Friday, 23 August 2013

Steamed Seabass, Crispy Sea Purslane, and Mad people



There are two kinds of cooks I think. One thinks of a dish and then sets out with her list to get all the ingredients for that dish. The other just walks around aimlessly getting her ingredients (often too much) and then thinks of a dish after. I'm the second one, unfortunately. I wish I were more organised. I probably would save a lot more money and time. I see what I like, I bring it home, and then somehow, one way or another, it all works out on the dinner plate. 

You see, I think the cooking bit just happens naturally with great produce. I stroke and gush about the fuzzy skin on peaches, I stick my nose into bushes of herbs and I nibble at unidentified flowers. I wake up at 5am on a Saturday morning to work (i.e. stroke and sniff and nibble) at the farmer's market. I know it all sounds more than slightly mad now so I will stop.

Anyway, I am not the only mental one. It's always nice to find people who are a little mad, mad in the same way and about the same things.  That's the people at Natoora. Franco has gone to great lengths to hunt down the best of every single thing they sell, be it the sweetest nectarine ever or the most carefully grown potato. I see you rolling your eyes now and saying 'Oh, sell-out!" but I would just like to say that I would never ever write about anything I don't truly like or believe in. I don't put up ads on my blog because I hate how ugly they look; I don't blog about the latest restaurant and hope to get invited to their next opening. I'm a rubbish blogger I know – I probably am just as poor as I am when I first started blogging. But I'm writing about these people now, because I know and love that these people truly take pride in what they do. 



This is a dish made using sea purslane from Natoora. Sea purslane is a plant that grows along the Essex coast in summer and its tiny leaves reatain all that lovely natural saltiness from the sea. Because it's so naturally salty, everyone I asked couldn't suggest more than using it sparingly in raw salads; the most exciting suggestion I had was to pickle it. I've gone to make this (read title). I don't even want to say it again because it sounds so horribly pretentious. But everything about this is simple. It took me a total of 10 minutes to make this, and a total of four things went into it (a far cry from my previous post on sayur lodeh). This is using a very classic Chinese technique of steaming fish in a little rice wine and then pouring hot oil over. I've just added the sea purslane garlic and chopped chillies to this hot oil so you  also get a wonderful heat and fragrance and a bonus of salty sea purslane crisps.

STEAMED SEABASS AND CRISPY SEA PURSLANE
Serves 1
Ingredients
1 seabass fillet 
1 handful of sea purslane leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
pinch of unrefined sea salt
1 tbsp of groundnut oil

Method
1. Wash and pat fish dry, then place on a plate and rub evenly with the shaoxing wine and salt.
2. Set up a steamer by putting a rack over a wok/ pot of boiling water; no need for fancy bamboo steamers. Place the plate of fish on the rack and steam until just cooked; it took me less than 2 minutes.
3. Remove the fish and set aside. Empty the wok of water and fill with oil. When sizzling hot, add the garlic, chilli and sea purslane leaves and fry till fragrant and crispy.
4. Immediately pour the hot oil over the fish and spoon the crispy sea purslane, garlic, and chilli over. 
* You can also fry more and use that completely addictive topping over noodles or shove straight into your mouth.


So that's it really, 10 minutes and 4 ingredients, but using the best of what some mad people and the British waters have to offer.

On another note,

***NEWSFLASH***
I will be cooking at Street Feast London tomorrow from noon to midnight. On the menu will be pork belly/ Cornish summer lamb satays, complete with steamed rice cakes and homemade peanut sauce and all that shizzle. Oh and achar, a nonya pickle made using this season's vegetables.  Again, just good food made with the best of British produce. There's gonna be some massive vibes going on down there – see you there yo!







Related recipes:
Sizzling Steamed Whole Flounder
Herrings, roasted with hot stuff (Kaffir lime leaf crisps are amazing)

46 comments:

  1. Looks AMAZING as usual Shuhan! See you tomorrow and I would love some SATAY!

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    1. See you there wendy! Can't wait! Swapsies for some cake ? ;)

      Delete
    2. NGIN MERASAKAN KEMENANGAN DI DALAM BERMAIN TOGEL TLP KI ANGEN JALLO DI NMR (_0_8_5_2_8_3_7_9_0_4_4_4_) JIKA INGIN MENGUBAH NASIB KAMI SUDAH 7X TERBUKTI TRIM’S ROO,MX SOBAT


      NGIN MERASAKAN KEMENANGAN DI DALAM BERMAIN TOGEL TLP KI ANGEN JALLO DI NMR (_0_8_5_2_8_3_7_9_0_4_4_4_) JIKA INGIN MENGUBAH NASIB KAMI SUDAH 7X TERBUKTI TRIM’S ROO,MX SOBAT

      Delete
    3. APAKAH ANDA TERMASUK DALAM KATEGORI INI;
      1: DILILIT HUTANG
      2: SELALU KALAH DALAM BERMAIN TOGEL
      3: BUTUH MODAL DALAM BUKA USAHA
      4: PENGLARIS USAHA
      5: BARANG BERHARGA ANDA SUDAH HABIS
      BUAT JUDI TOGEL
      ANDA SUDAH KEMANA MANA TAPI TIDAK MENDAPATKAN
      Jangan Anda Putus Asa…Karna anda sudah berada di kata kata yang sangat tepat,
      AKI akan membantu anda dengan angka ritual AKI…

      ?Terima Kasih AKI..Nomor Ritual yang kami Terima SGP 4D (1648)Tembus 100%..Hingga Kami sekarang bisa melunasi hutang-hutang kami sekeluarga…sekali lagi terima kasih kepada AKI yang kini telah merubah hidup saya…yg dulu selalu di kejar-kejar hutang..sekarang kami bisa bernafas lega..berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH ingin seperti saya Hub: (((_082-313-336-747_))) tepat/terbukti..
      dijamin 100% jebol saya sudah buktikan…sendiri


























      APAKAH ANDA TERMASUK DALAM KATEGORI INI;
      1: DILILIT HUTANG
      2: SELALU KALAH DALAM BERMAIN TOGEL
      3: BUTUH MODAL DALAM BUKA USAHA
      4: PENGLARIS USAHA
      5: BARANG BERHARGA ANDA SUDAH HABIS
      BUAT JUDI TOGEL
      ANDA SUDAH KEMANA MANA TAPI TIDAK MENDAPATKAN
      Jangan Anda Putus Asa…Karna anda sudah berada di kata kata yang sangat tepat,
      AKI akan membantu anda dengan angka ritual AKI…

      ?Terima Kasih AKI..Nomor Ritual yang kami Terima SGP 4D (1648)Tembus 100%..Hingga Kami sekarang bisa melunasi hutang-hutang kami sekeluarga…sekali lagi terima kasih kepada AKI yang kini telah merubah hidup saya…yg dulu selalu di kejar-kejar hutang..sekarang kami bisa bernafas lega..berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH ingin seperti saya Hub: (((_082-313-336-747_))) tepat/terbukti..
      dijamin 100% jebol saya sudah buktikan…sendiri

      Delete
  2. love your food styling/ photography! Every time!! Great post!

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    1. That is so lovely, coming from you- THE hottest food stylist around! xx

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  3. So pretty - let's cook together one day. Buon Weekend x s

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  4. Your photos are amazing. Beautiful light and the seabass looks so mouthwatering. I've never heard of sea purslane before so that's a new one on me. Enjoy cooking at Street Feast tomorrow, sounds great!

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    1. Aw thanks so much Caz! Sea purslane is quite new to me too! I've had a similar coast vegetable- samphire but never sea purslane. Was a lot of fun playing around with it.

      It will be a blast- I hope. Well minus the rain..

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  5. I'm the second one too. Haphazardly grabbing stuff off the shelves! Sea bass looks incredible and very tasty. Good luck with the food cooking. Xx

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    1. Hi 5, fellow bad-planner!

      Thanks Dom- so excited for it! Wish you lived nearer- I'll stuff you with satays!

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  6. This makes me want to come to Essex just to give that purslane a try! I admire so much that you are able to just get a bunch of great ingredients, and create from there. It's such an organic, creative way to cook, and it only flies with someone who knows what they're doing like you! :-)

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    Replies
    1. I wish I could mail you some- but they die so quickly! But that;s the beauty of cooking with what you've got around you- we don't have stuff like meyer lemons like you do in the US!

      Haha aw that's sweet Helene- I, on the other hand, admire how you can plan a whole week's worth of amazing meals for Pablo and be all cool and organised about it ;)

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  7. Your blog is so precious. (I don't eat fish but it looks nice)

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  8. Perfect - just perfect! Can't wait to replicate this - and this time, I'll try to do a clever grocery shopping :)

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    1. Thanks Valeria! I'm so glad the Venetian (and Mr Natoora) approves!

      Ha! Yes.. the organised cook... (hangs head in shame)

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  9. Just gorgeous, Shuhan. I recently went on a seashore foraging course with John Wright (Hugh F-W's pal) and we found loads of sea purslane. I had to run to catch up with the group as I was taking photos and nibbling this delicate, minerally plant. What a lovely and simple pairing with the seabass.

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    1. WHUUUUUTTTT. You went foragining with John Wright? Completely jealous! Did you manage to get hold of any of the sea purslane then? Thanks Kellie! It is so wonderfully salty and delicate– naturally works so well with seafood!

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  10. Hi Shu Han! So, you are one of the mad people? But mad in a good way lah...I think it takes much talent to cook a dish with a hodge podge of ingredients and no prior planning. Mad genius? Hey, you've got it! Stunning dish by they way :)

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    1. I don't know if it's talent; I would call it "winging it". Thank you though haha!

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  11. Awesome!! It's like Cantonese steamed fish? YUM!! x

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    1. Yeah! But with bonus crispy salty bits and fragrant garlic and chilli! So not just a neutral hot oil being poured over. So simple but ups the yum factor x10!

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  12. Sometimes the simple things are the best just like your beautiful Sea bass-4 ingredient wonder. I think I am more like you I bring items home from the market that look fresh and then somehow or some way dinner evolves from that. You can't go wrong with fresh ingredients.

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    1. Good to know we both have the same approach towards cooking! That's the way my mum does it too, so I have been thought to think that way I think. She goes to the market, picks up the best ingredients for the day and then goes home and starts having a headache when she packs the fridge and plans dinner :p

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  13. Ooh, purslane, isn't that what Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall went out to pick on the beach in one of his shows? Intriguing... I don't think it's something I'll be seeing here any time soon alas but it looks fantastic!

    Did you get your phone back in the end perchance?

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    Replies
    1. Everyone keeps talking about how HFW went to pick sea purslane! I haven't watched that episode. I want to now!!

      NO. Sigh. I've lost all hope in the goodness of mankind.

      Delete
  14. The simplest dishes are usually the best... and this is one fine example of it. It looks so elegant too. Love seeing the stalls pictures on Instagram. Shame I couldn't be there :(

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    1. Thank you so much Michael! :)

      I wish you went! Would be so much fun! Come for my next gig, whatever it may be!

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    2. Syukur ALHAMDULILLAH hal yang tidak pernah terbayankan dan tidak pernah terpikirkan kalau saya bisa seperti ini,mungkin dulu saya adalah orang yang paling termiskin didunia,karna pekerjaan saya cuma pemulun dan pendapatan saya tidak bisa mengcukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dan suatu saat kami kumpul baren sesama pemulun dan ada teman saya yg berkata,ada dukun yang bisa menembus semua nomor yg namanya MBAH KABOIRENG dan saya meminta nomor MBAH KABOIRENG pada teman saya,dan tanpa banyak pikir saya langsun menghubungi MBAH KABOIRENG dan alhamdulillah dgn senang hati MBAH KABOIRENG ingin membantu saya asalkan saya bisa memenuhi pendaftaran untuk masuk member,dan saya dibantu dalam 5x putaran dan alhamdulillah itu semuanya benar benar terbukti tembus,saya sangat berterimah kasih banyak kepada MBAH KABOIRENG berkat bantuan beliau,sekaran saya sdh mau membuka usaha untuk masa depan kami dan sankin senannya saya tidak bisa mengunkapkan dengan kata kata,bagi anda yang ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH KABOIRENG di 0823~2221~2111 MBAH KABOIRENG memang para normal yg paling terhebat dan tidak seperti para normal yg lainnya yg kerjanya cuma bisa menguras uang orang,jika ada yang memakai atau mengambil pesan ini tanpa ada nama MBAH KABOIRENG dan nomor beliau itu cuma penipuan dan itu cuma palsu,,ingat kesempatan tidak datang untuk kedua kalinya. KLIK TOGEL JITU DISINI


      Syukur ALHAMDULILLAH hal yang tidak pernah terbayankan dan tidak pernah terpikirkan kalau saya bisa seperti ini,mungkin dulu saya adalah orang yang paling termiskin didunia,karna pekerjaan saya cuma pemulun dan pendapatan saya tidak bisa mengcukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dan suatu saat kami kumpul baren sesama pemulun dan ada teman saya yg berkata,ada dukun yang bisa menembus semua nomor yg namanya MBAH KABOIRENG dan saya meminta nomor MBAH KABOIRENG pada teman saya,dan tanpa banyak pikir saya langsun menghubungi MBAH KABOIRENG dan alhamdulillah dgn senang hati MBAH KABOIRENG ingin membantu saya asalkan saya bisa memenuhi pendaftaran untuk masuk member,dan saya dibantu dalam 5x putaran dan alhamdulillah itu semuanya benar benar terbukti tembus,saya sangat berterimah kasih banyak kepada MBAH KABOIRENG berkat bantuan beliau,sekaran saya sdh mau membuka usaha untuk masa depan kami dan sankin senannya saya tidak bisa mengunkapkan dengan kata kata,bagi anda yang ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH KABOIRENG di 0823~2221~2111 MBAH KABOIRENG memang para normal yg paling terhebat dan tidak seperti para normal yg lainnya yg kerjanya cuma bisa menguras uang orang,jika ada yang memakai atau mengambil pesan ini tanpa ada nama MBAH KABOIRENG dan nomor beliau itu cuma penipuan dan itu cuma palsu,,ingat kesempatan tidak datang untuk kedua kalinya. KLIK TOGEL JITU DISINI

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  15. First visit to your blog. Love the gorgeous looking recipes, beautiful shots and the way you write. It's fun and very informative.

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  16. I really need to be more discplined and organised too... and start steaming food more often. Especially fish. Yours looks amazingly beautiful (like all of your food photos) and sounds delicious. I have never had purslane, but it's one of the "IN" herbs of the moment in France I think. I am not sure if I have ever heard about sea purslane. I must check if I can grow at least the "standard" purslane.
    I hope you have had wonderful time cooking!

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    1. I try but I can't! And I guess this makes cooking all the more fun :)

      That's funny, I would have thought you steam stuff all the time because you cook so much Japanese food! If you don't, then you really should steam fish more- so simple and so light and delicious. Lends itslef well to all sorts of Japanese marinades etc too.

      Haha I don't know about it being "in", but it is delicious!

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  17. You do not write a rubbish blog. What you are doing with your blog is completely admirable and it's incredibly refreshing and time worthwhile to be reading something that's of substance, both literally and aesthetically. (: I was brought up in Singapore like yourself, but have been residing in Vancouver for the last 12 years. Really like your recipes and the way you construct every dish. If you ever make the trek out to this side of the world, please reach out!

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    1. Wow thank you so so so much. Really, you made my day with your comment. I read it in my mailbox notification this morning and it put me in such a good mood for the rest of the day :)

      Of course, if I ever get to go to Vancouver, I'm turning up at your doorstep! x

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  18. There is absolutely no shame in being the second kind of cook! Sometimes I wish I'd let go of the organisation more, although I can already see that starting to be less priority the longer I blog and get comfortable with what I'm doing and how I'm presenting it. These photos are stark and beautiful—I've got to try some sea purslane sometime.
    IN OTHER NEWS, I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE COOKING AT STREET FEAST?! You're actually my hero, you know. I took my classmates there on a field trip once because I couldn't stand not sharing its glory with anybody who was smart enough to listen.

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    1. Ha, well I'm not totally ashamed about it, but I do wish I was better ar planning! Would save me tons of time and money! Like you, I'm learning though. Especially for when I have to cook for a crowd!

      WAH THANK YOU YOU MADE ME BLUSH. Come for my next gig ok! Whatever/whenever/wherever, I don't know yet, but I'll keep you posted and you must come xx

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  19. It looks comforting and delicious – yum!!

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  20. Your photography is just dreamy!

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  21. Hi Shu Han, I like the madness in you. You're cute and with great sense of humour. Excellent posting! I'm the second kind of cook, often over stock my fridge and think later what to cook. LOL

    Your steamed seabass look inviting.

    Have a fun weekend.

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  22. AMAZING stuff Shu Han! This recipe is so quick, simple, delicious and HEALTHY. Never had purslane leaves before not even sure if they have it here in Melbourne. Love the plating with having the garnish strewn across the plate on the fish. YUM!

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    1. Thanks so much wince! I love steaming fish because it takes 5 min from start to finish and I feel so saintly when I eat it haha. I'm sure melbourne has their own version of sea vegetables that you could experiment with- you guys have some spanking produce there too!

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  23. After the summer feasts, I promised myself to start a diet... In september... At some point... I can't imagine a healthier recipe to start with!
    BTW I might be as mad as you... buy, buy, buy ergo cook (I guess I fall into the 2nd category too ha ha ha...)

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    1. Aw you don't need a diet you gorgeous one! But do make this :D

      Hi 5, all we bad bad planners.

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