"I like the lightness of steamed fish," says Liong. "Barramundi lends itself perfectly to steaming - it's so juicy and tender, and pairs well with heavier winter flavours like pickles and preserved vegetables. I also like the savoury acidity that mustard greens add to this dish." Start this recipe three days ahead to make the ginger oil and salted chilli.
- 400 gm piece of barramundi, skin on and cut into 50gm pieces
- 60 gm pickled mustard greens, thinly sliced (see note)
- 20 gm ginger, peeled and cut into julienne
- 30 ml Shaoxing wine
- 2 spring onions, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup each (loosely packed) coriander and Thai basil
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 50 gm ginger, skin on and washed thoroughly
- 30 gm long red chilli, trimmed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 10 gm peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
- 3 tsp chilli crisp sauce (Lao Gan Ma brand)
- 2 tsp chopped fermented salted black beans (see note)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1¾ tbsp white soy sauce (see note)
- 1For ginger oil, blend oil and ginger in a blender until smooth, then place in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring and scraping base of pan often to prevent catching, until oil is fragrant (15-20 minutes). Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 days to infuse. Strain into a bowl through muslin or a fine strainer. This recipe makes more than you need here, but it will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a month.
- 2For salted chilli, process ingredients in a small food processor with a generous teaspoonful (6gm) of fine salt until finely chopped, then transfer to a container with a lid, cover and stand at room temperature overnight to ferment. Refrigerate in an airtight container until required.
- 3For chilli bean paste, combine ingredients and salted chilli in a bowl, then refrigerate overnight for flavours to develop.
- 4For white soy dressing, whisk ingredients and 50ml water in a bowl and set aside.
- 5Place barramundi on a large plate that fits inside a large steamer. Cover generously with chilli bean paste, top with mustard greens and ginger, pour Shaoxing over and steam over high heat, until fish is cooked and a skewer inserted pierces the flesh easily (10-12 minutes).
- 6To serve, transfer fish to a serving dish, pour dressing over, top with spring onions, coriander and Thai basil and drizzle with ginger oil to taste.
Note Pickled mustard greens and fermented salted black beans are available from Asian supermarkets. White soy sauce, also called shiro shoyu, is available from Japanese grocers such as Tokyo Mart and Chef's Armoury.
Drink Suggestion: A savoury pinot noir, such as a 2011 Glaetzer-Dixon Rêveur Pinot Noir. Drink suggestion by Masa Nishimoto