Get Steamed: Japanese-style tilapia

In Recipies on December 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

In ‘Eat your (Japanese-style) veggies’ I suggested serving steamed tilapia with the vegetable medley. Here’s a Japanese-inspired recipe for the fish.

Tilapia is a wonderfully versatile fish. It has a wonderfully mild, almost sweet, flavor and it has a silky, but firm texture. Its thin and delicate fillets can be baked, fried, poached, or steamed. Farm-raised tilapia is an economical alternative to flounder, halibut, or cod.

This is a simple-to-prepare recipe that is perfect for a light supper or lunch. It’s great for a weeknight supper, but it can be elegantly presented for an exotic special occasion meal as well. One, or two, palm-sized fillets provides an adequate portion for most adults.

You’ll need:

1 or 2 tilapia fillets per person

2 TBS soy sauce

2 TBS mirin

pinch ground ginger

pinch white pepper

4 green onions

Trim the green onions. Remove and reserve the dark green portions. Cut the white to light-green portion in half, lengthwise. Coarsely chop the dark green portion of the tops for garnish.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the fish and onions, in a shallow, non-reactive pan that is large enough to hold all of the fish in a single layer. Gently rinse the tilapia fillets and shake off any excess water. Lay the tilapia in the marinade and refrigerate for one hour, turning them once after thirty minutes.

If you would like a dipping sauce, prepare a second batch of marinade using the same ingredients in the same amounts. A pungent alternative dipping sauce can be made using equally mixed amounts of mirin and Sriracha sauce.

Prepare a steaming basket or rack. I prefer using a folding, metal steaming basket placed inside of a deep, 12-inch skillet. Add water to a level just below the bottom of the basket. The goal is to steam the fish, not poach it. To ensure that the fish fillets do not stick, I mist a bit of olive oil on the steamer basket leaves. Heat the skillet over medium heat until a gentle boil is reached. Lay the tilapia in a single layer on the rack or basket. Scatter the halved green onion portions over the fish, cover, and steam for 3-4 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flakes when forked. Serve with steamed white rice and Japanese-style vegetables. Garnish with the chopped green onion tops.

Serve with warm sake or ice-cold beer.


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