Succulent seabass with a crisp skin, topped with ginger crisps and a soy dressing
This is a simple dish that is healthy, delicious and very quick to make. The hardest bit is julienning the ginger and this will come with a little practice. The recipe is adapted from a traditional Malaysian-Chinese recipe commonly served in seafood restaurants around Malaysia. It is also often made by families at home due to its simplicity. The main changes I have made are to use fillets rather than the whole fish, and to grill the fillets rather than deep fry them as is customary in Malaysia.
I usually serve this dish as a quick, mid-week dinner for both adults and children alike, with steamed rice and a warm broccoli salad. I have also made this as part of Asian-themed dinner parties and received rave reviews for them every time.
2 seabass fillets, descaled
approx. 5 inches of ginger (I make quite a lot as I love my ginger crisps, but you can make more or less of these depending on how much you like eating/cutting them).
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce*
2 tablespoons of light sauce*
Salt and pepper to taste
Some sunflower oil (or any mild tasting oil of your choice)
1) Clean and pat dry the seabass fillets. Season both sides with salt and black pepper. Lightly grease the bottom of a roasting pan/tray with some sunflower oil. Place the seabass skin side up and then turn over so that both sides end up lightly coated with some oil.
2) Skin and then julienne the ginger as finely as you can. This takes some practice, but is worth it in the end when you get light, crisp ginger pieces that complement the tender seabass wonderfully.
3) Heat some oil in a frying pan. I usually make sure that there is enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan in a thin layer of oil. This is to ensure that your ginger crisps cook evenly. Do not worry if it looks like a lot of oil, as not all of it will actually end up in the finished dish.
4)When your oil is hot, fry ginger crisps until crisp and golden. I usually do this on a medium heat, keeping a close eye on them as the crisps burn quite easily and you do not want to end up having to julienne another batch of ginger. Once ready, use a sieve to separate the ginger crisps and the oil. Save the leftover oil as you will need some later for the sauce. You can also save the ginger oil in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They can be a wonderful addition to salad dressings, adding a warm and spicy dimension to them.
5) Grill fish using an overhead grill for 3 minutes each side, starting first with the skin side down. I usually have it on the lowest setting to start with and then turn up to the next setting during the last minute to crisp up the skin. (If you do not have a grill, you can also simply pan-fry the fillets in a pan with a little oil for 2-3 minutes a side on a medium heat.)
6) When the fish is done, transfer them to your serving dish skin side up and spread the ginger crisps evenly over them.
7) Take a tablespoon of the leftover oil from frying the ginger earlier and heat that in the pan (I just use the pan I’d used to fry the ginger crisps). Add the soy sauces. When they start to bubble in the pan, remove from the heat and drizzle that over and around your fish.
Enjoy with steamed rice and whatever vegetables you feel like. We usually have it with a broccoli and pumpkin seed salad or some stir-fried vegetables.
*If you are unfamiliar with soy sauce, please refer to my quick note on the ingredient in this post.