Bread and Batter, Seafood, Snack

Fish Tacos

So after watching Trevor Noah on Netflix about tacos, I felt that today is the right time to make them. 1. I have just bought tortilla wraps 2. I have sour cream and mixed cheddar cheese 3. I have frozen white fish. I also have two pieces of sirloin steaks in case there wasn’t enough fish.

For the fish marinade, I just used lime juice, olive oil, smoked paprika powder, fresh garlic mince, coriander leaves and salt and black pepper. Pan fry till cooked.

For the sirloin, I used leftover spice mix form the kabsah rice recipe. And pan fry in the hot pan till done.

For the white sauce, I mixed a tub of sour cream with a tub of Greek yogurt, added a tablespoon of Japanese mayo and seasoned with salt.

For the toppings, shredded cabbage, bottled picked jalapeño slices, bottled salsa, shredded mixed cheddar, finely diced onions and coriander leaves.

Tacos is really delicious and I get why a lot of Americans love it. However, it is SUPER messy to eat and not something I’d eat in public. Or bring to work. 😅

Regardless, it’s a lovely change and for us, two pieces of tacos is enough. In the end, we all finished up the fish and the steak slices were eaten on its own as a snack.

Assembly counter. I forgot to add wedges of limes are essential. Squeeze over the tacos before eating!
It’s hard to make tacos stand upright!
All mine! Yummy yummy!
Will definitely try making fish tacos again!

Rice, Seafood

Prawn Paella

There’s a new store in town that’s easily becoming a favourite. Australian wholesome food brand – Scoop – just landed on our shores and their latest outlet happens to be near enough for me to hop down easily. So last week after work I took a short outing and got several things there, including paella rice. The next day, I made prawn paella.

I adapted from a recipe I got from here so if you want the original, click below:

https://www.google.com.sg/amp/s/www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/fish-and-seafood/quick-prawn-paella/amp/

For me, the first thing which I did was to marinade huge prawns that I got from the supermarket with sea salt and garlic powder. Then using good butter, I fried the prawns till done. The result was very good because the aroma from the butter will seep into the prawns. Delicious sweet buttery garlicky prawns! Set aside after frying them.

For the rice, I followed the recipe in the site but omitted the onions. I used 2 cups of rice and 500ml of organic vegetable stock. The rice, however, you need to keep a good look out for it. If the water dries out faster than the rice is cooked, then add more water. Season with salt when you add more water.

Sauté garlic and capsicum. I omitted onions but please add them.
Add the paella rice.
Add a big pinch of saffron threads and one teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Add salt and two teaspoons of salt. Lower heat and simmer till rice is done.
When rice is almost done, add frozen peas and cover.
Make sure to taste the rice for doneness.
Arrange cooked prawns on bed of rice and sprinkle coriander/cilantro leaves.
I served with a side of baked chicken wings.

And there you have it! The recipe works but you’ve also got to use your common sense and adapt as you cook. One thing the website did not state is that you’ve got to have that crispy bottom rice which you have to get by turning up the heat after it’s done and ensuring the bottom of the rice is crispy and toasty, not burnt. I just regularly checked the bottom and patted the mixture down as I’m heating it up. The toasty bottom bit makes it all worthwhile! End off with a round of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Delicioso!

Asian Dishes, Seafood

Fried Garoupa with Sweet and Sour Sauce

It’s still Chinese New Year here and hence the price of fish here is exorbitant. Well, generally prices of foods and goods here are crazy high compared to elsewhere but with CNY, it’s worse when it comes to fish. But I forgot. And I had to feed the family. And so I went home with two small pieces of greasy Garoua for $30 SGD. My mom was so shocked when I told her the story.

Which meant that I had to make sure the fish did justice to my pocket! Inspired by Marion (she has like the best YouTube channel ever!), I tried to emulate her fried fish with sweet and sour sauce.

First step. Frying the fish. We all will never have a pan big enough to fry a whole fish. And even though my pricey Garoua were small, I still had that tail overhang and of course while trying to get that part cooked, I killed it. Haha. So I suggest getting a giant wok or getting a smaller fish. Marion’s step to coat it with corn flour first works.

So there’s the fish, coated with flour )but before that rubbed with some salt) frying away. And while that’s frying, you make the sauce.

In a saucepan, add a bit of oil and sesame oil then sauté minced garlic. Add sliced ginger (I used about 6 small pieces) and then diced capsicums. You should add cubes onion pieces too but in my household nobody eats onions so I had to omit that. Then add freshly cubes pineapple pieces. Marion said you’ve got to use fresh. I had no choice but to use canned. She was right, fresh is better. I also added one finely chopped green chilli padi, or bird eye’s chilli.

For the saucy bit, add a bit of water (enough to cover the vegetables), then four tablespoons of brown sugar, one teaspoon of tamarind paste, one tablespoon of soy sauce and a splash of lemon juice. You should add a bit of Chinese five spice powder but I had forgotten that. I added as well one tablespoon of Heinz All Natural ketchup.

And then that’s I! Voila! Sprinkle with lots of fresh coriander and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal that would really cost much more in restaurants (despite my complaints of pricey fish during CNY period).

I had made a simple soy sauce fried sea prawns to go with the fish as well. Hence that plate of prawns in the background.

Try it but be prepared to do lots of cleaning up too! Frying fish and seafood is a lot of mess. 😅

Asian Dishes, Seafood

Sambal Stingray

Recently the Girl has grown more adventurous in her food taste. A growing teen means you’ll have to start catering not only kiddy food at home but also adultish food so one day she asked for a favourite hawker dish here in this region.

Stingray or a type of skate fish? I’m not sure what it’s called elsewhere is a delicious fish when grilled with sambal and in banana leaf.

It’s actually simple to make! It was my first time making this fish dish and now that I know how to, I’ll be making it at least once every few months.

The first step is to make the sambal. I’ve gotten quite lazy because I’ve had to cook almost every day recently and making your own dried chilli paste is too much work. Thankfully, dried chilli paste now comes in a jar! How convenient.

So in a blender goes two or three red onions (the sizes here are much smaller than in the West. I think it’s called Indian onions here?), garlic, two stalks of tender lemongrass stems, two tablespoons of dried chilli paste from the jar, some leftover sambal belacan from a jar (original recipes just call for belacan, fermented shrimp paste but this whole ingredient can be omitted), and ginger. And with modern conveniences, I also used ginger garlic paste from a jar.

Fry the finely blended chilli paste mixture in quite a lot of oil till the oil separates. You can add a few pieces of kaffir lime leaves for the added aroma and a teaspoon of tamarind paste. I’ve added my tamarind in the blender so I didn’t have to add more. Then, lay a piece of softened banana leaf on a baking tray. Place some of the cooked sambal on it. Place the fish on and then smother with more of the sambal. Either grill in the oven or do it over a pan (but with a lid to cook). Serve with plenty of cut Calamansi limes. Delicious!

Asian Dishes, Seafood

Cencaru Bakar Sambal (Baked Scadfish in Sambal)

There’s a firm favourite fish amongst the Malays from the ladies side. Most men I know do not like this fish. It has quite a strong smell but once cooked, it’s delicious. It has a firm flesh, the skin a bit tough so you can’t eat the crispy skin. You’ve got to peel the out skin first after cooking to enjoy the firm sweet meaty flesh.

In Malay, this fish is called cencaru and even the local fishmongers know that it’s well liked by the Malays and not so by the other races. If not why would he tempt me by calling out just as I was walking or if the supermarket, ‘Ikan cencaru nak tak?’ (Do you want this cencaru fish?’ Haven’t eaten this fish in years, I caved and walked back to him, and before I knew it, I had three fish in my hand.

It’s best eaten fried or baked with sambal or soy sauce chilli padi dip. I made the first version, or rather got the Helper to do so for me.

We first made the sambal paste together and cooked the sambal through. After that, slit the top part of the fish and stuff as much sambal as you can. Before this, we seasoned the fish with salt and ground turmeric. And then bake. My kitchen smelled of fish! But afterwards, when the fish was done and the house smelled normal again, we both enjoyed eating the fish with hot plain rice. It’s a kampong favourite and us so modern in our sanitized public apartments have forgotten to appreciate the foods of the past.

Sambal paste

1. blend soft already boiled down dried chillies (about 20 pieces) with three onions and four cloves of garlic till very fine.

2. Fry over medium heat till cooked.

3. Add a bit of tamarind paste, salt and sugar to taste. The sambal should be sweet and tangy.