A lesson I learned today: When cooking fish steak, buy uncut fish then slice into steaks just before cooking. They turn out tastier and juicier that way.
The long story: Speedy chanced upon very fresh tanigue (Spanish mackerel) in the market. The upper half of the fish had been cut into steaks (see the difference between fish steak and fillet). At P400.00 (about USD9.00) per kilo, the steaks were pricey. It might sound very reasonably priced for those living in the First World, but fish steaks at P400.00 per kilo is pricey in this Third World country. The tail end — everything below the belly — was priced differently. At P150.00 per kilo, it would yield at least four steaks — smaller than steaks cut from the upper half of the fish but that’s okay.
So, Speedy bought the entire tail end and the fish head. I sliced the tail end into steaks, steamed the fish steaks and that was how I discovered the huge difference between newly cut fish steaks and the more conveniently pre-cut fish steaks that can be bought per piece in the market. Huge difference. We’re never going back to pre-cut fish steaks. Ever.
Note that the actual cooking time of the fish steaks will depend in the thickness. I cut mine into 1 and 1/2 inch thick slices and steamed them for 10 minutes. If your fish steaks are thinner or thicker, adjust the cooking time.
Steamed fish with sweet soy-ginger sauce
- 2 fish steaks
- sesame seed oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sweet rice wine (Shiaoxing, sake or mirin will all work)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice (grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice)
- scallions and cilantro to garnish
- Brush the bottom of two heat-proof plates with a little sesame seed oil.
- Lay a fish steak on each plate. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- Steam over briskly boiling water for 10 minutes (see how to boil water, how to steam food and why it is important to know).
- So, that’s how the fish will look after steaming. But, while the fish steams, waste no time. Prepare the garnishes and the sauce.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Cook the minced garlic over medium heat until golden brown. Scoop out. Save the oil.
- Make the sauce. Mix together the soy sauce, sweet rice wine, sugar and ginger juice.
- When the fish is done, take a tablespoonful or two of the liquid that has formed a pool around the fish and mix that with the sauce.
- Brush the top of the fish steaks with a little of the oil in which the garlic had been cooked. Divide the toasted garlic bits into two portions. Top each fish steak with a portion of the toasted garlic. Garnish with cilantro and scallions. Spoon the sauce around the fish and serve immediately.