Friday, 3 August 2012

Recipe - Steam Toman (Snakehead) Fillet With Oyster Sauce

The toman (snakehead) fish is probably the freshest fish found in the wet market in Singapore. Most wet markets sell this fish, confined only to one or two stalls. The fish is killed just before the fillet is put on sale. Sometimes when demand is more than expected, you have to wait for the live ones to be killed. The fish is both imported from South East Asia as well as bred in Singapore.

Fish provides high quality protein, vitamins A and B and a generous amount of phosphorus, potassium, and calcium that will nourish the body. It is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for a healthy heart. Fish is also a brain food, providing nutrients for a healthy nervous system.

Before steaming
The toman fish is prized for its wound healing properties, sought after as a diet for women during confinement period or for post-surgical patients. It's high albumin contents helps quick recovery and is also very suitable for growing children. Albumin provides the body with the protein to maintain growth and to repair tissues.

The fish is so fresh that I tried to eat it raw, just like shasimi. The meat is a bit chewy when raw so you need sharp teeth to enjoy the raw fish. Anyway it is safer to eat cooked fish.

The toman fillet can be bought without skin and without bones and nicely sliced from the wet markets or supermarkets at about $20 - $22 a kg. It can also be bought with or without skin but with bones from the supermarkets at about $12 a kg. You can save a few dollars by taking off the bones and skin yourself.

toman can walk on land for a few hours
The fillet is very versatile. It can be steamed on its own as in this recipe. It is often used for fish head bee hoon, fish porridge and also in making seafood hor fun. It can be stir fried as well.

400 grams toman fillet, boneless, skinless and sliced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 slices of ginger
1 sprig spring onion, cut into 1 inch length
2 small chilies, slice
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tbs light soy
1 tbs oil

The fresh fish has no odour, so just lightly rinse them and lay them on a steaming plate.
Mix the oyster sauce and light soy in a bowl and spoon over the fillets
Put the sliced ginger and some spring onion over the fillet (see picture)
Steam over medium heat for about 6 minutes (sliced fish cook faster).
Discard the ginger and onion used for steaming.

In a small bowl, toss in the chopped garlic and oil. Mix well.
Heat the garlic in microwave on high for about 1 to 2 minutes to make crispy garlic
Spoon the crispy garlic and oil over the fish, garnish and serve.

A nice 4 minute video on how to steam fish

In this 8 minute video in Taiwanese, a mixture of hokkien and mandarin, the fish fillet is flavoured with salt and pepper and then steamed for about 5 minutes. Hot bean paste is fried separately to give fragrance to the oil. The oil is then poured over crushed soya beans and the soya beans is then fried till crispy. The crispy soya beans are spooned over the steamed fish for flavor and to give a crispy taste to the fish.


A nice and easy to steam fish fillet with Thai style chilli sauce


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