Steamed Pomfret, Chinese Style
1 large pomfret, about 500 g/1 lb
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons tender fresh ginger, finely shredded
4 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
pinches of sugar, salt and white pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
sprigs of coriander and red chilli slices to garnish
Clean fish, scrubbing cavity with paper towels dipped in coarse salt. Rinse and blot dry, then score flesh with diagonal cuts on both sides and rub with measured salt and pepper. Soak dried mushrooms in very hot water for 25 minutes, discard stems and cut caps into strips. Scatter half the ginger on a heatproof dish, place the fish on it and sprinkle with mushrooms, spring onions, the remaining ginger and 1/2 tablespoon of peanut oil. Cover dish with foil, place over boiling water and steam for 10 minutes or until fish is opaque when tested at thickest part.
Pour off and reserve the liquid from the fish, replace foil to keep fish warm and add a little water or light chicken stock if necessary to make about 1 cup of liquid. Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small pan, add liquid and oyster sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Bring to the boil and stir in the small amount of cornflour mixed with a little cold water if a slightly thickened sauce is preferred, but it must in no way be thick enough to coat the fish. Serve hot, garnished with coriander and chillies.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)