Ginger Cod

My mom really liked this Ginger Cod dish the first time I cooked it for my family when they were visiting me earlier this month. I haven’t quite achieved my vision of it but it is getting there. It does turn out a little different every time I cook it but I guess this is what makes cooking fun — there’s always room for improvisation and improvement!

I made this at a time when I was getting bored of steaming fish so the cooking process is slightly more involved – just slightly.  First, you shallow fry fish covered in a flour and corn flour batter; the fish is removed from the wok when it’s cooked. Then there’s the sauce: ginger, garlic, spring onion (typical Cantonese combination) and sweet soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, and white pepper with the juices of the fish still in the wok, mmm. Finally, you return the cooked fish to the hot wok so that it absorbs the ginger and garlic flavours and also thickens the sauce. I think this three-stepped method works pretty well; maybe it’s not something I would do on a normal weeknight but when I do have more time, I quite relish the gradual process of cooking the fish, the ginger/garlic, and then the sauce.

you can’t get much more Cantonese than cod with ginger, garlic and spring onion…

Ginger Cod

Ingredients, for 3 persons as one of several mains

250-300 g cod fillet (skinned and de-boned), cut into 2-inch pieces
white peppper and salt to marinate the fish
sunflower or vegetable oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons

to coat the fish
flour, 1/2 cup
cornflour, 1/2 cup
dash of salt for the batter mixture

for the sauce
ginger, 1-inch piece, sliced thinly into discs
garlic, 4 cloves, minced
spring onion, 3 stalks, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
Shaoxing rice wine, 2 tablespoons
soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons – I use for this dish the Rose brand of soy sauce, which is a light soy sauce that is quite sweet and fragrant. It’s from Malaysia, haven’t seen it in the UK, but you can use any light soy sauce and add a little white sugar to the same effect.
water, about 2 tablespoons

Method
1. Prepare the cod and marinate lightly with dash of salt and white pepper.
2. Mix the flour, cornflour and salt in a bowl or small baking dish.
3. Heat oil in wok on medium heat. As you wait for wok to heat up, thoroughly coat the marinated cod in batter mixture.
4. When oil is hot – you can tell by putting chopsticks into it and seeing if bubbles appear – carefully slip in coated cod pieces to the wok.
5. Shallow fry until cod is lightly golden. Remove from wok onto a plate.
6. Turn heat down to low. Stir fry ginger and garlic in leftover oil until fragrant.
7. Add rice wine. After thirty seconds, add soy sauce and water.
8. Sprinkle in spring onions, cook it in the sauce for at least a minute and a half.
9. Add a dash of white pepper.
10. Return the cod to the wok, and heat thoroughly in the sauce. The batter will thicken the sauce; if you want more sauce, add a little water and soy sauce.
11. Once the cod is coated in sauce and piping hot, switch off heat and serve immediately.

Served with white rice and blanched green vegetables, this is really a quintessentially Cantonese meal :).

食飯! (“Sik fan” or “Let’s eat” in Cantonese.)

Pan Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce – thanks to Kanzensakura

My take on Kanzensakura’s Pan Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce

If there is one thing I need to have in my kitchen cupboard, it’s garlic. Take the onion, tomatoes and whatnot, but please, leave the garlic! It’s the smell of home, redolent of hearty dinners and simple suppers, of good times cooking and eating. I even love it when I catch the faint scent of garlic wafting from my hands after cooking.

My love of garlic led me to Kanzensakura’s post on ‘Chicken with Garlic Sauce’. I stumbled on the post two weeks ago and since then, wasn’t able to get it out of mind. The dish sounded easy, incredibly tasty, and also different: I’m used to stir-frying but this one called for browned, pan fried chicken. Yum. I could taste the caramelised garlic already. Click here for the recipe!

NB I didn’t stick to the measurements very closely (not having a tablespoon or teaspoon…), nor did I add sake because I don’t have any, but dinner still turned out amazing :D. It’s really important to let the chicken brown on each side before turning it, and also, to half cover the pan so that the chicken doesn’t dry out. Don’t worry about adding the sauce mixture much later too; it’s supposed to be more of a glaze, rather than a sauce.

Sigh, this definitely can be filed under my list of comfort food recipes… and it’s given me ideas on how I could do this with many other sauces… ginger, miso, black bean! Pan fried beef with black pepper, anyone?