Served whole at a Lunar New Year banquet, this steamed fish represents family and prosperity.
1 whole snapper (about 1.2kg)
80g young fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
½ bunch spring onion, finely sliced, green section only
120ml grapeseed oil
50ml light soy
50ml sweet ginger vinegar*
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and white pepper
½ bunch coriander, leaves picked and washed
½ bunch chrysanthemum, leaves picked and washed (optional)
1. Clean the snapper of any stray scales and pat dry inside and out with paper towel. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh on both sides of the fish, gently making incisions about one-centimetre deep across the fish. Season both sides with a little salt. Arrange the prepared fish on a piece of lightly oiled baking paper and place in your steamer basket. Top the fish with the ginger and spring onion.
2. Meanwhile, put two centimetres of water in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. When ready, place the steamer over the water, top with the lid and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork in the thickest part. I start checking this from time to time around the 10-minute mark.
3. Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing together the oil, soy, sweet ginger vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
4. When the fish is ready, remove from the steamer and carefully transfer the whole fish onto a large serving platter. Season the fish with a little salt and douse quite liberally with the dressing. Scatter the coriander and chrysanthemum leaves over the fish before serving.
Serve with my chilled noodles with sesame dressing as part of a Lunar New Year banquet.
*Sweet ginger vinegar is available at Asian and speciality grocers.