The time I cooked and photographed this meal I could not get spring onions or black beans so I used a small onion, sliced thinly and 4 large anchovies, finely chopped, instead of the black beans. I also used two small sea bass instead of 1 large. Moral: Don't go shopping late on a Bank Holiday Sunday! However, it was still a great success.
- 1 750g (1.5 lbs) whole fish, sea bass, trout or carp, cleaned and gutted (use two if you can only get small fish)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon salted black beans, soaked, drained and crushed lightly, or 4 large anchovies, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon root ginger, peeled and finely shredded
- 2 star anise, broken into small pieces
- 2 spring onions, cut on the diagonal, or 1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sheet of tin foil, large enough to wrap loosely around the fish
- 1tbs light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F - gas 4), [fan oven 160° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour]
- Descale, rinse and and dry the fish
- With a sharp knife make deep cuts across both sides of the fish. On a very large fish make criss-cross cuts
- Mix the salt, pepper and ginger powder together and rub well into the slashes in the fish
- Mix the crushed black beans, dark soy sauce, sugar and Chinese wine
- Sprinkle the shredded ginger and spring onions on the tin foil and lay the fish on top
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil until smoking and carefully pour this all over the fish
- When the oil has cooled a little, spread the black bean mixture all over the fish and in the cavity
- Arrange the broken star anise pieces throughout the cavity of the fish
- Bring the foil up and seal well and place on a baking tray
- bake for 20 minutes or until the fish is tender
- Arrange on a serving platter and pour the soy dressing over the fish
If you use two small fish instead of 1 large, as long as your tin foil is large enough, it's probably better to use 1 foil parcel for both fish as the flavours seem to mingle better.
This recipe would work equally well with trout.
There is no need to peel ginger. As a result of attending a Thai cookery demo, we have learnt that peeling ginger is unnecessary unless for aesthetic purposes as the skin is high in fibre and full of flavour. However, do remove any bits that have become tough or woody.
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