Fish in chinese is called ‘yu’ which sounds similar to the word 余 . 余 signifies surplus, having ‘leftovers’, in a way symbolizes abundance. The chinese sayings for eating fish is ‘年年有余’ (nian nian you yu) means ‘having surpluses every year’. Fish can be cooked in any style but must be served with its head and tail intact for a good beginning and ending in the new year.
Steamed Fish ( Teochew Style )
Source : Hundred Eighty Degrees
2 medium whole seabass ( scaled and cleaned )
A dash of salt
Few thin slices of ginger
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
5 dried mushrooms, soak in water to soften, cut off the stems and cut into slices
Some salted vegetables, cut into thin slices
2 salted plums
1tbsp light soy sauce
1tsp cooking oil
A dash of sugar
1tbsp Shaoxing wine or XO
1. Score the fish’s flesh on both sides with 2-3 parallel cuts. ( I will omit scoring the fish’s flesh during CNY for the reason of completeness )
2. Rub the fish with salt on both sides.
3. Place the fish on a plate, arrange ginger, tomato, mushrooms, salted vegetable and salted plums on the fish.
3. Mix light soy sauce, cooking oil and sugar and drizzle mixture on the fish.
4. Keep the marinated fish in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5. Heat up a wok with enough water. Cover the wok with a lid and when water is boiling, place your fish inside the wok, propped up with a small inverted bowl or round wire steamer rack. Steam the fish on high heat for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Drizzle Shaoxing Wine or XO on the fish towards the end of steaming. Once the wine or XO is added, steam for another 1-2 seconds to avoid evaporation. Serve hot.
Note : Timing to steam really depends on the thickness of your fish, you have to judge it yourself. Just make sure your wok has enough water to steam, add water if need to.
I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012) hosted by Wen of Wen’s Delight.