Cooking Nyonya dishes is labor-extensive, involves delicate preparation and requires mingling of a variety of spices which is pounded into a very specific texture. It is a perfect amalgamation of spices used by the Malay or Indonesian community such as pungent roots, aromatic leaves and sometimes together with candlenuts, shallots, shrimps paste, chilies, tamarind juice and coconut milk. But it all well-worth the effort as the finished dish proved. Nyonya style steamed seabass transformed into delectable melt-in-your-mouth morsels, smothered in the bath of sourish, spicy and tangy spices. The subtle selection of ingredients give it a wow factor that make you want to savor every mouthful.
If you're looking for easy delightful Chinese-Malay fusion to satisfy your spicy and sour cravings, you might want to try the recipe below.
1 seabass (siakap in Malay)(about 700g), cleaned
2 tbsp onion, shredded
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped finely
3 tbsp ginger flower, chopped (bunga kantan in Malay)
1 tbsp bird's eye chillies (cili padi in Malay)
4 tbsp squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
dash of pepper
1. Combine all the spices and seasoning, pour over the cleaned seabass.
2. Steam at high heat in a wok with boiling water for 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked. Then remove the fish from wok.
3. Sprinkle shredded onion and coriander leaves on top of the steamed fish and serve hot with fluffy rice.