This is what I decided to do with the live rockfish that I bought at Manila Oriental Market. I stuffed it with aromatics and steamed it whole. It’s surprisingly easy to cook a whole fish this way and it’s a very healthy preparation containing no added fat.
If you don’t have a steamer, you can bake this fish. I’d splash a little cooking wine over it and give it 15-20 minutes in a 350° F oven. The combination of ingredients here owes no allegiance to any particular cuisine. Authenticity be damned. I’ve simply combined a bunch of flavors I happen to enjoy. Serve with Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli or sautéed bok choy or pea shoots.
Whole Steamed Rockfish
For the fish:
1 whole rockfish, (about 2 lbs.) cleaned and scaled
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
2 stalks lemongrass (root end) smashed with the back of a knife to release aroma
3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
2 green onions, (white part) julienned
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro
For the Sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
2 teaspoons sesame chili oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 green onions, (green part only) sliced for garnish
Cut shallow slashes through the skin of the fish on both sides and generously salt the fish inside and out. Stuff half of the sliced ginger, lemongrass, sliced garlic and green onions into the cavity of the fish.
In the small bowl of a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, make a paste out of the remaining aromatics. Rub this paste all over the fish on both sides.
Place the fish in a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Steam the fish for 10 minutes or until the flesh is firm, white and opaque.
Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Place the fish on a platter and serve family style with the sauce on the side to spoon over each serving. Garnish with sliced green onions and sprigs of cilantro.