauce, naming is just for simplicity sake.

soya sauce, dark soya sauce, squid, garlic, ginger, salt, brown sugar, and pepper
soya sauce, dark soya sauce, squid, garlic, ginger, salt, brown sugar, and pepper

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 squids, cleaned (if you want to get fancy, stuff the head back into the body and “stitch it up with a toothpick”)
  • an inch of ginger, cut into strips
  • half a bulb of garlic, chopped in chunks
  • 2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon cooking oil

start with ginger, garlic, then the rest
start with ginger, garlic, then the rest

Cooking instructions:

  • marinate the squid with sugar, salt, dark soya sauce, soya sauce, and pepper for 30 minutes
  • heat up cooking oil
  • fry ginger for a 30 seconds, then add garlic until fragrant
  • add in squid in medium heat without pouring all the marinate
  • cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the rest of the marinate
  • serve while hot (add a bit of parsley for photo op!)

It is really a rather simple recipe, I hope you try it. Happy cooking!

Continuing with another cooking recipe since we’ve been actively cooking more at the new house, here’s how I made my version of clams with superior soup, a pretty traditional style of making clam that is pretty simple and yet tastes mighty good so long as the clams are juicy and fresh.

You can use lala or clams for this, do make sure they’re fresh and alive. Soak the clams in salt water for at least an hour or so to let it “spit out” any mud/sand, then rinse them thoroughly before cooking.

fresh clams, and the ingredients for superior soup
fresh clams, and the ingredients for superior soup

Ingredients:

  • 1kg clams
  • 3-4 pieces of tongkuai
  • few small pieces of dried scallops
  • 2 teaspoon wolf berries
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • 5-6 slices of ginger
  • 5-6 chili padi
  • 2-3 cups water or soup stock
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

soup cooked separately, then fry the garlic, ginger & chili first
soup cooked separately, then fry the garlic, ginger & chili first

Cooking instructions:

  • boil water with tongkwai, wolfberry, and dried scallops, use soup stock if available
  • heat up cooking oil and fry garlic, ginger, and chili padi till fragrant
  • add clams and fry for a minute
  • add above prepared “soup”, and boil till all clams are opened
  • add some salt for seasoning

While the above pictures look pretty nice, the dish was a bit of a failure due to the clams we bought being not particularly fresh, I cannot stress enough that you really need good quality clam for this dish.

Happy cooking!