Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

It's been a snowy couple of days for us unsnowy people, so I missed a trip to Mom's to celebrate Chinese New Year and had to throw my own, much less traditional affair. Part of the problem is that I don't really understand the tradition, except that it has to do with eating. And that, I can do.

I did, however, make one of Mom's recipes. Well, actually, it's Jamie Oliver's recipe for Monkfish Wrapped in Banana leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chile, and Coconut Milk. But since Mom discovered him and this recipe years ago, it has evolved into her creation and hers alone.

Gotta say, I really don't think I ruined this one. You'll notice that the fish, however, is not wrapped in banana leaves, and that is something I definitely picked up from Mom. To be sure, banana leaves would add eons of flavor, but it's so much easier to just use a casserole dish with a lid.

To impress your friends or family, I would suggest following Jamie's delectable recipe, but my way is definitely the easier option! Here's how I made what we'll call:

White Fish with Ginger, Cilantro, Chile and Coconut Milk
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver

4 (6-to 8-ounce) pieces white fish such as monkfish rock fish, Pacific mahi mahi, farmed striped bass or farmed catfish
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced and zested
1 can (2 cups) coconut milk
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 sticks lemon grass, smashed and chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place fish in a casserole dish with a lid. Mix remaining ingredients, except for the lemon grass, in a food processor. Add lemon grass and pour mixture over the fish. Cook until fish is done, about 15 minutes. Remove lemon grass and garnish with sliced green onions, if desired. Serve with rice drenched in sauce.

In yet another Chinese New Year shoutout to Mom, I made Stir-Fried Broccoli that of course tasted nothing like hers. Each time I stir-fry I get closer, but like I've said before, I just need to turn up the heat. Well, at least got the basics down!

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 onion, sliced
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
Splash rice wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon corn starch
1-2 tablespoons Chinese oyster sauce, to taste

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic salt and onion. Stir fry until onion begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove onion from pan and add broccoli. Cook until bright but not wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Return onions to pan, and add rice wine. Cover pan and let wine simmer for about a minute. Meanwhile, combine chicken broth and corn starch in a small bowl. Add to the stir-fry with the oyster sauce, and bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce. Serve immediately.

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