Chinese Silver Pomfret ( Dao Chior in Hokkien or 斗鲳 Dòu chāng in Chinese) is the quintessential fish for Teochew-style steamed fish, and especially so during Chinese New Year where strong demand can cause prices to skyrocket to $100 per kg from the usual $20-$30 per kg. Chinese Silver Pomfret is usually served during special occasions, because it is very expensive compared to the normal pomfrets like golden/silver pomfret , black pomfret or white pomfret, and can be identified by its diamond shape with dull silver, pewter coloured body. Chinese Silver Pomfret steamed in Teochew style is commonly served at the restaurants and Zhi Char stalls, and is one of my picks of the 7 Reunion Dinner Dishes That Will Wow Your In-Laws This CNY.
The Teochew cuisine is simpler to prepare than a typically Cantonese one which is more elaborate and time consuming. This simple and healthy crowdpleaser can be whipped up in under an 1 hour. All you need is to have a bowl of piping hot steamed rice to go with the pomfret. There is no need to cook soup as the gravy in the fish doubles up as a tasty and healthy soup to go with the rice.The pomfret must be very fresh otherwise the fishiness after cooking will totally ruin the whole dish, and no amount of Chinese wine or Brandy will be able to salvage the disaster. So before you rush out to the market, read my article on The 10 Things You MUST Know About Choosing the Freshest Fish to ensure that the fish you are geting is fresh!
Teochew Steamed Chinese Pomfret (Dao Chior) Recipe
Chinese Silver Pomfret ( Dao Chior or Dou Chang) is usually served for special occasions, because it is very expensive
INGREDIENTS FOR TEOCHEW STEAMED CHINESE POMFRET (serves 6)
- Pomfret (Dao Chior), 1 (about 400gm)
- Salted Mustard (Kiam Chye), 1 stalk
- Sour Plum, 2-3
- Pork Fat, 4-5 slices
- Tomato, 2
- Dried Shitake Mushroom, medium size, 3
- Spring Onions, 2 Sprig
- Ginger, 5 slices
- Water, 2 rice bowls
- Sugar, 1 tsp
- Soya Sauce 1/2 tsp
- Oil, 1 TBsp
- Sesame Oil, 1/2 tsp
- Pepper, A Dash
- Chilli, 1 ( optional)
- Hua Tiao Chiew 花雕酒 (also known as Shao Xing Wine 绍兴酒), 1 TBsp
PREPARATION FOR TEOCHEW STEAMED CHINESE POMFRET ( 45 mins)
- Ensure the fish is properly scaled and all traces of blood clots and innards are thoroughly removed and washed off. See my article 6 Simple Steps to Scale and Clean Your Fish Like A Pro for more details.
- Pat the inside and outside of the fish dry with a kitchen towel.
- Slant the knife against the body of the fish and make two deep cut across it ( about 2″ apart) and on both sides of the fish ( in the direction of the fin towards the stomach). Insert the wedged tomato into the slit.This allows the inside of the fish to be evenly cooked.
- Place the fish on a stainless plate with deep sides.
- Wash the tomatoes, spring onion, ginger, pork fat, sour plum and mushroom
- Soak the mushroom in hot water for 1/2 half hr
- Remove the mushroom stalk and cut into 3 big slices
- Remove the skin from the ginger and cut into 4-5 slices.
- Cut the fat in big, thin slices
- Cut the spring onion into 2 inches lengthwise.
- Cut the kiam chye into thick slices and soak in warm water (enough water to cover just above the kiam chye) and soak for 15mins. Squeeze dry and set aside.
- Lightly mash the sour plum.
- Place the ginger slices, kiam chye, mushroom, sour plums including the seed, pork fat, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp soya sauce and the rest of the tomato on the plate as shown in the picture. Chilli may be added if you prefer.
- Add in 2 bowls of boiling water to the fish.
COOKING METHOD FOR TEOCHEW STEAMED CHINESE POMFRET (10 mins)
- In a wok, add enough water to cover the rack and boil over high heat.
- When it’s boiling, put the fish on the rack and cover it and steam for about 8 mins over high heat.
- When it is done, turn off the heat and put the spring onion on top of the fish.
- In a small pan, add 1 TBsp of oil and heat up till it very hot, pour over the spring onion.
- Add sesame oil and 1 TBsp of Hua Tiao Chiew, pepper and salt to taste.
- Before serving scoop the soup over the fish a few times so that the salt, oil, sugar, soya sauce will be evenly distributed.
- Serve hot
TOP TIPS FOR TEOCHEW STEAMED CHINESE POMFRET
- Adding ginger to the fish before steaming will help to mask the fishy smell. The ginger must be thinly sliced to give a more fragrant aroma
- Do NOT oversteam! 7-8 minutes for pomfret of 400-500gm (provided that there is enough water to cover the top of the steaming rack, and a stainless plate is used) is sufficient. The 2 bowls of water added to the fish must be boiling hot otherwise the cooking time will be different. For porcelain or oven-proof ware, an extra 2-3 minutes may be required. Make sure the water in the wok does overflow into the plate when it is boiling, otherwise the soup will have more water than necessary and it will be tasteless.
- During steaming, try not to open the cover. Otherwise the sudden drop in temperature will change the cooking time of the fish.
- After steaming, immediately remove the wok cover otherwise it will continue to cook. Use a chopstick to poke at the thickest part of the fish. If it flakes easily, the fish is cooked.
- Once the fish is steamed, immediately place the spring onions on top of the fish and pour the very hot oil over it. As you do, you will find the hot oil brings out a wonderful fragrance from the spring onions as well as the fish.
- 1 TB Hua Tiao Chiew or Brandy can be poured over the fish and serve immediately if you prefer. Its best to do this when the fish has just been removed from the heat to maximise the fragrance and flavours of the wine.
- Do not buy frozen fish for steaming. They are only good for deep frying.
- As the fish takes less than 10 mins to steam, steam the fish only when the dinner is ready to be served. Once the fish turns cold, it is not as delicious.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Baby/Toddler-Friendly: Steamed fish is an extremely healthy and nutritious food for weaned babies, toddlers and children. Before adding the Hua Tiao Chiew, set aside some meat from the tail section (which has the least bones) and mash finely (for younger babies) or coarsely (for older babies), being careful to ensure there are no bones. Serve with porridge or rice. Alternatively, some people like to use Indian Threadfin (Ngor Her) fillets for steaming. Just make sure you adjust the steaming time depending on the size of the fillet, so that the fish will not be overcooked.
- Child-Friendly: Take some meat from the tail section, being careful to ensure there are no bones.
- Confinement: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free soya sauce and gluten-free Chinese Rice Wine (Hua Tiao Chiew)
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
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|About The Burning Kitchen|
Hi! We are Bee Leng and Melissa, the mother-daughter team behind The Burning Kitchen. We love home cooking and we love sharing our family’s recipes with the world. We only ever share proven recipes that we have perfected ourselves, and which we write-up from scratch (no hidden steps, no secret sauces). And the best part is: our recipes are full of fantastic, and often, surprisingly easy tips from years of experience, that is bound to improve your cooking regardless of your current level! Read more.