Sunday lunches have always been special. It's the weekend and one has all the time that one needs to enjoy and savour each and every mouthful of lunch. No rush ..... a leisurely Sunday afternoon lunch is something that these four foodies at home always look forward to.
Come to think of it, we've also had phases - there was a phase when Sunday lunch meant biryani and raita. There have been many such. Nowadays, if we happen to make a trip across to City'super on Saturday, then Sunday lunch, invariably, is fish. I'm yet to find such excellent quality fish anywhere else in HK. The variety too, in City'super, is mind boggling. It is pricey in comparison with some of the other supermarkets in HK but the quality more than makes up for it - the Sea Bass was HKD 60 per 100gms but the staff at City'Super also clean the fish, take out the bones and the skin, upon request. So all that remains is cooking those lovely fillets, as we wish, to perfection.
One such trip to City'Super yesterday saw us once again in the seafood section. Just as we were trying to make up our minds between the fresh tuna steaks and the fresh Tasmanian Salmon cuts, one of the staff walked up with a banana leaf, placed that on the ice and yet another staff brought in 4 lovely cuts of fresh white sea bass. One look at that and we were hooked. Two of those lovely cuts of White Sea Bass made their way home with us.
Today's lunch - presented by Chef Vic - was Baked White Sea Bass with Drunken Baby Potatoes and Cumin Rice.
Fresh White Sea Bass Fillets : 4 (each fillet weighed about 200 gms)
Chopped Spring Onions / Scallions : the green and the white portion
2 inch piece of ginger : julienned
Rock Salt / Sea salt : to taste
Wash the fish fillets and evenly sprinkle half of the julienned ginger and the chopped spring onion at the base of the baking pan. Place the fish fillets on the bed of ginger and spring onion. Sprinkle the other half of the julienned ginger and chopped spring onion on top of the fish fillets. Sprinkle rock salt. Bake uncovered at 200 degrees celsius for 20 mins (do not preheat the oven).
Drunken Baby Potatoes
12 baby potatoes - boiled until it is just cooked
about 75 ml : Chinese Rice Wine
Halve the baby potatoes. Do not peel the skin. Soak the baby potatoes in the rice wine for half an hour. Once marinated in the rice wine, line the baby potatoes in the baking pan (skin side down) and pour whatever is left of the marinade onto the potatoes. Sprinkle rock salt and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 20 mins (do not preheat oven).
We baked the fish fillets and the baby potatoes together in the same pan.
1 cup Thai Rice
2 tsps cumin seeds
3 pinches of salt (table salt)
1 tsp oil
Roast the cumin seeds until very light brown. The aroma of the cumin seeds will tell you when it is done.
Add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of Thai Rice. We cook the rice in a stone pot. Add the oil, salt and the roasted cumin seeds and let the rice cook in the stone pot until it starts bubbling away. Turn off the gas (there will be liquid on top of the rice) , cover the stone rice pot and the rest of the cooking gets done in the heat that is retained by the stone pot.
Lunch, cooked by Chef Vic today, was absolutely divine. Best part - it was so very healthy too. No fat, no oil needed (the fish had enough Omega oils). Using rock salt is very important - do not use table salt or cooking salt. The rock salt ensures that the entire fish fillet does not become salty. This way you get to enjoy the natural taste of the fish (I have to add here that this fish was like butter - melt in the mouth texture). When you least expect it, you get a grain of rock salt and as your teeth crunch into that grain, the resultant explosion of tastes simply rocks you. It brings out all the flavours at once - the buttery flavour of the fish, the pungency of the ginger, the exotic taste of the spring onions - it is all there. Fish, ginger and spring onions are like marriages made in heaven. Sublime and divine and they complement each other supremely.