Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cá Hấp (Steamed Fish) and Cải Làn (Chinese Broccoli)

It's funny how certain foods pair up. For example, I always used to eat the green beans and eggs with shake 'n bake tofu. In this case, ever since I learned how to make cá hấp (steamed fish), I have paired it with cải làn (kai-lan or Chinese broccoli). I think it's because I had to go to the Asian market to get ingredients for the fish and would also get some cải làn.

Steamed fish is a traditional Chinese dish. My family often ordered it when we ate out. My mom has a certain way of making it. I assumed it was somewhat traditional. Until one day, I was talking to my colleague G (who is Chinese), and realized glass noodles is not a typical ingredient. I guess that's just something my mom came up with. My mom also doesn't use the traditional black beans. So this is really my mom's version of Chinese steamed fish.

As for the cải làn, it is used a lot in Chinese cuisine. It is one of the rare vegetable dishes at dim sum, served with a side of oyster sauce. It is slightly bitter, which many Asian greens seem to have in common. I really enjoy it. Which is a good thing because it's sold in such a ridiculously big package that I will be eating it for a few meals.

Cá Hấp (Steamed Fish)
Such a quick and easy recipe. I make this for myself so I do not cook a whole fish, rather I just buy one fillet. I love the glass noodles. When my mom made this dish, we would eat it with rice. I just eat the glass noodles as a side. When I smell certain ingredients like mushrooms and sesame oil, I think of this dish!

* 1 handful of glass noodles, soaked and drained
* 1 handful of dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked, drained and chopped roughly
* oil
* 2 green onions, sliced
* piece of ginger, matchsticks
* black soy sauce
* 1 filet of bassa (or white fish of your choice)
* salt and pepper, to taste
* sesame oil

Stir fry the green onion and ginger.
Add the mushroom.
When the green onion and ginger have softened, turn off the heat.
Add the glass noodles, and mix in. (You don't want to cook the glass noodles or they stick together.)
Add dark soy sauce and some salt to taste.
Add half of the mixture at the bottom of a deep dish.
Season your filet with salt and pepper. (Slice the fillet in two if it doesn't fit the dish.)
Add the fish on top of the glass noodle mixture.
Drizzle a bit of sesame oil.
Top with the second half of the glass noodles.
Steam for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is opaque.

Dried mushrooms and glass noodles.

Glass noodle and mushroom mixture.

Fish with glass noodles.

Stir-Fried Cải Làn (Chinese Broccoli)
I like to stir fry cải làn - check out Wandering Chopsticks' steamed version.

* oil
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* cải làn, sliced
* oyster sauce

Cook the garlic slightly.
Add the cải làn.
When it is nearly cooked, add oyster sauce and a bit of water if necessary.

Raw Cải Làn (Chinese Broccoli).

Stir-Fried Cải Làn.


Sarah said...

It must be traditional somewhere...my mom steams fish at home exactly the same way. :)

Miss.Adventure said...

Sarah: really? funny. I'm glad someone else is enjoying this version!

Jenny said...

There are several ways of Chinese steamed fish; it's not a necessity to have black beans (we don't add it). There's also a particular fish dish we make that's almost exactly like this (including the noodles) so I agree, it MUST be traditional somewhere lol.

Anonymous said...

What kind of glass noodle package do you buy? I haven't been able to distinguish the noodles very well. I'm beginning to learn how to cook Vietnamese food.