Saturday 9 March 2013

Teochew Fish Porridge by Vanessa Tay

Teochew Fish Porridge

(Recipe for 2 persons)


20 g dried prawns. Rinse and soak 10 minutes or longer in just enough water to cover
10 g dried squid body, quill discarded, at room temperature. With scissors, cut crosswise about 3 cm long; cut 10 g lengthwise into thin strips about 1 mm thick; rinse and soak in just enough water to cover till soft, about 20 minutes
200 g white fish fillet. Rinse and slice bite size 3-4 mm thick; mix evenly with 1 tsp light soya sauce; sprinkle with ½ tsp cornflour or tapioca starch and mix again
120 g long-grain jasmine rice
800-900 ml boiling water

1 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp 天津冬菜 (Tianjin/Tientsin pickled cabbage)
1 tbsp fried garlic or fried shallots
1 tbsp spring onions cut 3-4 mm thick
ground white pepper to taste

Prepare dried prawns, dried squid and fish as detailed above.

Put kettle on. Wash rice till water runs clear. Add dried prawns, along with soaking liquid, and 750 ml boiling water. Bring to a boil. Stir thoroughly to prevent rice from sticking. Keep rice boiling rapidly for 10 minutes, checking and stirring from time to time to make sure rice doesn't boil over.

Top up with boiling water if necessary, depending on how thick or thin you like your porridge. Continue boiling rapidly till rice is just soft but surface is still smooth without any sign of turning mushy, another 5 minutes or so.
Original recipe add the dried squid together with the soaking water only after adding the fish and turning off the fire. However, as I prefer the squid to be cooked, I add them (the squid and the soaking water) at this stage. Season porridge with 1 tsp light soya sauce and 天津冬菜. Add fish and stir through gently. Turn off heat once porridge returns to a gentle simmer.

Quickly taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Immediately transfer porridge to serving bowls to prevent fish from overcooking. Sprinkle with spring onions, fried garlic/shallots and ground white pepper.

Serve immediately with light soya sauce or light brown taucheo (fermented soya beans) as a dip, with lime juice and/or thinly sliced bird's eye chillies added if you like, to bring out the sweetness of the fish. Fish porridge is best eaten steaming hot.
Recipe adapted from and slightly modified.

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