1 whole fish, about 1 kg/2 lb
(red emperor, snapper, coral trout)
1 onion, sliced
8 slices fresh ginger
few sprigs celery leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons finely shredded ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
Have fish cleaned and scaled, but it is usually necessary to scrub cavity with damp paper towels dipped in coarse salt to remove all traces of blood.
Run enough water into a wok to cover the fish, but do not put fish in yet. Add the onion, ginger, celery, peppercorns and stock powder and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 8 minutes to let liquid develop flavour. Gently slide fish into the water and return water to the boil. Lower heat, cover the wok and poach gently for 8-10 minutes or until flesh is opaque when tested. Lift out fish on a large wire spoon, let liquid drain away and carefully place fish on a large platter.
While fish is cooking, heat peanut oil in a small pan and on low heat cook the garlic and ginger for a minute, stirring. Remove from heat, add soy sauce and sesame oil and pour sizzling over the fish. Serve immediately.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)