Malaysian Monday 72: Homestyle fried fish with crispy ginger.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Whew, Monday again (well, it was Monday when I tried to upload this, before the tech gremlins hit). How are you all doing?

Today’s MM post is one of those home-style, everyday type dishes I talked about a while back when I made the green bean omelette.

That's the tail end of the fish. Unfortunately, the photo of the whole fish was just a bit too scary to use, cos it lost its skin :)

I got to thinking about this because it was Mother’s Day yesterday. And you know, I thought of my mum. She lives an eight hour plane trip away, so we didn’t get to spend time with her, and we couldn’t even Skype (technical difficulties over there), so all she got was text message! Sorry mum.

Anyway, this dish reminds me of my mum, and eating lunch with my brother after school. Back then, the school day started at about 7.45am and ended at about 1-ish in the afternoon. We had recess around 10.30, and went home for lunch. That was if we were in the morning session. Due to lack of space/ facilities, schools also ran an afternoon session, which went from about 1.30pm to about 6.30pm. Which session you attended depended on what year you were in.

For example, I think I attended morning school sessions in Primary 1, 3 and 5(?), and I can’t even remember when in secondary school! What I do remember is hating the afternoon session because it felt as if we never had any time to ourselves. By the time we got home, it was dinner time and bed time, then when we woke up, we only had enough time to get a bit of homework done before it was time to get ready for school again. Unless you were an absolutely early riser, afternoon school sucked.

But back to the food. As you can imagine, we’d be ravenous by the time we got home, and Mum (bless her), always had a hot meal waiting. Most of the time she cooked, and sometimes she’d pick something up from the market/ hawker stalls. This fish dish was one we had often because, like the green bean omelette, it ticked all the boxes. It was easy and fast to prepare, tasted great, was nutritious and satisfied even picky eaters (that would be my little brother) ;P.

Guess what? I grew this!

Mum always used a fish known as ikan bawal (silver pomfret), but since I couldn’t find it here, I used a small whole snapper instead. Any white fleshed fish would work I think. I’m not writing out a “proper” recipe for this because it all depends on taste, but I’ll explain how I made it.

First I prepared some finely cut ginger matchsticks. Then I cut slits in the thickest part on the side of the snapper ( to ensure it cooked through), patted it dry and rubbed it with a bit of salt. Then I deep fried the snapper in vegetable oil, at which point, it lost most of its skin because I was a bit impatient and the oil wasn’t quite hot enough. While the snapper was cooking, I heated up a tiny bit of vegetable oil in a small frying pan, added a dash of sesame oil, and when it was hot enough, added the ginger matchsticks, and fried it until the ginger started to turn golden brown. Make sure to remove the ginger from the heat at this point as residual heat from the oil will keep cooking it after.

See? Ginger rhizome with root attached

Then the fish was placed on a serving plate, a dash of soy sauce splashed on, and then the crisp ginger and ginger scented oil poured over the top. Served with rice and a green vegetable, it made a simple but complete meal. (Actually, I would even be happy to serve this fish to guests as part of a dinner menu.)

Have a great start to the week. And remember, if you have any Malaysian dishes/ posts to share, please do send your entry to me at its(dot)sharon(at)gmail(dot)com as I will be hosting the round-up for Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #11. Muhibbah Monday is an event co-created and jointly hosted by Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies and myself. You can read more about it here.

My ginger patch. Actually ginger is really easy to grow as long as it's pretty warm. Just stick it into the ground and forget about it.


Karen said...

Shaz, I would love to have this yummy fish dish served for dinner! When I read about your afternoon school, it brought back a lot of bad memories - I am sooo glad I'm not in school anymore!! The cupcakes you made for the wedding look amazing, not to mention the windsurfer decorations. Oh, and I love reading about the different dishes and ingredients on your MM posts. Hope you had a great Mother's Day! :-)

Barbara said...

You grew that?!!! I am so impressed! I really miss a garden!
Sorry you couldn't skype with your daughter and I depend on skype every single day. It's hard when all of mine live elsewhere. I miss them, but heard from them and cards. Hope you had a good day, Shaz!

Cheah said...

This is really genuine home cooked food, Shaz! Oh, homegrown ginger, must be very aromatic. Enjoy your day!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What lovely memories Shaz! My mum speaks of pomfret too and cooking that fish a lot although I don't see it much here at all. This sounds delicious! :D

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Wah congrats on your ginger, I know not easy to grow in your region. They don't need tender loving care but they would really like some warm weather. Mine is struggling. Don't know whether we get some rhizome or not. At our central market here, there is a fish shop sometime sell bawal but it is frozen from Thailand. You make me crave for bawal perhaps this weekend I will take a look.

Hungry Dog said...

This looks amazing. Fish, soy, and ginger--heavenly combination! hope you had a nice mother's day too, shaz!

Anh said...

impressive! I would like to grow ginger, too!

KG said...

shaz, mil makes this for me whn am in confinement!

Vanille said...

Fish dishes always make me think to my Mum too. She's used to cook it every Friday. I hated it when I was young because of the fishbones, but now things changed radically and I would be glad to be served your fried fish with ginger !

Juliana said...

Shaz, your picture description is so funny, sure made me laugh :-). The fish looks yummie, even only the tail is shown...crispy. Now planting ginger, I really want to try it, so you mean, just stick into the pot? Will let you know ;-) Hope you are having a great week!

shaz said...

Karen - thank you, we had a very low key mother's day and I got to "escape" and go nursery hopping for a couple of hours. Very nice :)

Barbara - lucky you. I love having a garden, this is our first in-ground one (in Oz). We've always lived in apartments, so I always had a balcony/ container garden. But this apartment has a courtyard, goody!

Cheah - thank you dear. It does smell good now, but it will get even more aromtaic as it gets older.

Lorraine - I do miss the tropical fish we used to get. BUt then again, I love salmon and snapper too, so I don't complain too much.

Malay-Kadazan girl - thank you :) Actually, come to think of it, I do remember seeing frozen pomfret in the Asian supermarket. But I don't really like buying frozen fish/ meat. You know what else I miss? The small ikan kembung, especially the salty ones, mmmm.

Hungry Dog - thanks! Ginger and soy are one of my favourite combos, and so easy too.

Anh - Not sure if ginger can grow down in Melbourne, it may not be warm enough, but you should definitely give it a go. Good luck :)

KG - ah yes, because ginger is warming right?

Vanille - Yeah, the bones can be a pain, that's why I loved pomfret, the bones were relatively easy to remove, and I loved nibbling on the crispy fins and tail.

Juliana - Thanks and good luck with the ginger. Have a look at the bottom of the post, I just added a link to some info that might help. One thing to remember is that ginger needs warmth.

grace said...

i met a person called ginger for the first time the other day, and she's not even red-headed!
that's neither here nor there--i love the idea of crispy ginger! :)

Indie.Tea said...

I grew up eating 'that' too :) It goes into a lot of Indian dishes, and into our masala chai.
The fish looks delicious. So crispy, and yummy.