The array of fish and seafood available in Wing Yip stores is absolutely mind-boggling and never fails to enthrall me, not least because it includes a big tank of live lobsters. Both fresh and frozen, it is always as reasonably priced as one could hope for. One of the very best things to do with a whole grouper fish is to steam it Hong Kong Style. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s
healthy but most of all it’s a divine treat usually reserved for special occasions in China. You can use filleted fish, too, of course but there’s a fabulous sense of ceremony about bringing whole gloriously fragrant fish to the table. This method works for both whole fish and fillets. You will need some sort of steamer – a bamboo one for preference. If you’re not lucky enough to live near a Wing Yip you can get them mail order from Lakelands in the U.K. or Amazon in the U.S.
For the steaming
Whole fish plus 3 large spring onions, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger and 1 fresh red or green chilli per fish.
For the sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp plain cooking oil, 1 small clove crushed garlic and 1 tsp brown sugar per fish.
For the garnish
1 finely julienned spring onion/scallion, finely julienned chilli to taste plus a tbsp of finely chopped coriander per fish.
Prepare all the steaming aromatics and the garnish vegetables and line your steamer with a piece of non-stick silcon paper which you’ve made several holes in. This will allow you to move the fish onto the serving plate once it’s cooked (the holes are to allow the steam through).
If using filleted fish, place it in your steamer with the steaming aromatics underneath it or on top of it. If using whole fish place it in your steamer with the aromatics under it, on it or IN it. Bring a pan of water to the boil and steam the fish for 7-8 minutes for smaller fish/fillets (up to 350g and for 9-12 minutes for larger ones (up to 500g).
Meanwhile, heat up the oils and sizzle the garlic in them until lightly browned (this will take seconds!) then add the other sauce ingredients and heat through, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
When the fish is cooked, carefully transfer it to a warmed plate, spoon over the sauce and arrange the garnishes over the fish. It is up to the most senior or skilled member of the dining party to serve the fish to the assembled guests!