Southeast Asian-style Vegetables and Fish

In Recipies on February 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Steaming is an efficient one-pot way to cook an entire meal. Depending on the meal, all of the ingredients may be steamed together. Or, items may be added or removed according to their cooking times. In my kitchen, I either use one of the simple, folding (inside-the-pot) steamers or my tiered electric steamer (Breville). I’m not a fan of the traditional Asian steam baskets that are made out of bamboo. They can be a nightmare to clean and they retain flavors. If you don’t dry them thoroughly or if you store them incorrectly, they mold. The following recipe is fast and easy, even if you are new to steam cookery. Enjoy!

We love the piquant flavors found in Southeast Asian cuisine. This is a fast to prepare meal that offers up those complex flavors with a minimum of cleanup. Serve it in large, pho-style bowls with a minimum of rice.

The fish (or crab/lobster) are fully steamed prior to starting the vegetables and the chili-ginger sauce is prepared while the vegetables are steaming. A bit of rice covers the bottom of large, individual bowls for serving and the vegetable-fish mixture gets gently tossed and placed on top of the rice. Finally, a generous amount of sauce is poured over each steaming bowl.

I found a source of artificial crab and lobster that does not contain shellfish flavorings that are prohibited by our Invisible Friend. It such matters are important to you and you are unable to find acceptable fake crab and lobster, substitute a delicately flavored fish like tilapia. The ersatz crab and lobster has an advantage over substituting fish, it comes already cooked and you merely scatter it over the vegetables before pouring on the delicious sauce.

You’ll need (per two servings):

4 oz artificial crab or lobster (flake style)

1 head bok choy

8-10 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces (include green parts)

1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 TBS canola or peanut oil

2 TBS Sriracha sauce

2 TBS cooking mirin

2 TBS fish sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp minced ginger (or ½ tsp ground)

2 C (cooked) white rice

Carefully wash the bok choy and cut it into large pieces. Do not chop it. Place the cut carrot in the steamer or steamer basket and lay the bok choy on top. Steam for about six minutes and then lay the cut green onions on top of the bok choy. Steam for an additional 2-3 minutes. The carrots will be slightly crunchy at this stage and the onions will not be wilted and slimy. The bok choy should be just tender and its green leaves wilted.

While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the sauce by heating the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir-fry te garlic until it blooms and then stir in the ginger, Sriracha, fish sauce, and mirin. Reduce slightly until the sauce thickens a bit. Remove from heat.

Lay about ½ cup of cooked rice in the bottom of large bowls. Place a generous helping of vegetables in each bowl and toss gently, being careful not to disturb the layer of rice on the bottom. Gently lay the artificial crab/lobster flakes on top (or steamed tilapia) and spoon the chili-ginger sauce over each bowlful of goodness.

I have also substituted rice noodles and even regular angel hair pasta for the white rice lining the bottom of each bowl. Both substitutions are delicious and authentic.


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