Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Awesome sauce and average fish

Conscious that I had not yet made any fish recipes, I was flicking through the fish chapter, trying to decide what I could make. Sweet and sour fish (p119) jumped out at me because the list of ingredients read like an inventory of my fridge and cupboards. The only thing I needed was some fish.

The recipe suggests several possible types of firm white fish - snapper; trevally; tarakihi or orange roughy. When I reached the Pak N Save fish counter, however, none of the above was available. At the suggestion of a friendly fish counter man, I got some monkfish instead.

The recipe is, as the name suggests, basically fish in a sweet and sour sauce. Firstly you put the fish in an oven dish, season and set it aside while you make the sauce: fry up an onion with some green pepper, then mix up the following and add it to the pan: pineapple juice; grated root ginger; brown sugar; soy sauce; spiced vinegar and some cornflour to thicken.

The sauce thickens quite quickly, and you then pour it over the fish, cover and bung it in the oven for 25 minutes. The sauce was very thick to begin with, but by the time it was cooked, quite a lot of liquid had come out of the fish, so the sauce had a better consistency.

After cooking, you stir through chunks of pineapple and cucumber - a bit tricky without flaking up all the fish pieces - and serve on rice.

The sweet and sour sauce was really really good. I think perhaps it was my home-made spiced vinegar that gave it such a nice tangy taste, but it would probably still be good with the bought stuff. In contrast, I found that the fish itself was decidedly average. I don't think monkfish was the best choice for this recipe - given the option I'd choose tarakihi instead - but really I'm not entirely sure that sweet and sour sauce is a good match for any kind of fish.

I see that at some point I will be making sweet and sour pork. The sauce in the pork recipe looks similar, but not quite the same. It'll be interesting to see how it measures up.

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