Batu Ferringhi steamed fish
Batu Ferringhi is a beach resort northwest of George Town on Malaysia’s Penang Island. It is known for water sports and seafood restaurants. We ate steamed fish in a seafood restaurant offering a choice of live seafood from its aquariums. After choosing a live fish from a tank, we waited for it to be cooked, knowing that it could not be fresher. After dinner, we visited the night market.This steamed fish dish is commonly known in Malaysia as "Ikan Siakap Tiga Rasa." "Ikan" means fish, "Siakap" refers to the type of fish (often snapper or sea bass), and "Tiga Rasa" translates to "Three Flavors" in Malay, representing the combination of sweet, sour, and savoury tastes in the dish. It's a popular and flavorful Malaysian dish enjoyed by many. This recipe incorporates traditional Malaysian ingredients and flavours:
- 1.5 kg whole fish (snapper or sea bass, cleaned and descaled)
- 4 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 4 cm ginger root (thinly sliced)
- 2 stalk lemongrass (bruised)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (torn into pieces)
- 2 red chili (sliced)
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves (roughly chopped)
- 1 red chilli (chopped)
- 2 spring onions (chopped)
Prepare the fish
- Make sure the fish is properly cleaned and scaled. Score the fish on both sides.
Prepare the aromatics
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, ginger, and sliced lemongrass to release their flavours.
Prepare the sauce
- In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Assemble the dish
- Place half of the pounded aromatics inside the fish cavity and spread the rest on top of the fish.
- Tuck torn kaffir lime leaves around the fish.
- Pour the sauce evenly over the fish.
Steam the fish
- Steam the fish over high heat for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The flesh should be opaque and easily flaked with a fork when done.
- Finish, garnish and serve
- In a small pan, heat the cooking oil until just smoking. Pour the hot oil over the fish to release the aromatics.
- Serve whole on a large plate
- Garnish with coriander, spring onions and chopped red chilli
This version emphasizes the fragrant lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, which are commonly used in Malaysian cuisine. Adjust the chilli and other seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Enjoy your authentic Batu Ferringhi steamed fish!