Szechwan Shrimp

Sizzling Seafood, Part One

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Ginger Sea Bass

Any firm-flesh white fish (snapper, grouper or striped bass) could be used for this recipe. Serve with steamed vegetables and a salad.

6 black sea bass fillets, about five ounces each, skin on and scaled

Ginger Sea Bass
Ginger Sea Bass

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons minced ginger

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

3 serrano or Thai chiles, seeded and sliced

4 green onions, thinly sliced lengthwise into three-inch pieces

1 tablespoon Tamari (Shoyu) soy sauce

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon and lime zest for garnish

Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper. Score the skin on a bias three times to reduce curling.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer fry three of the fillets, skin side down, for five minutes or until the skin is crisp. Turn the fish over and cook for another minute. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Heat the remaining oil and fry the ginger, garlic and chile until golden. Add the green onion and cook briefly.

Drizzle soy sauce over the fish and top with the ginger-garlic mixture. Garnish with citrus zest.

Serves: 3

Heat scale: Medium


Singapore-style “Chilli” Crab

This unofficial “national dish” of Singapore is usually prepared with succulent fresh freshwater (mud) crabs in a hearty, sweet and spicy sauce. It is best eaten with your fingers! The spiciness of this dish can be adjusted by increasing the amount of Sriracha and chiles used. As written, it is only somewhat spicy.

2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs (or two large uncooked freshwater crabs)

1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce

2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1/4 cup rice wine or chicken stock

3 tablespoons peanut oil

4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger or galangal, peeled and grated

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

2-4 serrano or six Thai chiles, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 eggs, beaten

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Lime wedges, for garnish

Pull the main shell off the crab and discard it. Remove the gray gills and the soft insides. Cut the body in half, then cut between each leg. Crack the legs and claws with the back of a knife or mallet and set aside.

Combine the ketchup, Sriracha, oyster sauce, soy sauce, tamarind paste and rice wine in a bowl; set aside. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and add the oil. Add the green onion, ginger, garlic, half of the chile, and cilantro and cook for one minute. Add the crab and stir-fry for another minute. Pour in the sauce and continue cooking, stirring often, until the crab has absorbed the sauce and the sauce has thickened, about five minutes. Stir in the egg and cook until the egg sets.

Put onto a platter and garnish with the remaining chile and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and lots of napkins!

Serves: 4 as appetizer, 2 as entrée

Heat scale: Medium


Hot and Sour Fish Soup

This Asian-inspired soup combines an aromatic broth with fish, shrimp and light noodles, topped with robust herbs. Tuna or swordfish could be substituted for the salmon.

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1 1-inch piece ginger or galangal, peeled and sliced

3 1/2 cups chicken or fish stock

6 ounces bean thread noodles

2 tablespoons fish sauce (Nam Pla or Nuoc Nam)

2-4 red serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

10 ounces raw, tail-on prawns or shrimp

7 ounces skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 green onions, bias sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely minced

1/2 cup mint leaves, torn

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (two limes)

Put the coriander seeds and ginger in a saucepan. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for five minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles following package instructions. Drain and keep warm. Return the stock to a low boil. Add the fish sauce, chiles and garlic, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes. Add the prawns and salmon; return to a simmer and cook gently for about five minutes or until both are firm and cooked. Add the green onions, herbs and lime juice.

Divide the noodles between soup bowls. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the prawns and fish and place on the noodles. Pour in the stock and serve.

Serves: 2

Heat scale: Medium to hot, depending on the amount of chile used

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