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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hake in a Spicy Black Vinegar Sauce

When I have run out of ideas and the grocery store doesn't inspire me, I feel helpless.  This helpless feeling is followed by annoyed grunts an rummaging around my kitchen.  What unblocks this feeling is when I realize I can make a single serving of something, just for me.  This means I can eat anything I want as spicy as I want and nobody will be there to complain.  This usually means I'll be eating fish, and since my new neighborhood's grocery store does not have a very nice fish selection (nor a very nice fish monger) I've temporarily reverted to frozen filets.  As much as I love fresh fish and seafood.. I can't just hold out for it.  I don't know when I will start to find my fish monger pleasant or the section mouthwatering as I did in my previous neighborhood, but in the meantime, I can make something crazily amazing with good old frozen filets.  Those may sound boring, but they always get a good makeover in my kitchen..
It's very hot these days so I wanted something light but tangy.
And then.. as I opened my last cupboard, I spotted the holy black vinegar.  This condiment plays a major role in my Chinese recipes.  It's not as sour as normal clear white vinegar and has a rounder fuller taste.  It's the main character in potsticker dipping sauce and makes a great dressing.. especially when mixed with sesame.
I was planning on steaming the fish.. because if I was Chinese, I would probably always steam my fish.  Just as my water was boiling under the steamer basket, the power went out and did so each time I used the boost option on my induction stove.
I should probably look into that.
I ended up baking and it turned out just as I was hoping.. but I still would have steamed if I had the option.
Serves 1
1 very large zucchini, spiralized
1 hake filet
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 chopped scallions
some sesame seeds for sprinkling
red pepper flakes for garnish
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp black vinegar
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp doubanjiang (fermented broadbean and chile paste)
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1.  Make the sauce by stirring all the ingredients together in a bowl.
2.  Brush your filet of hake with the sauce, then sprinkle with half of the chopped scallions, half the cilantro, and some sesame seeds.  Steam or bake for 7-10 minutes.  If you bake, do this at 200°C 400°F.
3.  While that is happening, heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the spiralized zucchini.  Cook, tossing for only 2-3 minutes.  Do not let it get mushy.
4.  To serve, lay the zucchini noodles in a plate, lay the cooked hake over it, spoon as much of the sauce as you like over it all.  I used a little more than half and then did it again the next day for lunch.  Garnish with the rest of the chopped cilantro and scallions... and don't forget the red pepper flakes!
Scream for joy
No really.. do it.
This is the most wonderful and simple creation I've imagined in a long time.  It literally takes 15 minutes to put together and has a crazy tangy perfect Chinese taste.
I spiralized zucchini but this would work well with rice noodles and other garnishes such as hard boiled egg (which I tried the next day).
The secret is all in the sauce...

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